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(Battle Creek, Mich.) — The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP), owners of FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Mich., announced today that it has established its second consecutive new annual record, with payments of over $22.5 million to the State of Michigan and the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board.  The payment to the State of Michigan totals more than $17.1 million, an increase of 3.3 percent over the 2016 payment, while the payment to the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board (FLRSB) of over $5.4 million is 2.6 percent higher than one year ago.  This brings the total monies NHBP has contributed to the State of Michigan to over $107 million and $37.6 million to the FLRSB and creates a combined contribution which exceeds $144.7 million since FireKeepers Casino Hotel opened in Aug. 2009.

Two checks were presented from the NHBP today; the first for $17,127,304 presented to David Nyberg, Deputy Legal Counsel & Tribal Liaison, State of Michigan.  The second check for $5,406,826 was presented to FLRSB Chairman Greg Moore of Athens Township. 

The funds distributed are part of a negotiated agreement between the NHBP and the state for 2016 operations at the NHBP’s FireKeepers Casino Hotel, located in Battle Creek, Mich.

 “The commitment of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi to the State of Michigan and our Local Revenue Sharing Board is stronger than ever, with our largest single distribution to date of over $22.5 million dollars,” announced Jamie Stuck, Tribal Council Chairman of the NHBP. “We take great pride in a successful and growing partnership with the local community and the state and look to the future with optimism and enthusiasm as we strive to revitalize the local community, create quality jobs, and assist a multitude of charitable organizations and sponsor events. Our newest positive impact on the community will be the mid-April Grand Opening of The Fire Hub restaurant in downtown Battle Creek, which combines an exciting restaurant and bakery concept with an adjacent dignified Food Pantry, operating as an agency of the Food Bank of South Central Michigan. We also sponsor major events such as the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan Speedway and the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship, a Symetra Tour, Road to the LPGA golf tournament at Battle Creek Country Club.”

In addition to the distribution of $22.5 million, the NHBP’s FireKeepers Casino Hotel has contributed significantly to Michigan’s economy in 2015. Just this past December, FireKeepers Casino Hotel achieved another major financial milestone of reaching $410 million in cumulative paid labor costs that includes total wages, health insurance, 401(k), and incentives to the 1,700 total team members. 

A 2016 Compact Amendment between NHBP and the State of Michigan provides for a payment of up to $500,000 per year of state revenue sharing payments to a newly created Michigan Native American Heritage Fund. Use of funds deposited in the Michigan Native American Heritage Fund will be managed by a board that can award funds to local governments, 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 NHBP has made a concentrated effort to focus FireKeepers Casino Hotel on supporting local businesses and suppliers and extend contributions to the local economy beyond the FLRSB and the distribution to the state. The Tribe’s commitment to local spending has resulted in awarding contracts in excess of $39 million within the state of Michigan in 2016.

•Greater Calhoun County Region  $5.9 million   (Calhoun, Jackson, Branch)

•West Michigan                              $9.1 million   (Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Grand Traverse, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, Van Buren)

•Lansing Area                            $12.5 million    (Ingham, Eaton, Clinton)

•Metro Detroit                             $2.6 million     (Wayne)

•Other                                         $8.9 million     (Chippewa, Genesee, Gratiot, Ionia, Livingston, Macomb, Manistee, Marquette, Mecosta, Midland, Monroe, Newaygo, Oakland, Saginaw, St. Clair, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, Wexford)

The check presented to the FLRSB is the seventh distribution since the first distribution in Feb. 2010, when the NHBP presented a check to the FLRSB for nearly $2 million. 2017 marks the fourth consecutive year where annual payments have exceeded $5 million. The $37,556,912 funds distributed to date have benefited the following groups:

• Harper Creek Community Schools

• Calhoun County Road Commission

• Emmett Township

• Calhoun County

• Calhoun Intermediate School District

• Kellogg Community College

• Willard Library

• Athens Township

• Marshall Township

• City of Marshall

• City of Battle Creek

• Athens Area Schools

• Village of Athens

• Battle Creek Public Schools

• Marshall Public Schools

• Lakeview School District

• Pennfield Schools