Study: Fond du Lac Band Pumps $305 Million Into Minnesota Economy


A recently released study reveals the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa contributed about $305 million to the northeast Minnesota economy in 2011—something it largely credits to its business diversity.

The Fond du Lac Band commissioned the study, released January 8, from the University of Minnesota-Duluth's Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

The tribe’s main tourist attractions—Fond-du-Luth Casino in Duluth, Black Bear Casino Resort and Fond du Lac Black Bear Golf Course, both in Carlton—pumped almost $120 million, about one third of its economic activity, into the region in 2011, reported Fox21Online.com.

"Too often," Band Chairwoman Karen Diver told Minnesota Public Radio, "I think that we're viewed so much as just casinos, and it really discounts the fact that we really use that money to build a service delivery system and capacity within the reservation as a government."

Casino profits fund tribal services like health care and community centers, she added.

The Fond du Lac Band credits its substantial economic impact to its diverse tribal enterprises that include education, insurance, construction, logging, gas, grocery, radio, social service and more, reported wdio.com.

The tribe employs about 2,200 people, the second most in northeast Minnesota after Essentia Health. Black Bear Casino and Resort creates about 1,080 jobs, and Fond du Luth Casino is responsible for about 339 jobs. But the band's enterprises spur another 1,400 jobs, estimates Jim Skurla, study author.

"So it has an impact not just on people that live on the reservation," Skurla said, "but a lot of non-natives are also working out there, which I think adds a lot of value to the region."