In Michigan, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe has announced that it has handed out just over $3 million to local schools and governments as part of the semi-annual distribution of net earnings from slots at its two area casinos.

The federally-recognized tribe revealed that the distribution represents 2% of slot revenues after expenses and payouts from its 800-slot Saganing Eagles Landing Casino in Arenac County and Isabella County’s Soaring Eagle Casino And Resort, which features in excess of 4,700 machines.

The Mount Pleasant-based Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe explained that slightly over $2.195 million of the total has been earmarked for Isabella County, which is the home of its Isabella Indian Reservation, with $1.15 million going to county and local governments and $103 million for area schools while the remaining $807,798 is set for Arenac County and other northern counties with governments garnering $565,458 and schools getting $242,339.

“The Tribal Council takes great pride in being able to award over $3 million to our local schools and governments this autumn,” said Frank Cloutier, Tribal Council Chief for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. “We remain committed to maximizing these dollars by making sure that the impacts can be felt by members in all communities. We are able to help create state-of-the-art learning environments by providing the latest technology in our local schools preparing all youth to become our future leaders.”

With a twice-a-year distribution, Erik Rodriguez, Interim Public Relations Director for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, told the MLive Media Group that the tribe has two deadlines for requests each year and received 381 such appeals in 2016 with 276 of these coming from schools.

“[The Tribal Council] prioritizes them [and then] grants the funds that impact the largest amount of people in those areas to maximize the effect,” said Rodriguez. “The educational needs are always there. We’re happy to supplement some of those shortages.”

As part of its 1993 compact with the state, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe was required to semi-annually distribute 8% of its slot earnings to local communities but Michigan violated this agreement soon after by allowing non-aboriginal casinos to open in Detroit. Rodriguez declared that the current 2% distribution is not legally binding but serves as a good faith gesture.

Rodriguez stated that the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe doled out in excess of $2.12 million to Isabella County via its spring distribution while Arenac County and others received some $757,105.

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