SIOUX VALLEY — Upgrades to infrastructure in Sioux Valley Dakota Nation are helping to build strong community connections.
The nation officially opened its new community centre in October 2020, said Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone, and construction is underway on a new governance centre at the Sioux Valley townsite.
“It’s been really nice to have this space because it was something that we really needed,” Bone said.
Work began on the governance centre in the winter of 2021, and it’s projected to be completed in the late fall. The third floor of the building is already completed and only the lower levels and final touches for the space remain before occupants begin moving in.
The governance centre will be occupied by chief and council, the governance office, finance office, social development office, and the post-secondary, employment and training office.
Bone said she is happy to see the centralizations of community resources at the new centres.
“All those departments will be under one roof there,” Bone said. “It will be nice to have everyone in one building. [Currently], we’re kind of all over the place.”
The new community centre is open to the public and has been well received and utilized in the community for programming including training, canning classes, alcoholics anonymous, emergency planning and other community resources. The governance office committees also access the new space.
“That was our vision for the space,” Bone said.
She described the centre as the heart of community services in the nation. The centre is currently closed to the public, but it’s accessible for programs and services that benefit the community.
She is grateful because the centre has allowed for socially distanced gatherings and meetings during COVID-19 and is now home to council meetings in Sioux Valley.
The centre was essential because of the lack of meeting space in the community.
She added many buildings and infrastructure in the nation are aging. Having a new building for staff was a welcome addition to Sioux Valley. The nation has not seen new buildings raised since the construction of the finance and gaming centre more than 20 years ago.
“Some of the offices where our managers and staff are located, they are really outdated and in constant need of repair,” Bone said. “It’s been a while since we had actual new buildings for community use.”
Landscaping for the new buildings is expected to be completed in the spring.
Bone said she hopes having everyone working in one central area will bring the community closer.
She added they are continuing to expand infrastructure in the nation and explore other areas that could potentially be created. Council recently approved a feasibility study to build a new location for Dakota Tiwahe Services for their programs, Bone said. The results of the study will help determine if the creation of a new facility is possible.
The construction of the facilities has been completed by Keller Developments. Bone praised the contractor for providing jobs to community members and giving back in the form of a sizable donation to the nation.
The donation has benefited community sports and recreation and helped fund the creation of a skatepark located near the Sioux Valley powwow grounds.
The skateboard park was finished in early September and is already proving to be popular with youth.
“That’s always been a vision for some of the council members and the young people here,” Bone said. “I see kids out there in the evening enjoying the space and walking with their skateboards.”
A gazebo is also under construction by the skateboard park and is designed to be a community outdoor gathering space.
Bone added there was a push to create the gazebo given the need to hold gatherings outside due to COVID-19. Tables and barbecue pits for the area have also been installed.
“It’s nice. It’s areas people can go and enjoy,” Bone said. “Families have been out and having barbecues.”
» Twitter: @The_ChelseaKemp
Chelsea Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun