New Gaming Compact Amendment May Help Remove Offensive Mascots in Michigan Schools

Published January 4, 2017

LANSING, MICHIGAN – A new provision within what is called the Second Amendment to the Tribal-State Gaming Compact between the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi and the State of Michigan will designate revenue sharing funds the newly established Native American Heritage Fund.

Beginning with revenue sharing payments due in early 2017, the Second Amendment revises the section providing for the payment of revenue sharing payments to the State by allocating a portion (up to $500,000 per year) of State revenue sharing payments to the fund. Use of funds deposited in the Michigan Native American Heritage Fund will be managed by a board consisting of: two (2) persons appointed by the Tribe, two (2) persons appointed by the Governor, and the Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights or his/her designee. The Board will award funds to local governments and public and private schools, colleges and universities to defray the costs of projects that promote positive relationships with and understanding of the history and role of Michigan’s Indian tribes and Native Americans in the state.

Projects can include covering the cost associated with schools replacing or revising mascots or imagery that might be considered offensive to Native Americans with more culturally appropriate representations or new mascots/logos. 

 The Second Amendment, which was agreed to by the parties in August, 2016, was approved by the United States Department of the Interior’s Office of Indian Gaming Management by publication in the Federal Register on Monday, December 12, 2016.

“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.”

“I greatly appreciate the productive government-to-government relationship that the State of Michigan enjoys with the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “I’m proud that this Second Amendment to the Tribal-State Gaming Compact will provide opportunities for additional partnerships between the tribe, state, and schools to promote the rich history and contributions of the first Michiganders and our mutual citizens.”

Other Amendments also revise the guidelines for distribution of local revenue sharing funds to permit the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board to award funds to eligible units of local government to cover eligible costs before incurring those costs and to enter into multi-year funding commitments with eligible units of government.

This change will permit local governments to receive commitments to cover costs associated with road, sewer or other infrastructure improvements that are needed due to increased demands associated with FireKeepers Casino Hotel’s operations. It will also provide local governments with budget relief by allocating funds that can be included in future fiscal year budgets where costs related to FireKeepers Casino Hotel are known in advance.

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This BBSNews article was syndicated from Native News Online, and written by Native News Online Staff. Read the original article here.