Thanks to the massive profits generated by their luxury casino and resort operation, the 480 members of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Tribe in Minnesota live a comfortable life of luxury and ease.
“The payouts are the windfall from lucrative casinos and resorts that the tribe runs on its reservation in Scott County -- about 45 minutes southwest of Minneapolis-St Paul,” the Daily Mail reports.
Each member of the tribe receives about $84,000 per month ($1.08 million per year), according to recent court documents. Based on these figures, that would make this the wealthiest tribe in U.S. history.
“We have 99.2 percent unemployment,” Stanley R. Crooks told the New York Times in a rare interview. “It’s entirely voluntary.”
And although tribe members keep relatively modest homes, it is reported that most of them own luxury cars, take up expensive hobbies (such as big game hunting or horse breeding), and send their children to private schools.
“Tribal members usually have multiple homes and have been known to take vacation for months at a time,” the Daily reports.
However, not too long ago most tribe members lived in "a motley collection of beat-up trailer homes, melting snow for bath water when wells froze over because they lacked indoor plumbing," the New York Times reports.
The resorts and casinos turned that around.
“The Mystic Lake Casino Hotel is build on a man-made lake. It includes five restaurants, a 600-room hotel, convention center, 2,100 seat showroom, 8,350 seat outdoor amphitheater and a top-notch golf course,” the Daily reports, adding that The Mystic Lake Casino is the fourth-largest Indian casino in the U.S.
“Combined with the tribe's Little Six Casino, revenues reportedly make up the lion's share of Minnesota's $1.4 billion gambling profits,” the report adds, “The tribe has used the money to generous donations to other Indian tribes -- lending money and giving grants. It's always used the money to gain clout in the community.”
Since 1996, the tribe has donated approximately $243 million to charity and lent about $478 million.
But a few of the tribal elders worry that the massive profits raked in from the casinos and resorts will spoil the younger generations and rob them of their understanding of the value of money.
“Why dig a hole when you don’t need to dig it -- when you can pay someone to dig a hole?' tribe secretary and treasurer Keith B Anderson told the New York Times.
“Instead of budgeting a dinner and movie, you can go to dinner and a movie and have dinner again and see another movie, but you can’t see enough movies and dinners to spend all your money,” he adds.
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