American Indian Communities
For centuries, the Dakota has maintained strong connections to the Minnesota River and its many tributaries and all that time focusing on protecting the natural resource community. Today, there are three Dakota communities along the Minnesota River with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux located on the lower end in the Twin Cities. Both of the other communities – Lower Sioux and Upper Sioux – can be found near the middle of the river. Each of them supports an environmental office to monitor its natural resources like ground water, incorporate conservation practices to protect Tribal water, land and air along with other related duties.
Lower Sioux Indian Community – Redwood Falls
A federally recognized Indian tribe located in south central Minnesota in Redwood County, the Lower Sioux Indian Community focuses on pride in their history and culture as the heart and spirit of everything they do. Members of the Lower Sioux Indian Community are part of the Mdewakanton Band of Dakota. Today, the Lower Sioux Community has almost 930 enrolled members, more than half of who reside on Tribal lands. The Lower Sioux’s Office of the Environment was created in 1992 to increase the environmental regulatory presence on their reservation and to develop environmental programs for the community.
Contact: 507-697-6185 - http://www.lowersioux.com/index.html
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community – Shakopee and Prior Lake
From the original 250-acre reservation established in the 1880s, this Dakota community now owns over 3,000 acres of land located in Scott County. Direct descendents of the Mdewakanton Dakota people that once lived in villages near the lower Minnesota River, this community concentrates on a wide range of services including ones related to protecting and restoring the natural environment to conditions prior to European-American settlement. Some of this effort relates to prairie restoration, protecting drinking water sources, producing energy from natural materials and much more.
Contact: 952-496-6158 (Land and Natural Resources) - http://www.shakopeedakota.org/enviro/index.html
Upper Sioux Community – Granite Falls
The mission of the Upper Sioux Board of Trustees is to provide culturally-based programs and services that preserve the Dakota traditions, promote and support education, healthy families and a diversified and growing economy, leading to increased self-esteem and self-sufficiency for individual community members and the Upper Sioux Community, Pejuhutazizi Oyate. Today, the Upper Sioux Community consists of 1,440 acres and a population of close to 550 people.