Column: Bay Mills maintains ties to off-reservation casino site

The shuttered Bay Mills Indian Community casino in Vanderbilt, Michigan. Photo © Bay Mills News

Columnist says the Bay Mills Indian Community retains ancestral ties to a proposed off-reservation casino site in Port Huron, Michigan:
Congress created the Michigan Territory in 1805, and two years later, the Chippewa and other Algonquin-speaking tribes agreed to sell their lands south of the Saginaw Bay region.

As part of the Treaty of 1807, Kioskance’s descendants were allowed to keep their villages on the Black River and on Anchor Bay at Swan Creek.

The Chippewa reservation in Port Huron encompassed nearly 1,300 acres on the south bank of the Black River. On today’s map, it would be the area roughly bordered by Military, Griswold and 10th streets as well as the river.

The reservation was called Mekadewagamitigweyawininiwak, which translates as “People of the Blackwater River.” At 28 letters, it is the longest Native American word recorded by Smithsonian researchers.

The Saginaw Chippewa, which owns Michigan’s largest casino in Mount Pleasant as well as a smaller one in Standish, has perhaps the deepest and most obvious historic link to Kioskance and his descendants.

But there’s also a strong connection to both the Bay Mills Indian Community and to the Sault Chippewa, which broke away from Bay Mills in 1975 and is far and away Michigan’s largest tribe with some 40,000 members.

Using the Israel analogy, one could argue that Port Huron is an ancestral homeland and “aboriginal location” for all three tribes. The Chippewa may not have had a solemn promise to Abraham, but they did have a treaty with the U.S. government.

Get the Story:
Mike Connell: Kioskance's legacy affects casino question (The Port Huron Times-Herald 6/21)

Also Today:
Lynn H. Slade, William C. Scott and Sarah M. Stevenson: Supreme Court affirms Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does not abrogate sovereign immunity for suit alleging illegal gaming occurring on non-Indian lands (Lexology 6/17)
Username: Password: indianzcom

Supreme Court Decision:
Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community (May 27, 2014)

Oral Arguments on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud:

Relevant Documents:
Oral Argument Transcript | Supreme Court Docket Sheet No. 12-515 | Supreme Court Order List

Related Stories
Aura Bogado: Supreme Court upholds immunity in gaming case (06/17)

Join the Conversation