HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 22Issue 35Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Receive Approval for New Casino & Hotel in Indiana

On November 17, 2016, the Bureau of Indian Affairs informed John Warren, Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians (“Tribe”), that plans for a $400 million casino in South Bend have received federal approval. The announcement came via letter, written by Lawrence S. Roberts, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs. Nearly 166 acres of tribal homeland will be accepted into trust. 

“I know that this restoration of land in Indiana is important for your citizens,” said Roberts. “It will provide tribal governmental offices to better serve your citizens and economic development in the form of a gaming facility, which will provide jobs to tribal citizens and the surrounding community. This acquisition and development is particularly important considering that approximately 34 percent of Pokagon citizens in Indiana have an income below the poverty level, and approximately 50 percent are living without health insurance. A significant number of citizens live in substandard housing or experience considerable challenges in maintaining adequate housing. Elders are particularly hard hit due to a lack of nearby services. This restoration will provide housing, education, and health facilities for tribal citizens residing in this area.”

In addition to the casino, plans call for a 500-room hotel, tribal services hub and nearly four dozen tribal housing units. According to insideindianabusiness.com, the Tribe projects more than 1,400 construction jobs and more than 2,000 permanent jobs for the finished product.

"Over the last two centuries, the Pokagon Band ceded over 5.2 million acres of our homeland to the United States; 185 years later, as we reclaim only a modest portion of our homeland, we take comfort in knowing how proud our ancestors would be of this historic achievement,” said Bob Moody, vice chairman of the Pokagon Band, in a  news release. “Restoration of our homeland will preserve our legacy for the next seven generations of Pokagon citizens and ensure that our ongoing contributions to South Bend will continue to grow.”

As reported by southbendtribune.com, the Tribe’s economic contributions will include:

· $400,000 to help South Bend replace and upgrade the Calvert Street Lift Station

· 2 percent of the casino’s annual net win paid to the city,  annual payments not being less than $1 million if the casino has between 850 and 1,699 games, and will not be less than $2 million if the casino has 1,700 or more games

· $5 million in donations to local initiatives and organizations over a five-year period after the casino opens, such as $500,000 for South Bend Schools, $500,000 to renovate the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Children’s Hospital of South Bend, and more than $2.2 million to make improvements to Howard Park downtown.

Currently, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians operate casinos in Hartford, Dowagiac and New Buffalo, Michigan. According to Calvinayre.com, the Tribe will allocate 2% of revenue to the city of South Bend and the agreement includes a stipulation to spend $5 million on local community projects.


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