The late Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Chairman Stanley R. Crooks was named Shakopee Patch’s 2012 Person of the Year on December 27, 2012. Chairman Crooks passed away August 25, 2012, of natural causes. He served as Chairman of the SMSC for twenty years.
Chairman Crooks garnered 68 percent of the vote in the poll run by the national online news outlet Patch.com’s Shakopee site. He was one of three people nominated by readers of the website for their contributions to Shakopee.
Those who nominated Crooks described him as “an amazing leader, not just for his own Dakota community but for other tribes throughout Minnesota and the entire United States,” and commended him for honoring the ancient Sioux tradition of generosity. Since 1996, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has donated nearly $260 million to tribes and charitable organizations in Minnesota and across the midwest, including the 2008 donation of $14.5 million to the University of Minnesota for construction of the Minnesota Tribal Nations Plaza at TCF Stadium and creation of a scholarship fund for Native American students.
A staunch supporter of a diversified approach to economic development in Indian Country, Chairman Crooks was an inspiration to other tribal governments. He mentored leaders from other tribal nations and led the creation of a loan program which has been responsible for more than $523 million in loans to other tribes for economic and infrastructure development projects in recent years.
Under Crooks’ leadership, the SMSC also became a driving force for employment and economic growth in Shakopee and the surrounding area. With a payroll of over $178 million in wages and benefits in its gaming and governmental operations, the tribe is the largest employer in Scott County.