In late 2015, the Lower Sioux Indian Community (LSIC) and its leadership initiated comprehensive community planning in order to establish a deliberate path for the community and subsequently guide strategic decision making. The tribal council established a tribal planning department in tangent with the hire of a full-time grant writer. In alignment with Dakota traditions and values, leadership prioritized the following planning framework:
- Strength based approach (vs deficit thinking)
- Integration of Dakota values, language, worldview
- Collective wisdom of the people
- Ikce wicasta (vs top down)
The planning framework is intended to guide the process of community planning. Furthermore, in the spirit of the planning framework, the LSIC Tribal Planning Department’s Mission was established: Canku waste wan witaya unkagapi unkokihipi! – Together we are able to make a good path!
Both process and product are valuable in community planning. The Lower Sioux Indian Community Comprehensive Plan (LSICCP) is a living document, intended to be reviewed and updated on an on-going basis. Since conducting community planning is a significant undertaking, the planning department identified needed phases and benchmarks in the development of a comprehensive community plan.
The primary outcomes of Phase I were to establish a vision for the community; conduct asset mapping; and develop exploratory community strategies. The primary outcome of Phase II was to develop 10-year community goals. Phase III is to provide an educational framework in strengthening tribal governance and nation building. Phase IV is for each department to begin Strategic Development in 3 to 5 year increments that align with the previous phases. Phase III and IV will be conducted concurrently as resources allow.
Comprehensive Community Planning is a long-term investment that supports sustainable initiatives, working towards realizing a broader vision. As a living document, the LSICCP is intended to be reviewed, implemented, and subsequently updated on a cyclical basis.
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