KBIC remembers Fred Dakota


L’ANSE, Mich. (WLUC) – The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Flag is held by half staff today – paying tribute to Fred Dakota.

His nephew, Chris Swartz is now president of the tribe.

“I will miss his visits, his leadership style, he often came to visit me at the office of the tribal president and just shared a few thoughts and ideas with me,” Swartz said. “It was an honor to hear Uncle Fred tell me some of his stories.”

Swartz says Dakota was a dedicated tribal leader, as well as a leader for her family. Dakota’s great-granddaughter Kayla Dakota agrees.

“He was a really great guy. Everyone loved to be around him, ”Kayla Dakota said. “Every time he walked into the room he always lit it up, everyone knew who he was and everyone loved talking to him.”

Kayla Dakota says one of her great-grandfather’s best-known accomplishments dates back to the ’80s.

At the time, Dakota opened a casino in his garage on New Years Eve. This made him the first person to open a licensed Native American casino in Michigan.

“He always had to work for what he had, and being in the Indian game was no different,” Swartz said. “One day he was a tribal president, and the next day he was no longer a tribal president. “

However, Swartz says that hasn’t stopped Dakota from taking care of her loved ones.

“He still had people who depended on him, he still had to feed his family,” Swartz said.

In fact, Dakota’s hard-earned legacy will remain in Baraga County for generations.

“A lot of what you see in Baraga, like the pines and the casino, is really cool, to know that this is what my grandfather did,” said Kayla Dakota.

Dakota’s funeral was held Friday afternoon at the Reid Chapel in L’Anse.

After the service, he was buried at Pinery Indian Cemetery with a military consignment for his service in the Marines.

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