Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community to reintroduce bison

Prior Lake, Minn. – The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) today announced its plans to reintroduce pte (bison) on its tribal lands in Shakopee. The Dakota people consider the pte a relative, and the tribe has been conducting an extensive planning process to bring bison back to its lands in a sustainable, safe and ecologically beneficial way.

Late this fall, the SMSC will welcome a small herd of up to 15 bison from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota. The herd will live on 165 acres of tribal land southeast of the junction of County Rd. 83 and Eagle Creek Blvd. in Shakopee, north of the tribe’s current Organics Recycling Facility. Fencing is being installed at the site.

Historically, the SMSC looked after and had a reciprocal relationship with the natural surroundings, including bison, which the Dakota people depended on for food, medicine and materials. When colonization occurred, the bison were violently removed from the area and nearly exterminated.

“The story of the bison mirrors the story of Dakota peoples in many ways, and both are resilient,” said SMSC Chairman Keith Anderson. “Our tribe has restored and revitalized its relationship with our plant relatives over the decades, and we now have the opportunity to revitalize our relationship with our relative, the pte. Reintroducing bison to our homelands will allow us to bring back traditional ceremonies and food and medicine important to our people.”

The bison will roam freely within an enclosure and graze native prairie plants. Wetlands and prairies were once widespread in Scott County, and the SMSC has worked to restore both ecosystems on the reservation. The SMSC has restored more than 1,000 acres of prairie over the past 20 years; the bison will help maintain prairie health.

The SMSC’s land and natural resources department is overseeing the planning process, including learning from other tribes and organizations that have successfully reintroduced bison. The SMSC has been completing a safety plan and will be working with local municipalities and public safety agencies to ensure the safety of the herd and local residents. More information is available at

About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a federally recognized, sovereign Dakota tribal government located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Following a Dakota tradition of generosity, the SMSC is one of the top philanthropists in Minnesota and is the largest contributor to other tribal governments and causes across the country. It is a strong community partner and a leader in protecting and restoring natural resources. The SMSC’s government, Gaming Enterprise and various other enterprises are collectively the largest employer in Scott County and attract millions of visitors to the region.

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