Nearly 200 years later, Chief Sakpe is in Shakopee once again.
The city of Shakopee and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community unveiled a statue of the chief in downtown Shakopee on Tuesday.
“We are honored to share this history with our neighbors,” Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Chairman Charles R. Vig said. “Together we’ve been able to accomplish so much more than we could alone.”
The statue was originally commissioned by the tribe to be displayed at Mystic Lake Hotel Casino. The relief was on one side whereas the full statue of Chief Sakpe and his horse was on the other.
“We’ve been here a long time,” Vig said. “It’s very meaningful for me to be here today to celebrate the statue of Chief Sakpe.”
During construction, the relief was put into storage. The community donated the statue to the city after the city expressed interest in commissioning a statue for the downtown area.
“We are strong partners,” Mayor Bill Mars said. “We are being enriched through our common history and we have much to be proud of.”
The statue was made by Danny Haskew, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Oklahoma. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community provided a grant for Haskew to restore and install the statue.
The statue is located near the Shakopee sign at the Highway 101 entrance.
“Downtown is the heart of Shakopee,” Mars said. “Our communal history is important to all residents. The Chief Sakpe statue is the first step in announcing our heritage.”
Chief Sakpe was the leader of the Mdewakanton Dakota village in the mid-1800s. He was also the descendant of Chief Sakpe II, Shakopee’s namesake.
The unveiling was not the end of announcements. Mars said the city would raise money for a statue of Reverend Samuel Pond. Haskew would be the artist for the Pond statue as well.
“These statues represent a continued partnership with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community,” Mars said.
Pond was a missionary to the Dakota in the 1800s. Pond helped create the Dakota alphabet, which he then used to translate the Bible.
Vig also announced that a new cultural center will open in 2019 to serve as a museum and learning center for the community’s history.
Read more about that on page 21.