The White Earth Nation is constructing a water and sanitary sewer system to serve a new workforce center and the adjacent Giwanikimin Supportive Housing Project in Naytahwaush, Minnesota.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) is supporting their economic development with a $250,000 grant that matches funds from the Indian Health Service. The grant is part of the SMSC’s most recent round of more than $10 million in grants awarded to 18 American Indian tribes in eight states.
Workforce Center and Giwanikimin Supportive Housing Project
Construction on the Workforce Center will begin in September 2013 and is expected to be completed in June 2014. Occupational and vocational skills training, as well as access to job opportunities, will be available for low-income people at the Workforce Center. It will primarily benefit the estimated 2,000 area residents who are unemployed but available for work.
The Giwanikimin Supportive Housing Project is financed by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and sponsored by the White Earth Tribal Council and Naytahwaush LLC. Consisting of 20, two-story, wood-framed townhouses in four buildings, the project also includes a wood-framed community center. Construction will begin in September 2013 and take about a year. The White Earth Tribe is developing this project to benefit homeless and at-risk families.
“Your tribal government’s generosity toward tribes and other organizations within the state is to be commended,” wrote White Earth Chairwoman Erma Vizenor to the SMSC.
In fiscal year 2012, the SMSC awarded a $1 million grant to the White Earth Nation to construct a diabetes wing for the tribe’s health building; the SMSC funded the same project with a portion of a $1 million grant the previous fiscal year. In 2008 and 2009, the SMSC provided $2 million to help the White Earth Nation purchase a youth treatment center in Bemidji, Minnesota. Oshki Manidoo (New Spirit) Center provides early intervention and chemical dependency treatment services for tribal members and Native American youth.
The SMSC’s financial help to the White Earth Nation dates back to June 2000, when the SMSC purchased $4.25 million in bonds that White Earth issued for a school project on the reservation. These bonds have since been paid off.
The White Earth Reservation encompasses all of Mahnomen County and portions of Becker and Clearwater counties in northwestern Minnesota. Consisting of more than 20,000 band members, White Earth is one of six reservations which comprise the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.
About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a federally recognized, sovereign Indian tribe located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. With a focus on being a good neighbor, good steward of the earth, and good employer, the SMSC is committed to community partnerships, charitable donations, a healthy environment, and a strong economy. The SMSC and the SMSC Gaming Enterprise (Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Little Six Casino) are the largest employer in Scott County. Out of a Dakota tradition to help others, the SMSC has also donated nearly $272 million since 1992, including more than $152 million to other tribes, tribal organizations, and American Indian causes.