History of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
In the mid-1700s, the ancestors of today's Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe settled near Lake Mille Lacs in what is now Central Minnesota and established a way of life that the Band continues to preserve. The Ojibwe hunted, fished, gathered wild rice, and taught their children a profound respect for nature. They endured hardship and poverty in the face of pressures from the non-Indian culture, but they worked hard and dreamed of a better future.
In 1988, the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act helped those dreams become a reality. The Mille Lacs Band opened Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley in 1991 and 1992, creating thousands of jobs and generating revenues that benefit the Band, its nearly 3,600 members, and its non-Indian neighbors.
Casino revenues have helped the Mille Lacs Band build and improve schools, health care facilities, community centers, a water treatment facility, roads, ceremonial buildings and more. Millions of dollars have also been donated to food shelves, schools, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, and other organizations that serve the entire community. In addition, the casinos have attracted new residents to the area and dramatically boosted tourism, which has resulted in dozens of new businesses across the region.
Today, Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley are nationally recognized as leading gaming and entertainment destination resorts, with comfortable hotels, first-class restaurants, and headline entertainment acts. And the Mille Lacs Band has become a model for Indian tribes across the country, exemplifying diversified economic development and providing meaningful services and benefits to its members and neighbors.