The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community today announced nearly one-third of a million dollars in grants to 13 organizations which primarily serve youth and educational programs.
A $75,000 matching grant to the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP) will fund programs. CRYP, established in 1988, has become an essential youth and family services organization, integral to the Cheyenne River Reservation’s support system, in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. The project provides innovative youth programming and family services as a grassroots initiative tailored to meet the needs of the tribal community. With more than 369 family memberships reservation wide, CRYP represents local problem solving for critical community concerns.
“The contribution made by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community will make a tremendous impact by allowing us to continue to operate our facilities and provide critical programming to the children and teens here in our community. Thank you for your ongoing investment to our organization and to the Cheyenne River Sioux community,” wrote CRYP founder and executive director Julie Garreau.
CRYP is a well-rounded service organization comprised of four major components; the Main Youth Center, the Family Services Program, the two and a half acre Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) Garden, and Ċokata Wiċoni Teen Center (“Center of Life”). These four components create a collaborative synergy and represent the holistic approach of the Cheyenne River Youth Project toward assessing and meeting community needs. SMSC grants total $372,000 in recent years to the CRYP.
Scholarships for Native American college students were funded with a $50,000 grant to the American Indian College Fund. The SMSC donation is a contribution for the Richard B. Williams Seventh Generation Leadership Endowment, bringing the total of SMSC grants in recent years to $2.3 million. “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 Charlie Vig. With its credo “Educating the Mind and Spirit,” the American Indian College Fund is the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships for American Indian students, providing an average of 6,000 scholarships annually for students seeking to better their lives and communities through education and support to the nation’s 33 accredited tribal colleges and universities.
A coat to wear when it’s cold outside can make all the difference to a student. Two organizations will receive funds for winter coats for Twin Cities school children. One in the Spirit received a grant for $40,000 to provide winter coats, hats, and gloves or mittens to 960 American Indian students attending the St. Paul school system who receive free or reduced lunches.
With $35,000 in funds from the SMSC, the Division of Indian Works (Minneapolis, Minnesota) was able to buy more than 1,000 coats for American Indian students in public schools who qualified for free or reduced lunches. For more than 50 years the DIW, in partnership with the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, has offered a variety of services for Native American families. Some of their other services include parenting and youth mentorship programs, a food shelf, emergency assistance, a group home for boys, daily summer activities for children, after school tutoring, cultural activities, holiday meal baskets, foster parents' licensing, and cooking classes.
A $25,000 grant to the Notah Begay III Foundation will allow the organization to further their mission to reduce childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes through leadership development, evidence-based sports, health, and wellness. Thus far the foundation has served more than 12,000 youth in 11 states, focusing on disease prevention rather than management. Notah Begay III is the only full-blooded Native American on the PGA Tour.
Nawayee Center School of Minneapolis, Minnesota, received a $20,000 matching grant for a new 15-passenger van which will be used for field trips and the transportation of students. Since the early 1970s Nawayee has had a strong commitment to alternative education, evolving from an informal drop-in service to what it is today — an alternative urban high school focusing on American Indian youth. The majority of the school's Board of Directors are American Indian parents and professionals from the community. The school is open to students 12 to 21 years old enrolled in grades 7 through 12 who have experienced problems within the regular school system; primarily students are American Indian who are considered at risk. The word “Na-way-ee” is an Ojibwe term that means “the center.”
Catching the Dream of Albuquerque, New Mexico, received a grant for $10,000 for scholarships. Catching the Dream makes grants to Native American college students and works to improve Indian schools. Since 1986, CTD has made scholarship awards to 960 students and has produced 637 graduates. Their graduation rate is 85 percent, a very high rate compared to the 18 percent completion rate that prevails nationwide with Native students.
Migizi Communications Inc. of Minneapolis received a $10,000 grant to support their after school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program for American Indian high school students. This program helps youth score better on their ACT tests, therefore making college entrance easier. Funds will be used for a science teacher and materials.
Dupree Daycare on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in Dupree, South Dakota, received grant for $9,500 to continue to provide quality childcare services. The daycare strives to meet the needs of each child, to guide and encourage the children’s learning, and to promote family involvement in one of the poorest counties in the United States.
An $8,000 donation to Circle of Nations (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, South Dakota) at the Wahpeton Indian School bought winter wear including coats, hats, and gloves for students. Circle of Nations is an inter-tribal, off-reservation boarding school, chartered under the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate and funded by the Bureau of Indian Education. Circle of Nations School serves American Indian youth in grades 4 through 8. The mission of the Circle of Nations School is to build academic achievement and foster healthy development of the whole child in a Native American cultural environment. Sobriety High Charter School received a grant for $7,500 for direct transportation for students who have to spend long periods of time on public transportation or where public transportation is unavailable. Sobriety High was established in 1989 as a nonprofit alternative school which offers a post-chemical dependency treatment program located in Edina, Minnesota. Converted to a charter school in 2003, Sobriety High Charter School now has locations in Burnsville and Coon Rapids. As a charter school, Sobriety High is open to all students free of charge.
Dunwoody College of Technology (Minneapolis, Minnesota) received $7,500 for scholarships to support American Indian students attending technical programs as a part of Dunwoody’s diversity plan. Founded in 1914, Dunwoody is a private, not-for-profit, endowed institution of higher education. It is also the only non-profit, technical college in the Upper Midwest and one of only three nationwide.
The Haskell Indian Nations University Student Senate of Lawrence, Kansas, received a grant for $5,000 to help fund activities for several clubs. Founded in 1884 as an agricultural school with only 22 students in grades one through five, today, Haskell has evolved into an institution of higher learning. With an intertribal constituency and federal support through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Haskell serves the educational needs of about 1,000 American Indian and Alaska Native students from across the United States each semester. Students select programs that will prepare them to enter baccalaureate programs in elementary teacher education, American Indian studies, business administration, and environmental science; to transfer to another baccalaureate degree-granting institution; or to enter directly into employment. Haskell integrates American Indian/Alaska Native culture into all its curricula.
About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a federally recognized Indian Tribe in Minnesota, is the owner and operator of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Little Six Casino, Mazopiya, The Meadows at Mystic Lake, and other enterprises on a reservation south of the Twin Cities. The SMSC utilizes its financial resources from gaming and non-gaming enterprises to pay for the internal infrastructure of the Tribe, including but not limited to roads, water and sewer systems, emergency services, and essential services to its members in education, health, and well-being.
A tribal charitable giving program which comes from a cultural and social tradition to assist those in need has given away more than $258.2 million to Indian Tribes, charitable organizations, and schools since 1996. Through the Mdewakanton LIFE Program, the SMSC has donated 775 Automated External Defibrillators to tribes, schools, police and fire departments, and other organizations with 21 lives saved due to their use.
The SMSC has also made more than $523 million in loans mostly to other tribes for economic and infrastructure development projects. Since 1996 the SMSC paid more than $7.6 million for shared local road construction and an additional $16.7 million for road projects on the reservation. The SMSC has also paid $14.4 million to local governments for services and another $6.4 million for other projects.