The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) is donating more than $10 million to 18 American Indian tribes in eight states. This brings the SMSC’s total donations to nearly $272 million since 1992, including nearly $190 million to other tribes, tribal organizations, and American Indian causes.
“Helping tribes improve their communities, expand their economies, and enhance their health and education offerings is central to the SMSC’s role as a good neighbor to our fellow tribes,” said SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig in a statement. “The needs in Indian Country are still widespread, and we want to help meet those needs as much as we can.”
The recipients of the SMSC’s latest round of tribal grants include:
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe (South Dakota) – $1 million for the tribe’s new community center. This brings the total to $2 million in grants and a $3 million loan from the SMSC for this $5.3 million facility.
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (Michigan) – $92,200 in each of the next five years (FY2013-2017) for a tribal water monitoring program. With lands in the Upper Peninsula along Lake Superior, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community wants to better understand the potential impacts of mining on local water resources.
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe (South Dakota) – $500,000 for economic development and community improvement projects, including $250,000 for an employment training program.
Lower Sioux Indian Community (Minnesota) – $250,000, including $205,000 for community recreation programming and $45,000 for crisis intervention assistance.
Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma – $325,000 for a tribal agriculture program that supports a clean and healthy food source for tribal members. Plans call for vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and livestock.
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Wisconsin) – $750,000, including $520,000 for the expansion of the tribe’s Apostle Islands-area marina, $150,000 for a land purchase, and $80,000 for a system that protects the tribe’s casino with backup power and surge protection.
Red Lake Nation (Minnesota) –Two $750,000 grants (total of $1.5 million) in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for a new community center. This is in addition to a $27 million loan from the SMSC to help fund a new casino and hotel.
Santee Sioux Nation (Nebraska) – $550,000 for several projects, including $250,000 for an outdoor pool, $100,000 for a youth program, $50,000 for a buffalo ranch, $50,000 for energy assistance programs, $25,000 for the fire department, and $25,000 for a daycare program.
Spirit Lake Tribe (North Dakota) – $700,000, including $350,000 each for repairs to the Crow Hill Wellness Center and Fort Totten Wellness Center, which are located near the high water levels of Devils Lake. Water and structural damages have forced Crow Hill to close, and the Fort Totten facility has floor, kitchen and bathroom damages.
Yankton Sioux Tribe (South Dakota) – $415,000 for several efforts, including $180,000 to help purchase a modular unit to hold eight kidney dialysis chairs and nine dialysis machines.
Other tribal grant recipients include the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa in Minnesota with $1 million, Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma with $400,000, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe in Wisconsin with $500,000, Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota with $500,000, Shoalwater Bay Tribe of Washington with $250,000, Upper Sioux Community in Minnesota with $1 million, White Earth Nation in Minnesota with $250,000 matching grant for either the workforce center or natural resources building, and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska with $500,000.
In addition to monetary donations, the SMSC has made more than $509 million in loans to other tribes for economic development projects since 1996. The SMSC also assists other tribes by providing its mobile unit for medical and dental screenings as well as treatment services, donating life-saving AEDs (automatic external defibrillators), helping tribes implement prescribed burns on reservation land, and more.