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Reader's view: Learn more about Fond-du-Luth’s origin

Why is the city of Duluth filing lawsuits against the Fond du Lac Band?

As I have come to understand the history, starting in 1986, the band paid the city a share of gross revenue from its downtown Duluth casino as “rent money” on a building the city does not own. The land under what was the Sears department store was placed into federal tribal trust by the federal Department of Interior under the jurisdiction of the Fond du Lac Band, a sovereign government. The band bought the Sears building in 1985 and was the sole financial investor in creating the Fond-du-Luth Casino.

High-stakes gambling was illegal in Minnesota but legal on federal tribal trust land. The city needed the band. Let that soak in.

The city received $6 million per year and up to $80 million from the casino. Was that money spent on street repairs?

In 2009, because of the illegality of the agreement of 1994, the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act declared the agreement illegal and notified the band to shut down or cease payments to the city.

The band offered the city compensation for police, fire protection and street repairs. City officials refused to negotiate.

The city of Duluth needs to build bridges, not barriers, with the band.

Read how it started between the city and the band. Public court records and newspaper archives are great sources.

Sharon Shuck