The former Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Chairman Stanley Crooks won the Shakopee Patch Person of the Year with 68 percent of the vote. Crooks, who was chairman for 20 years, died of natural causes on August 25, 2012, yet he left a legacy that has touched many people.
David Blue is one of the people on whom Crooks left a big impression. Blue had plans to meet Crooks for the first time, but the meeting never happened. He nominated Crooks for Person of the Year and wrote a letter about the former chairman.
...I was awaiting my first ever meeting with this chairman, as my company and I perform construction and development services to many Tribes throughout the U.S. and more recently, Canada as well. I respect the passion and experience of those who do partner with Tribes for economic development reasons. It has been my experience as a member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe of the Dakotas' that Tribes with more business experience should try and help other Tribes to become successful.
As Tribal members, we are often still viewed by the media and Federal government officials as a small voice in a nation of mixed ethnic groups. The history books have not favored our humble beginnings and we are often portrayed as a foreign body of people, who are dependent upon government to succeed. We are often viewed as a needy people but those of us that know the truth, know very well that we represent a strong and friendly society. That we want every opportunity to get a good education, have a good home and raise a proud family as do the foreigners that have come to America to seek a better and healthier lifestyle.
Chairman Crooks in my opinion, was a leader with great vision to not only help his own Tribe but many organisations, communities and other Tribes to become better. His recommendations to the Business Council and consequently to the general membership made a success in so many different ways, we will benefit from those organisations that he helped along the way. Those boys and girls clubs and others that were attempting to raise funds to keep the doors open and impact the youth, as well as the seniors of many communities, will forever be grateful for this chairman's contributions.
His love of golf inspired his nature to challenge himself and with that he promoted partnerships. Our people may have been overlooked in several ways, but by many we are now seen as good business leaders and as a people who care. Together, we will continue to offer ourselves as perhaps role models or educators for a better environment. I think Mr. Crooks was wise in promoting cooperation, for others' to work together, rather than the alternative. If this country is to regain it's health and economy, it will require a spirit of helping each other and this man, carried this spirit with his humble nature.
We were fortunate to share in his enthusiasm for life. He would appreciate us carrying his message forward.
An American Indian Veteran & Friend!
Stanley Crooks accomplished much during his time as chairman both for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, for other Indian tribes, and in partnership with organizations and Scott County.
Among his many accomplishments, according to a SMSC news release, were the development of Koda Energy, $396 million in loans to other tribes, and partnerhips to share resources with St. Francis Regional Medical Center and for Scott County's use of the SMSC mobile unit.
According to the SMSC news release:
Called a modern day warrior at his funeral he was likened to Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. The Chairman was known for his decisiveness, quick humor, keen intellect, and analytical mind. 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.
On a personal level, Chairman Crooks was a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and uncle, and a friend to many. His willingness to help others, whether through advice, support, encouragement, or through more formal assistance through economic development and infrastructure loans and grants, was renowned.
To read more about his legacy, life and accomplishments click here.