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Native Sun News: Rosebud Sioux Tribe boosts local economy





The following story was written and reported by Karin Eagle, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.


The CEO of the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation, Wizipan Little Elk, announces big news for the RST. COURTESY/Wizipan Little Elk

Shakopee fund economic development on Rosebud
New office supply store takes the lead
By Karin Eagle
Native Sun News Staff Writer

ROSEBUD – The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, located in the second poorest country in South Dakota, is making moves to create a way to not only save money for the tribal membership, but also create jobs.

"We live in an economically depressed area, so we have to find every small way we can to help people locally," said Wizipan (Garriot) Little Elk, CEO of the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO).

REDCO is a politically neutral entity whose main function is to promote the best and fullest utilization of tribal resources through planning, implementing, and managing economic development projects on the Rosebud Reservation.

"The tribe spends around $3 million a year simply on office products and office-related products," said Little Elk.

With tribal programs and small businesses purchasing office supplies, often at 100 percent mark up or more, the profits are leaving the reservation more, with very little return.

The Rosebud Economic Development Corporation wants to change that with the launch of Sicangu Business Products. The company offers a full range of products from printer paper to office furniture. "Part of the strategy of REDCO has been to find ways to recycle dollars on the reservation, to start turning those dollars over, to strengthen our economy," said Little Elk.

The plan is aimed at saving money for tribal-owned businesses, while creating a handful of much-needed jobs. But, Little Elk says, the vision for this new venture extends far beyond that, "We'd really like to start serving local school districts - both Todd County and St. Francis - and private businesses, individuals. You know, we're open to business to everyone."

Sicangu Business Products and other recent REDCO ventures are made possible, in part, through a $500,000 grant from Minnesota's Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC).

A $525,000 grant to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe will assist with several different programs. REDCO received $200,000 for development of their finance office.

Sicangu LP Propane will receive $200,000 for start up costs and Lakota Water Inc. will receive $20,000 for equipment purchase, marketing, and advertising assistance.

Sicangu Landscaping Enterprise will receive $50,000 for start up costs, and $55,000 will go towards planning and design for the RST tribal building.

In previous years the RST has received $8 million in grants and loans for Turtle Crossing grocery store, a wireless broadband project, and energy assistance for their Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program from the SMSC.

REDCO is located in Mission and can be reached at (605)856-5090.

(Contact Karin Eagle at staffwriter@nsweekly.com)

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