Members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians voted to approve a referendum that supports the Tribe’s plan to seek federal approval to open a casino in downtownLansing.
Sault Tribe members approved the referendum by a vote of 3,947 to 2,311 via mail ballots counted tonight by the Tribe’s Election Committee.
The ballots were mailed to all registered tribal voters on April 12 and had to be returned by today. The election cost roughly $30,000.
The election was called for by a referendum petition signed by 106 tribal members. The ballot asked tribal members to approve or not approve Resolution 2012-11 passed the Tribe’s Board of Directors to seek to build and open a new casino inLansing.
The ballot language read as follows:
EXPLANATION: On January 24, 2012 The Board of Directors approved Resolution 2012-11 which allows the Tribe to try to open a casino in the City of Lansing. The Resolution authorizes and directs as follows:
- The Tribe may purchase property in the City of Lansing and the Tribe would try to open a tribal casino on the property;
- The City of Lansing will receive “limited revenue sharing payments” in exchange for its support and for providing police, fire and utility services;
- The Tribe will allow the City of Lansing to enforce the above in Federal court’
- Money from the Self Sufficiency Fund will be used to purchase the property;
- The amount of money available to fund the next annual elder distributions will not decrease;
- And 15% of the Tribe’s profit will be set aside for the various elder programs and for a college scholarship program.
If you believe the project should move forward VOTE TO APPROVE. If you believe the project should not move forward, VOTE TO DISAPPROVE.
Sault Tribe Chairman Joe Eitrem thanked all tribal members who participated in the election and expressed gratitude to members who voted for approval.
“If we succeed in opening a casino in Lansing, it will provide a new source of funds desperately needed to fully fund and restore membership programs that have been cut, to replenish our Self Sufficiency Fund, to pay down our debt, and to bring more services to members,” Eitrem said.
The casino has already received all necessary approvals from Lansing, including from Mayor Virg Bernero and the City Council. Next steps in the project are to conclude the Tribe’s purchase of the land where the casino will be built adjacent to theLansing Center and to submit an application to the U.S. Department of the Interior to take the land into trust for gaming.