Fred Dakota, Native American gambling pioneer, dies at 84

Copper Country

FILE- In this June 26, 1997, file photo, Fred Dakota pauses outside Federal Court in Grand Rapids, Mich. Dakota, a former leader of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community whose garage casino in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in 1983 was a milestone for Native American gambling, died Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, at his home in Baraga, Mich., according to Reid Funeral Service. He was 84. (AP Photo/George Gryzenia, File)

BARAGA, Mich. (AP) — Fred Dakota has died at age 84 after creating a milestone for Native American gambling by opening a garage casino in Michigan in the 1980s. A funeral home said Dakota died Monday at his home in Baraga in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Dakota was a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community who opened a casino with a single blackjack table in a garage in 1983. That led to construction of a larger casino, but federal courts shut it down.

By 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court used a California case to ease restrictions on gambling on tribal land. A federal law followed in 1988.

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