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Fred Dakota, a longtime KBIC tribal president, dies at 84

Funeral arrangements for Dakota are incomplete and will be announced by the Reid Funeral Service and Chapel in L’Anse.
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 4:47 PM EDT
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BARAGA, Mich. (WLUC) - A longtime Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) tribal president, Fred Dakota, known locally as the “Grandfather of Indian Gaming,” died Monday at the age of 84.

Funeral arrangements for Dakota are incomplete and will be announced by the Reid Funeral Service and Chapel in L’Anse. Tributes can be shared on his obituary page.

In 2010, Dakota spoke with TV6 on the 25th anniversary of the start of Native American gaming. Dakota began the tribe’s first casino in a two-car garage in Zeba, northeast of L’Anse.

With a $10,000 loan, a tribal gaming license, and a homemade blackjack table, Dakota opened the doors to The Pines, one of the nation’s first Native American casinos.

After being shut down 18 months after starting the casino, Dakota fought to create the KBIC’s Ojibwa Casino in Baraga.

TV6 hopes to have a longer story on Dakota’s life and legacy in the coming days.

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