FireKeepers Revenue to Fund Replacing Offensive Mascots at Michigan Schools

Firekeepers casino will finance the Michigan Native American Fund which will promote the switch from offensive mascots and foster positive relationships.

Revenue from a tribal casino in Michigan will support doing away with offensive mascots in the state. The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi recently debuted its new Michigan Native American Heritage Fund, designed to promote positive relationships with an understanding of the history and role of Michigan's Indian tribes and Native Americans in the state.

The Fund, part of the tribe’s reworked gaming compact with Michigan, will be managed by a board of state and tribal representatives that will give money to local governments, schools and colleges for projects. At least five schools in Michigan are likely to receive more resources to go toward replacing their Native American mascots.

Replacing existing offensive mascots generally involves hiring a graphic designer; ordering new signs, uniforms and helmets; and replacing logos on gym floors and fields — all of which costs money. For instance, Goshen High School in Indiana spent roughly $37,000 to make its switch, reported The school, formerly known as the Redskins, recently celebrated its one year anniversary as the Redhawks, reported WSBT 22.

“This fund demonstrates our commitment to providing Michigan schools, colleges and universities with the funds needed to improve curricula and resources related to Native American issues and mascot revisions,” said NHBP Tribal Chair Jamie Stuck. “We understand that schools often don't have funds available for these types of projects and we are dedicated to removing that obstacle.”

Each year, up to half a million dollars from the tribe's revenue sharing from FireKeepers Casino Hotel to the state could go into the Michigan Native American Heritage Fund. The Fund will also promote the rich history and contributions of the state’s indigenous peoples. That will include new history books, equipment and facilities to improve Native American education and imagery.

“I greatly appreciate the productive government-to-government relationship that the State of Michigan enjoys with the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi,” said Gov. Rick Snyder.