Cole Miller elected Chairman, Natasha Coursolle as Vice-Chairwoman and Ashley Cornforth as Secretary/Treasurer
Prior Lake, Minn. - Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) members elected Cole Miller as Chairman, Natasha Coursolle as Vice-Chairwoman and Ashley Cornforth as Secretary/Treasurer yesterday. These three elected officials will serve four-year terms beginning Jan. 31 and make up the tribe's Business Council. The Business Council is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the tribal government, its relationships with its members and other governments, and its thousands of employees. The election had a 76% voter turnout rate. Election results will be certified later this week.
Incoming Chairman Cole Miller was elected to his second term on the SMSC Business Council and first as Chairman. He has served as the tribe's Vice-Chairman since 2020. On behalf of the SMSC, Miller is the Co-Chair of the Native Farm Bill Coalition, which advocates for Native American interests in the federal Farm Bill. Before joining the Business Council, Miller served as the community liaison for Mdewakanton Public Safety, the tribe's full-time fire department, paramedic-level ambulance service and emergency management organization. He has been active in the Community for many years, including chairing the tribe's Wacipi Pow Wow Committee.
Incoming Vice-Chairwoman Natasha Coursolle was elected to serve her first term on the Business Council. She is currently the Secretary of the SMSC Gaming Enterprise Board of Directors, which governs Gaming Enterprise operations for the SMSC. Coursolle previously served on the SMSC Gaming Commission, which ensures that SMSC gaming operations are conducted fairly, honestly and in compliance with applicable laws. Coursolle first started working for the tribe when she was 14 years old through the Community's youth internship program. She has served on the tribe's SMSC Scholarship Selection Committee for the University of Minnesota, among other roles.
Incoming Secretary/Treasurer Ashley Cornforth was elected to serve her first term on the Business Council. She has served on the Gaming Enterprise Board of Directors since 2016, including four years as Chairwoman. Cornforth is very involved with the tribe, serving as a member of the Government Interactions, Economic Development, Health Wellness and Safety, and Cultural and Historical Preservation Workgroups, and Civilian Review Board.
The current Chairman, Keith Anderson, and Secretary/Treasurer, Rebecca Crooks-Stratton, did not seek re-election.
As a sovereign nation, the SMSC is governed by the General Council, consisting of all enrolled members ages 18 and older. The General Council sets policies for the tribe and is tasked with electing representatives to the Business Council, as well as the Gaming Commission and the Gaming Board of Directors.
About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a federally recognized, sovereign Dakota tribal government located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Following a Dakota tradition of generosity, the SMSC is one of the top philanthropists in Minnesota and is the largest contributor to other tribal governments and causes across the country. It is a strong community partner and a leader in protecting and restoring natural resources. The SMSC's government, Gaming Enterprise and various other enterprises are collectively the largest employer in Scott County and attract millions of visitors to the region.