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CARLTON – A first of its kind study revealed the Fond du Lac Reservation is an economic engine in Carlton county, pouring $305 million into the local economy each year."There's an old saying a rising tide lifts all boats, I think that the economic health of the band is proving that," Fond du Lac Chairperson Karen Diver said. “Not only are we benefitting our own community but we're taking the surrounding area along with us."
The casinos, hotel and golf course have an economic impact of almost $120 million tourist dollars annually.
"It was a little bit surprising even to us," said Diver.
But the casinos aren't the only economic stimulators.
Their biggest revenue generators are community, government, health, housing and education services which have a spin off impact of $123 million a year.
"Because they do education and different services they have to buy resources locally,” said UMD Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
Fond du Lac’s non-corporate construction, logging, gas and grocery businesses have spill over of another $61 million into the broader region.
"We don't run businesses just for the sake of running businesses,” said Diver. “We run businesses so we can raise money to serve the people in our community."
The reservation provides more than 3,600 jobs with benefits packages even during the recession.
"We're really the second largest employer after the Essentia Health system,” said Diver.
"They have a lot of people that work in their operations that live in this area and spend money in the area so that's one big impact that a lot of people don't realize," said Skurla.
Tribe officials say they will continue to grow opportunities not just for tribal members but locals in the surrounding area.