Doreen Blaker, President, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community

Doreen Blaker, President
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community

Ojibwa Casino Marquette – Marquette, MI; Ojibwa Casino Baraga – Baraga, MI /

BENEFITS OF GAMING: The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) chose to invest its gaming revenues in governmental services geared towards improving our tribal members’ lives on and around the reservation. Before casino revenue, I can remember a time when our health services would almost shut down due to lack of funding, and employment opportunities for tribal members were very limited. Gaming revenues have allowed our services to expand in healthcare, education, law enforcement, and to protect and preserve our natural resources. Gaming has increased our employment opportunities and we are one of the largest employers in our county. The tribe contributes to our surrounding counties through our two percent payments and donations that have totaled over a million dollars throughout the years that our casinos have been open.

GOALS & INITIATIVES: The KBIC gaming enterprises are located in the western half of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is a less populated area, but the beauty of our natural surroundings makes it a great location to visit and spend time in. Our goal is to offer customers an enjoyable gaming experience and stay in an area that has retained much of its natural beauty. We have an RV park that will be completed this August at our Marquette casino and will open in time for people to stay and enjoy the fall colors of our area. We continue to recover from the pandemic, which hampered our ability to open our new event center and restaurant, and this has now become a short-term goal. Future plans for our Marquette facility will be to add a motel.   

LEGISLATIVE: Our tribe has moved towards a proactive stance regarding issues that may affect or endanger our ability to live and prosper. Like many other tribes, we oversee our domestic relations, economic development, and growth through tribal laws and regulations. We feel there is strength in numbers and belong to various organizations that advocate for tribal interests. Our Council stays abreast of areas of concern that could affect us directly, and we strive to address them through proper dialogue with our local, state, and federal representatives.