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Tribe Breaks Ground on FireKeepers Casino Expansion

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The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP) announced the start of expansion on their Battle Creek, Michigan-based FireKeepers Casino today, stated a casino news release.

The NHBP, the “Keepers of the Fire,” held two ceremonial events to commemorate the expansion of the casino, which originally opened in August 2009. The first event on April 30 catered to the NHBP Tribal Membership complete with tribal drumming and blessings.

“Our Tribe has always believed in looking ahead seven generations. This expansion opportunity represents our continuing efforts to build a solid economic foundation for the future of our Tribe and our continuing efforts to look ahead seven generations,” stated Homer A. Mandoka, NHBP Tribal Council Chairman.

Invited guests and local supporters gathered for the public event to celebrate the expansion project with a target completion date in fall 2012.

The expansion will feature an upscale 242-room, resort-style hotel, including an indoor pool, exercise facility, full service restaurant and multi-purpose event center capable of seating more than 2,000 guests in a concert setting. When the concert venue is not in use, it can be configured to accommodate banquets, corporate meetings, trade shows and other events.

Bingo operations will expand to 10,000 square feet of gaming space, doubling the capacity from 250 players to 500 per session, stated the news release.

“The native components on this expansion will be subtle,” Mandoka told Indian Country Today Media Network in March. "What you will see is the four elements represented, but you will also see the introduction of the teachings of the seven grandfathers. If you see one object, you will see seven of them. The expansion will represent the lessons taught to the Anishinaabe., the guidance the tribe received to help them in their day to day activities and identify long term goals.”

FireKeepers will host its hotel job fair on May 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., reserved for enrolled NHBP members (The NHBP has more than 1,100 members), and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for any additional Nishnabe who are eligible for Tribal Preferences, at the Community Center on the Pine Creek Indian Reservation. The Southwest Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, The Skillman Corporation and Clark Construction Company will host the event. Business agents from trade unions will be on hand to field questions regarding a career in various construction trades.