The late Stanley R. Crooks, who served as the chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for 20 years, was named the 2012 Person of the Year by Shakopee.Patch.com.
It was announced on December 27, 2012 that Crooks had won 68 percent of the vote after being nominated by Patch readers along with two others—photographer Amy Zeller and Pizza Ranch owner Doug Lake.
“Stanley Crooks was an amazing leader, not just for his own Dakota community, but for other tribes throughout Minnesota and the entire United States,” said Patch reader Antony Stately in a comment. “He also was a leader within the local and regional communities. Under his leadership, the SMSC expanded its financial enterprises significantly, which directly helped the tribe to become one of the largest employers in Scott County and a major contributor to the broader social, health, and economic well-being of Shakopee and the entire state of Minnesota!”
A press release from the SMSC noted how Crooks was called a modern-day warrior at his funeral and was compared to Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. He walked on August 25, 2012, of natural causes. He was 70 years old.
“The chairman was known for his decisiveness, quick humor, keen intellect, and analytical mind,” the SMSC statement reads. “Politically savvy, he had a humble tenacity that was unrelenting. With a vast knowledge of treaties and sovereignty, he fiercely defended tribal sovereignty and championed self-determination and self-sufficiency. On the national level, he helped set policy regarding Indian gaming and was widely consulted on issues of importance to Indian country.”
The statement also noted Crooks’ interest in energy self-sufficiency and how it led to the development of a number of energy initiatives including a wind turbine, biodiesel and a partnership with Rahr Malting of Shakopee, Minnesota to build and operate Koda Energy, a facility that burns biomass for energy.
With 2012 being the year of the 150th anniversary of the tragic hangings in Mankato, Minnesota, Crooks spent the weeks before his death giving interviews about Dakota history, culture and the aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, which resulted in the hanging of 38 Dakota men in Mankato, Minnesota and the relocation of the Dakota people.
Crooks won a number of awards during his lifetime, including:
- The Wendell Chino Humanitarian Award, honoring a tribal leader who demonstrates a commitment to the advancement of tribal sovereignty, by the National Indian Gaming Association in 2005.
- The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Leadership Award on April 7, 2010.
- The NIGA Chairman’s Leadership Award of Excellence: Going Green for Mother Earth on October 20, 2010.
- Being named one of the Global Gaming Business magazine’s 25 People to Watch in January 2011.
- Tribal Leader of the Year by the Native American Finance Officers Association on March 23, 2011.
- And in July 2012, he was honored as the 2012 Eagle Visionary Award Winner by Indian Gaming magazine and was the first of six honorees into their newly established Indian Gaming Hall of Fame.
Read more about 150th anniversary events:
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