Stemming from a deeply respected cultural tradition, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) has generously contributed $144,650 in charitable donations this holiday season. Since 1996, the community has given away more than $258.2 million to other tribes, charitable organizations and schools.
The SMSC released the following statement about its 2012 holiday giving:
Some children look forward to having a present at Christmas to open with a longing that tugs at the heartstrings of their parents. Not being able to give that gift can be disheartening to parents who might already be suffering during the tough economic climate. The homeless and the less fortunate also need special attention during the holiday season when the days seem long and dark. To lighten those dark days and share in the holiday spirit, the SMSC awarded $144,650 in charitable donations for the 2012 holiday season. The donations, which went to 28 social service organizations mostly in the Twin Cities, are providing toys, clothing, food, activities, and other gifts for families this holiday season.
"We've been blessed so we're grateful for the opportunity to help others," said SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig.
The largest amount given out to an organization was $20,000 to the CAP Agency, which serves Scott and Dakota Counties. Donations of $9,000 went to both the Department of Indian Work and Catholic Charities’ Dorothy Day Center. The SMSC grant supports Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and gifts for clients of these social service agencies in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.
Other organizations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul receiving SMSC holiday donations are: Ain Dah Yung Center, Akina Community Church, All Nations Indian Church, the American Indian Family Center, the Carver Scott Educational Cooperative’s 3 C’s Program, Division of Indian Work, Elders Lodge, Hidden Oaks Middle School, Kateri Residence, Little Earth Residents Association, Minnesota Compassion, Salvation Army, St. Joseph's Home for Children, Union Gospel Mission, Upper Midwest American Indian Center, and Women of Nations.
In areas outside the Twin Cities, the SMSC made holiday donations to: Ain Dah Ing, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Bad River Head Start, Boys & Girls Club of the Three Districts, Boys & Girls Club of Lower Brule, Boys & Girls Club of the Missouri River Valley, the Cass Lake Family Center, St. Joseph’s Indian School, Turtle Mountain Head Start, and the Yankton Sioux Tribe.
The SMSC will also donate grocery gift cards to low-income Native American families living in Scott County. In addition to the financial contributions, SMSC members and staff participate in a Giving Tree Program, which gives presents anonymously to children in Native American families in need that live in the county. The SMSC also has a “Toys for Tots” gift drop-off location.