|Oct 31, 2013 --
In the mid-1970’s, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Sioux Tribe relocated from a small tribal office building in Sisseton, SD, to establish a new tribal government at the Old Agency Dakota community in Agency Village, SD. Since then, the tribe has grown immensely in population and in services provided to tribal members, who had to travel long distances in order to get needed services from tribal programs at various locations throughout northeastern South Dakota. The vision of providing needed services to its members in one central location has become a reality, thus fulfilling the dream of decades ago with the move to the new facility at Agency Village.
A USDA Rural Development Community Facility Direct Loan in the amount of $31,200,000 was used to build a new administration building for the tribe. An open house dedication ceremony was held on September 20, 2013 for the new building.
According to South Dakota Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks, this project will bring savings for rent/utilities to the tribe, create many efficiencies and provide economic sustainability.
The circular building is a one story structure containing 106,000 gross square feet and utilizes geothermal heating, cooling and cutting edge ventilation. Reflecting the culture, history and symbols of the Sisseton Wahpeton people, the circular form of the building represents the Sacred Hoop with a gathering place in the center for ceremonies and will remain as an impressive Capitol of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Nation for years to come.
“This impressive building represents the largest Community Facilities loan made in the history of South Dakota USDA Rural Development,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Patrice Kunesh. “It consolidates 28 public service Tribal departments, programs and agencies; serving as a central hub and assisting tribal members with their social, educational, and housing needs. The USDA remains strongly committed to the economic stability of South Dakota’s Tribal communities.”
Tribal Chairman Robert Shepherd added, "Today's building dedication signifies over 20 years of hard work from visionaries from past and present; they dedicated their time and leadership to ensure a continued vision for our future. This dedication also signifies the importance of partnerships and collaboration with outside agencies such as USDA Rural Development at the Washington D.C and South Dakota levels and the importance of good communication and relationships with our congressional offices”.