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KBIC remembers former Tribal Chairman, Fred Dakota; funeral services announced

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 4:40 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 Casino Gaming,” died Monday at the age of 84.

Below is a statement sent out by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community:

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community mourns the passing of their longtime Tribal Chairman, Frederick “Fred” Dakota. Fred passed away unexpectedly at his home on September 13, 2021. Fred was a true visionary who is credited with the development and evolution of KBIC. From 1968 to 2018, he served on the Tribal Council and served 20 of those years as the Chairman.

Fred was a passionate and courageous leader who was willing to take risks. He was a firm believer in Tribal sovereignty and made sure that KBIC was in the forefront of negotiation for treaty rights and self-governance. Fred was a teacher and mentor as well as a respected elder and veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Tribal Council President Warren “Chris” Swartz Jr. said, “It was an honor and a privilege to stand shoulder to shoulder with one of the greatest leaders in Indian Country. Fred impacted not only KBIC, but many tribal communities with his leadership abilities. I, for one, am grateful for what he has done for me personally and professionally. I will miss his visits and his leadership qualities.”

He cared about KBIC and the L’Anse Indian Reservation. He greatly loved his family and will be deeply missed.

Funeral services for Dakota will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, September 17 at the Reid Funeral Service and Chapel in L’Anse. The Dakota family will greet friends at the funeral home from 12 p.m. until the funeral.

Following the graveside service and military honors, a luncheon will be held at the Baraga American Legion Post #444.

KBIC Government offices will be closed Friday. Both Baraga and Marquette Ojibwa Casinos will also close from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

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