Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community logo
|658 on reservation (2010)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Related ethnic groups|
|other Mdewakanton people, other Dakota people|
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) is a federally recognized, sovereign Indian tribe of Mdewakanton Dakota people, located southwest of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, within parts of the cities of Prior Lake and Shakopee in Scott County, Minnesota.
Tribal members are direct lineal descendants of Mdewakanton Dakota people who resided in villages near the banks of the lower Minnesota River. Chief Sakpe spoke for a village that was located near what is today the City of Shakopee. The town of Shakopee was named after Sakpe [pronounced Shock-pay], which means the number six. The SMSC presently owns approximately 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of land, all of which are located within or near the original 250-acre (1.0 km2) reservation established for the Tribe in the 1880s. Tribal lands are located in Prior Lake and Shakopee, Minnesota.
The SMSC is governed by the General Council, consisting of all enrolled SMSC members ages 18 and older, and the Business Council, consisting of three members elected every four years by the General Council. The Business Council is responsible for day-to-day operations and the implementation of General Council decisions. The present Business Council includes Chairman Charlie Vig, Vice-Chairman Keith B. Anderson, and Secretary/Treasurer Lori K. Watso.
The Dakota people have lived in the Minnesota River Valley for centuries. Historically they fished in the river, gathered wild rice, and hunted game.
Chief Sakpe, (Shock-pay), which means “number six” in the Dakota language, was the name of a line of chiefs of a village that was located near their present-day namesake, the city of Shakopee. Chief Sakpe I (ca. 1750-1827) received the name “Sakpe” because his wife gave birth to sextuplet boys. Chief Sakpe II (ca. 1794-ca. 1862) signed the 1851 Treaties with the Dakota at Traverse Des Sioux and Mendota and the 1858 Treaty with the Dakota in Washington, D.C.
Chief Sakpe III (1811-1865) was a leader during the US-Dakota War of 1862. When the Dakota people were exiled after the war, he fled to Canada but was later turned over to U.S. forces. Reportedly as he was preparing to be hanged on November 11, 1865, he heard a train whistle and said, “As the white man comes in, the Indian goes out.”
US-Dakota War of 1862
When white settlers arrived in the 1800s, the Dakota people were unaware of the concept of selling land to the newcomers; they only thought they were giving other people permission to live there. The era of settlement in Minnesota – also an era of treaties – diminished the Dakota’s homeland and way of life. With less ability to provide for themselves, the Dakota were forced to increasingly depend on the federal government’s promises and provisions. The federal government’s failure to deliver on these promises brought near-starvation and growing anger among the Dakota, culminating in the US-Dakota War of 1862.
Mass execution and hardship
The Dakota lost the war, and the largest mass execution in United States history followed: 38 Dakota men were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, on December 26, 1862. The remaining Dakota were forced to walk more than 100 miles to Fort Snelling, where they were held in a concentration camp through the winter. In 1863 Congress rescinded all treaties with the Dakota and ordered their removal from Minnesota.
Finally, in 1886, Congress established the Shakopee Mdewakanton Reservation, Prairie Island Indian Community Reservation, Upper Sioux Indian Reservation, and Lower Sioux Indian Reservation for the Dakota who never left Minnesota. But for the next century, life for the Dakota people was one of poverty and hardship.
In 1969 the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community became a federally recognized Indian tribe and began creating a government and economic system. It opened Little Six Bingo Palace (later Little Six Casino) in 1982 and Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in 1992.
SMSC Gaming Enterprise
The SMSC Gaming Enterprise includes Little Six Casino and Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. With 4,200 employees, the SMSC, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, and Little Six Casino combined are the largest employer in Scott County.
On June 4, 2012, the SMSC and Canterbury Park announced a ten-year cooperative marketing agreement. The agreement called for the SMSC Gaming Enterprise to create the Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement Fund, which would increase horse racing purses at Canterbury Park by $75 million over the ten years. The agreement would also create new joint marketing opportunities between Canterbury Park and Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, with Canterbury Park receiving $8.5 million in payments for these marketing ventures over the course of the agreement. These marketing opportunities would lead to the erecting of a brand new tote board prior to the start of the 2013 season, and the creation of the Mystic Lake Derby starting in 2012 and the Mystic Lake Mile in 2013.
The SMSC’s non-gaming enterprises include Dakota Mall, Dakotah Meadows Mini Storage, Dakotah Meadows RV Park, Dakotah! Ice Center, Dakotah! Sport and Fitness, Mdewakanton Wozupi (Garden), Mazopiya (natural food market), Mystic Lake Store at Mall of America, Playworks, Playworks LINK Event Center, Shakopee Dakota Convenience Stores #1 and #2, SMSC Organics Recycling Facility, SMSC Water Bottling Facility, and The Meadows at Mystic Lake (golf course).
Charitable giving and loans
The SMSC has donated nearly $272 million to organizations and causes between 1992 and 2013, including more than $29 million in 2012.
In addition to charitable giving, the tribe has made substantial loans to other tribes, such as the Red Lake Nation. The SMSC made a $31 million loan to Red Lake in 2009, a $3 million loan in 2010, and a $27 million loan in 2013. 
Notable tribal members
- Norman Melvan Crooks (1917–1989), tribal chairman
- Stanley R. Crooks (1941–2012), tribal chairman
- Charlie Vig, current tribal chairman
- "CENSUS 2010 COUNTS BY AGE AND SEX FOR THE POPULATIONS LIVING ON MINNESOTA'S AMERICAN INDIAN RESERVATIONS AND TRUST LANDS".
- http://usdakotawar.org/history/treaties/minnesota-treaty-interactive, Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- http://www.usdakotawar.org/history/sakpedan-shakopee-little-six, Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- http://www.usdakotawar.org/about, Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- http://www.shakopeedakota.org/history.html, Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- http://www.shakopeedakota.org/history.html, Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- http://www.cityofpriorlake.com/about.php, Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- http://www.shakopeedakota.org/news03.html, Retrieved 2014-02-12.
- "Tribe says it donated more than $29 million last year to charitable groups". Shakopee Valley News (Southwest Newspapers). July 16, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
- "Red Lake Nation to receive $27 million Shakopee Mdewakanton loan for casino". Red Lake Nation News. July 11, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, official website
- Mystic Lake Casino Hotel website
- Little Six Casino website