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Shakopee Mdewakanton Award $995,000 in Grants

Money from Minnesota will help groups in Wisconsin, Dakotas, Montana.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community on Wednesday announced several grants that have been made recently which total nearly $1 million.

“These grants will help stimulate economic development and improve access to services for tribal members,” said SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig.  

The amount is similar to the total grants the SMSC gave to local government bodies about a month ago: $900,000 split evenly between Shakopee, Savage, Belle Plaine, Jordan, Prior Lake and Scott County.

Among the grants announced Wednesday, $500,000 went to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North and South Dakota to help fund several programs: Porcupine Head Start, Running Antelope program, road improvements, propane project, and an administration office for the South Dakota side of the reservation.  

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is comprised of members of the Dakota and Lakota nations. The Standing Rock Reservation is the sixth-largest in the United States in land area, with a population of 8,250 living on 3,571 square miles.  

A $200,000 grant to the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of Poplar, Mont., funded an oilfield drill pipe rethreading business operated by Fort Peck Tech Services, Inc., a tribally owned company. The grant is part of a financing package including federal and tribal funding. The proximity of the Fort Peck Reservation to the Bakken Oilfield creates opportunities for a metal fabrication and machining business. The funds will cover equipment, startup and operating capital, and facilities improvements. The initiative will create employment for tribal members and generate revenues for the tribe.  

The Fort Peck Reservation is home to two separate American Indian nations, each composed of numerous bands and divisions. The Sioux divisions of Sisseton, Wahpetons, the Yanktonais, and the Teton Hunkpapa are all represented. The Assiniboine bands of Canoe Paddler and Red Bottom are also represented. The Fort Peck Reservation homelands are located in the northeast corner of Montana. There are an estimated 11,786 enrolled tribal members, of whom approximately 6,000 reside on or near the reservation.    

A matching grant for $120,000 to the St Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin will help fund renovations to their tribal health clinic. The remodel is required in order for them to stay open, meet federal standards, provide physical disability accessibility, and provide up-to-code workspaces.

“Miigwech, thank you, in advance for your generosity and assistance. We are in awe of your contributions and the powerful force of good that you offer our world!” wrote tribal Chairman Stuart Bearheart.  

The St. Croix Tribe is one of the largest employers in Northwest Wisconsin with more than 2,000 employees in its government center, casinos, and enterprises. There are 1,054 enrolled members in the St. Croix Chippewa Tribe.  

A $100,000 grant to the Intertribal Agriculture Council of Madison, Wisconsin, will provide funds to help offset required contributions of tribes and tribal producers who receive United States Department of Agriculture grants. These Value Added Producer grants help fund the development of marketing plans and provide working capital for farmers, ranchers, and other food producers ready to expand their production of agriculture products requiring processing which adds value to the raw product.  

For the first time, tribes are eligible to participate in this program, but the requirement for a 50 percent matching fund is a potential major barrier for participation.  

“The overall impact of this investment has enormous potential because it will help tribal food operations become more sustainable by developing roadmaps to enhance the value of their agricultural products,” wrote Dan Cornelius, Technical Assistance Specialist for the Great Lakes Region in the request letter.  

American Indian Foods (AIF) is a program of the Intertribal Agriculture Council that began in 1998 under contract with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. The partnership was developed as a platform for American Indian food businesses to showcase their products and share tribal cultures with the world. Many of these products are still harvested in ways defined hundreds of years ago.  

IAC was founded in 1987 to pursue and promote the conservation, development, and use of agricultural resources for the betterment of Indian people. Since that time, the IAC has become recognized as a respected voice within the Indian community and government circles on agricultural policies and programs in Indian country.  

Other recent grants for fiscal year 2012 which were previously not announced include: $25,000 to the Blackfeet Nation for emergency assistance and $50,000 to the Oglala Sioux Tribe for emergency assistance after a severe wind storm.

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