Casino windfall will help Anishinabek communities


Anishinabek Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee is hopeful that First Nations in Ontario and their relationship with Chippewas of Rama First Nation will be better and move in a positive direction.

On Jan. 22, the Ontario Court of Appeals decided in favor of 133 First Nations in Ontario getting their share of the profits from Casino Rama.

“This money, which is 35 percent of the profits, will help our communities fix their broken infrastructure, allow more citizens access to post-secondary education, address housing problems and give them a chance to put their economic development plans in motion,” Madahbee said. “Our communities need the funds in these tough economic times to get on the road to self-sustainability.”

Chippewas of Rama withdrew from the Union of Ontario Indians in 2004 and has not been active in the Anishinabek Nation.

“As far as our relationship goes with Chippewas of Rama, they are Anishinabek and a part of our family,” said Madahbee. “I hope we can move on – they have good leadership and we will continue to work with the community.

Since litigation began in 2001, about one-third of the net revenues, which the Chippewas of Rama claims as its own, has been placed in a trust account, while the remaining two-thirds has been split among the province’s 133 other First Nations.

Since opening nearly 14 years ago, Casino Rama has boasted gross revenues of more than $5.2 billion.

The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 40 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.