The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) of Prior Lake, Minnesota recently showed its support for Native American education with donations totaling $755,500 because, as they said in a release, “the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.”
A large part of the donations—$585,000—went to the American Indian College Fund in Denver, Colorado as a contribution to the Johnson Scholarship Foundation challenge grant, which will match up to $750,000 over the next three years to establish a scholarship for Native American students pursuing business or entrepreneurship degrees.
“The American Indian College Fund has helped thousands of young Indian people get an education. We are happy to be able to encourage our Indian students to continue their education so that they can help their people. Having an educated and qualified Indian workforce for the future is very important for all tribes in maintaining their sovereignty,” said SMSC Chairman Stanley R. Crooks in a release.
Richard Williams, AICF president and CEO, noted the community’s leadership and praised them for “thinking seven generations into the future.” He went on to say that the money will “help Native American students attain a college degree, creating hope for a better future for them, their families, and their communities.”
SMSC also gave $35,000 each to the Division of Indian Works (DIW) in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Flandreau Indian School in Flandreau, South Dakota. With the money DIW was able to purchase more than 1,000 coats for Native American students. The school will use its funds to support the Positive Best Behavior Program, which rewards students for being respectful, responsible and safe, and extracurricular activities like rodeo club and culture club.
Other grantees include St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota, which received $20,000; Catching the Dream in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which received $10,000; Circle of Nations in Wahpeton, North Dakota, which received $8,000; Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which received $7,500; and St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana, which received $5,000.