A Second Amendment was made in 2017 to the Tribal-State Gaming Compact between NHBP and the state of Michigan that allows for the creation of a Native American Heritage Fund (NAHF).
The amendment allows for a portion of each year’s state revenue sharing payment to be deposited into the NAHF. Beginning with the 2016 fiscal period, $500,000 was deposited into the NAHF. For each fiscal period moving forward, funds will be deposited into the NAHF to replace the amount used during the previous fiscal period and thus restore the balance of $500,000.
The fund’s goal is to promote positive relationships between public and private kindergarten through 12th grade schools, colleges, universities, local governments and Michigan’s federally recognized Native American Tribes.
The purpose of the NAHF is 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.
Distribution of funds will be determined by the NAHF Board which will consist of two members appointed by the governor of Michigan, two members appointed by the NHBP Tribal Council and the Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, or his or her designee.
To represent the state, Governor Rick Snyder appointed Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Vice Chair Kimberly Vargo and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Citizen Elizabeth Kinnart. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights Tribal Liaison and Native American Specialist Melissa Kiesewetter has been named to represent the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. NHBP has appointed Tribal Chairperson Jamie Stuck and Vice Chairperson Dorie Rios.