Tribe gives $10 millionfor football stadium

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — An American Indian tribe is donating $10 million to the University of Minnesota for its new football stadium.

The gift from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, which owns Mystic Lake Casino, is the largest gift the school has ever received for athletics. In return, the band will get naming and landscaping rights to the main plaza for the 50,000-seat, $288 million stadium, which is already named TCF Bank Stadium after its top sponsor.

The band is also donating another $2.5 million, to be matched by the school, for a scholarship fund.

Tribal Chairman Stanley Crooks said the plaza probably would incorporate the Dakota people’s name and honor Minnesota’s Indian bands, but the casino name wouldn’t be featured anywhere in the plaza.


"’The Dakota Mall’ or something like that," Crooks said Thursday. "We’re not promoting Mystic Lake Casino. ... This is an historic place for us. This was an opportunity to make a significant impact on something that will be around for a long time."

In recent years, the Shakopee band has donated almost $100 million, making it one of the largest philanthropic organizations in Minnesota and possibly the largest charitable donor among Indian bands in the country.

This year alone, the Shakopee band expects to give away almost $21 million. That generosity has been made possible by the success of its gaming operations, specifically Mystic Lake Casino, which by some estimates pulls in between $600 million and $1 billion a year in revenue for the band.

University President Robert Bruininks said Friday he was inspired by his meetings with Crooks and other tribal officials. Bruininks said they talked about Crooks’ vision for this gift and what he and his community were trying to accomplish.

"We spent more time talking about the scholarship commitment and the importance and fundamental values of education, the critical importance of giving young folks a head start in life."

The university had raised $63 million of the $86 million it needs in private gifts and sponsorships to help pay for the stadium, so it must still raise $13 million. The remainder of the money is coming from the state and through student service fees.

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