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MinnPost: The new buffalo -- Series on tribal gaming industry

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"Ojibwe and Dakota people across Minnesota added a measure of casino success that rises above issues of poverty, jobs, education and tribal self-sufficiency: Have casinos enabled tribes to restore their endangered languages and steep a new generation in cherished cultural values and traditions?

Nearly everyone we met placed a high priority on that question, often bringing it up before we even got around to asking.

Bois Forte band member Don Chosa used the analogy of tribal sovereignty as a stool, with one leg being language. He told me that in the Bois Forte Nation of several thousand, only 14 fluently speak the Ojibwe language.

Fond du Lac Chair Karen Diver’s face lit up when I asked her whether gaming funds should be used to promote cultural awareness and restoration.

“A large part of the policy of the federal government through the years was to undermine the identity of Indian people,” she said. “Part of the resiliency of Native American people is the preservation of our identity, which is all about language and culture.”"

Get the Story:
Casinos influencing Indian culture — in a good way (MinnPost 12/14)

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