Firekeeper’s Casino Hotel has given a record high check to local governments in Calhoun County.

The Battle Creek Enquirer says that on Tuesday, The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi presented checks Tuesday to Calhoun County and the state of Michigan; the Local Revenue Sharing Board got $5.7 million, and Michigan got $18.4 million. The local payment was 1.63 percent higher than last year, while the state payment was just over 2 percent.

The payments are made as part of the deal between the Nottawaseppi band and the state, and since the casino opened in 2009 they’ve given almost $200 million. The casino doesn't need to pay taxes as a tribal corporation, but the terms of the deal say that 2 percent of electronic casino revenue to those governmental entities that surround it.

Since 2016, the deal has also specified that at least some of the money given to the state each year has to go to maintaining a $500,000 fund balance in the Native American Heritage Fund. The fund, created in 2016, is designed to:

...provide resources to improve curricula and educational resources related to Michigan Indian history, as well as to fund initiatives that promote mutual respect and cooperation between local communities and Michigan’s federally recognized Tribes. The funds may also be used to replace or revise mascots and imagery that may be deemed offensive to Native Americans or may convey inaccurate representations of Native American culture and values.

The fund was first used last July, with a $3,700 payment to the City of Battle Creek to remove a stained glass window of the City Seal that was perceived as insensitive to Native Americans. Another project that was partially funded by the NAHF was the removal of the Fountain of the Pioneers in Kalamazoo's Bronson Park.

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