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Prior Lake, Minneosta-It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Stanley R. Crooks, Chairman of the Shakopee Mdewkanton Sioux Community since 1992, who passed away this morning at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, Minnesota, from natural causes surrounded by his loving family and friends. He was 70 years old.

Funeral services are pending.

Stanley Crooks served as Chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for more than 20 successive years and was reelected for a new four-year term of office in January of 2012. Under his leadership, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has grown and thrived. Known for his decisiveness, quick humor, fierce defense of tribal sovereignty and self-determination, Chairman Crooks always put his Community first.

Under his leadership, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community members have approved Community donations of more than $243 million to tribes and charitable organizations since 1996 and tribal loans of more than $450 million for economic development and community development. Chairman Crooks often was heard to say, "We feel we have an obligation to help others. It's part of our culture as Dakota people. It is who we are."

In recent weeks Chairman Crooks provided unprecedented interviews with local media outlets where he spoke publicly about Dakota history, culture, the Dakota Conflict of 1862 and its aftermath which was ever present on his mind this year, the 150-year remembrance of that tragic time in Dakota history.

Vice-Chairman Charlie Vig issued the following statement regarding the passing of Chairman Crooks, "Chairman Crooks was a leader in every sense of the word. I am honored to have worked with Stanley over the last 20 years and especially over the last eight months on the Tribal Council. He was a true mentor and a true leader. We join with his family, friends, and all those who were privileged to know Chairman Crooks in mourning his passing. We offer our deepest sympathies to his family in this difficult time."

Secretary/Treasurer Keith B. Anderson issued the following statement regarding the passing of Chairman Crooks, "I am deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved Chairman Stanley Crooks. Stan had dedicated himself to improving the lives of others. He was truly a visionary and a fierce defender of tribal sovereignty. Stan has been a mentor, colleague, and a true friend. My association with the Chairman over the last 20 plus years has enabled me to grow as a person. He was truly a modern day giant. We have lost a true legend. We love you, Stanley, rest in peace. Our hearts go out to his beloved wife and his family members. Stanley, your hard work and dedication will endure for generations to come."

As he journeys to the Spirit World, Chairman Crooks leaves his wife of 48 years, Cheryl; two daughters, Cherie Crooks and Alisa Crooks; four grandchildren: Joe Bathel, Kc Bathel, Dakota Crooks, and Jesse Crooks; three great grandchildren, Neveah Bathel, Dreamma Crooks, and Alyanna Bathel; uncle, Clifford Crooks, Senior; brothers Mike (Renate) Crooks, Danny "Skip" (Laurie) Crooks, and George Crooks. He was preceded in death by his parents Norman and Edith Crooks, and brothers Norman Woodrow Crooks, Alex Crooks, and Alfred Crooks.

A national figure in Indian Country, Chairman Crooks served as Chairman of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association for many years and was the SMSC representative to the National Indian Gaming Association, as well as to the National Congress of American Indians. A United States Navy veteran, he served during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His father, the late Norman M. Crooks, was the first Chairman of the SMSC.

For his service to Indian Country, Chairman Crooks has been bestowed with honors from across the country:
-the Wendell Chino Humanitarian Award, honoring a tribal leader who demonstrates a commitment to the advancement of tribal sovereignty, by the National Indian Gaming Association in 2005.
-the National Indian Gaming Association Leadership Award on April 7, 2010
-the NIGA Chairman's Leadership Award of Excellence: Going Green for Mother Earth on October 20, 2010
-one of the Global Gaming Business magazine's "25 People to Watch" in January 2011
-Tribal Leader of the Year by the Native American Finance Officers Association on March 23, 2011
-Most recently, in July 2012, he was honored as the 2012 Eagle Visionary Award Winner by Indian Gaming magazine and was the first of six honorees into their newly established Indian Gaming Hall of Fame.

Pursuant to the constitutional procedures which govern the Community as a federally-recognized Indian tribal government, Vice-Chairman Charlie Vig succeeds Chairman Crooks and Secretary/Treasurer Keith B. Anderson assumes the office of Vice-Chairman. A tribal election will be held to fill the office of Secretary/Treasurer which is now vacant.

For more information: Bill Rudnicki 612-964-6963 or Willie Hardacker 612-743-2819

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