An estimated 1500 relatives, friends, tribal leaders and other dignitaries from across the nation gathered yesterday (Wednesday, August 29) at the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) to honor the memory of beloved Tribal Chairman Stanley R. Crooks, who died Saturday, August 25.
The funeral service at Tiowakan Spiritual Center was preceded by a traditional all night vigil and prayer service, on Tuesday night, during which dozens of relatives and friends spoke about the leader all described as quiet, unassuming, generous, devoted to his family, and dedicated to the service of his community and all Native people.
Eulogists at the funeral service included Charlie Vig, who now succeeds Crooks as SMSC Chairman; Keith Anderson, SMSC Vice Chairman; Ernie Stevens, Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA); Glynn Crooks, former SMSC Vice Chairman and cousin to Chairman Crooks; and Cecelia Firethunder, former President of the Oglala Sioux Nation. Reverend Marlene Whiterabbit Helgemo officiated.
Attending were representatives from more than two dozen tribal nations, including Bad River, Bois Forte, Crow Creek, Flandreau Santee, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Kickapoo, Leech Lake, Lower Sioux, Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara (Three Affiliated), Mille Lacs, Oglala Sioux (Pine Ridge), Omaha of Nebraska, Oneida of New York, Oneida of Wisconsin, Prairie Island, Red Cliff, Red Lake, Rosebud Sioux, Sisseton-Wahpeton, Spirit Lake, Standing Rock, Stockbridge-Munsee, Upper Sioux Community, and White Earth.
Also attending were state and federal dignitaries, including Governor Mark Dayton; U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken; U.S. Representatives Betty McCollum and John Kline; and numerous Minnesota legislators, city and county officials.
The printed funeral program included a statement from the Crooks family that read, “We, the family of Stanley R. Crooks, wish to express our deepest appreciation and gratitude to all the friends and relatives that have helped out during this difficult time. He was a devoted father, son, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend to many. He will be missed. Pidamayaye (thank you).