Monday, September 29, 2014


Nine Native American students from Indian nations across the midwest have received scholarships from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Minnesota, the tribe announced today. The scholarship program is designed to recruit and retain talented American Indian students with demonstrated financial need.The group includes four students from Minnesota tribes, three from Wisconsin, one from South Dakota and one from   North Dakota.

Since 2009, when SMSC donated $2.5 million to the University to create the scholarship fund, more than 190 students from 48 tribes in 18 states have received financial assistance. Eighty-three of them are enrolled this year, 59 in undergraduate programs and 24 in graduate studies, including three enrolled in the Master of Tribal Administration and Governance Program at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

The University of Minnesota matches the interest earned on the endowment funds, with proceeds dedicated to providing scholarships for qualified American Indian students. The SMSC has donated more than $300 million to organizations and charitable causes since 1992. In addition, it funds its own community infrastructure and contributes generously to regional governments and infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer systems, and emergency services.

Monday, September 22, 2014


The Vice-Chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) has been honored by the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) with one of its most prestigious leadership awards. Keith Anderson received the John Kieffer Spirit of Sovereignty Award from NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. on September 9 at the organization's mid-year meeting in Oklahoma.

The Kieffer Award recognizes "selfless dedication to advancing the lives of Native Americans socially and economically, building self-sufficiency, and being an advocate for tribal self-determination." The award is named for John Kieffer, who was Vice-Chairman of the Spokane Tribe and served on the NIGA board from 1993 until his untimely death in 1999. Kieffer was instrumental in NIGA's development and the protection of tribal sovereignty.

Anderson has served as SMSC Vice-Chairman since August 2012, and previously served eight years as Secretary/Treasurer. He is known as a fearless advocate for tribal rights and the empowerment of tribes through economic development and policy engagement.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


The Duluth News-Tribune is reporting that the University of Minnesota Board of Regents has approved the creation of a bachelor's degree program in tribal administration at the University's Duluth campus (UMD). The action follows creation in 2011 of a master's degree program in the same field. Both programs are firsts in the nation.

The Tribal Administration and Governance (TAG) program was developed in response to a "strong need" among tribal governments in the midwest and nationwide, according to Tadd Johnson, director of graduate studies for the Department of American Indian Studies. There are 566 federally recognized Indian tribes in the U.S., including 11 each in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Much of the program will be offered online, to make it more accessible to those who are unable to travel to Duluth for their studies. The curriculum covers federal Indian law, tribal government and tribal management in key areas such as health and human services, natural resources, education, housing, finance and economic development, and human resources, Johnson said.

MIGA Executive Director John McCarthy said the UMD program will be a tremendous resource for tribal governments. "Many people don't understand that tribal governments have responsibilities and obligations to their citizens, just like states. Whether they're spending federal funds or gaming revenues, they have to provide services and manage programs to meet the needs of the community. They need qualified, well-educated people to do that. Tadd Johnson and UMD have done a great service for Indian country by developing these degree programs, and they should be congratulated for it."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


In the wake of several major casino closings in Atlantic City, New Jersey leaders, including Governor Chris Christie, are "hoping sports betting can end Atlantic City's losing streak," according to a September 9 article in the Washington Post. The  article reports that the Governor's office has filed a motion in U.S. District Court and issued a statewide "directive" that would allow casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting "without fear of criminal or civil liability."

A statement posted on the official website of Governor Christie's office said the directive was issued after  a ruling in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that the state is free to remove restrictions against sports betting if it desires to do so. Although Governor Christie consistently has supported the authorization of sports betting, he vetoed a bill to approve the activity because he feared it would violate the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The Third Circuit decision found that nothing in PASPA would prohibit the state from removing its own prohibition against sports wagering.

A slow economic recovery and increased competition in neighboring states have been blamed for the closing of three Atlantic City casinos and the loss of 5,900 casino jobs so far this year.  Gambling revenues in the city have dropped by 45 percent since 2006, the Post reports.