When turning east off Highway #89 just south of the Red Lake Reservation boundary line, the first thing one sees is a giant sculpture on the front lawn of the new Seven Clans Casino facility. It is Migizi (eagle), flying low as if ready to pick a northern pike, talons spread, from the lake waters.
The huge sculpture of a bald eagle is quite impressive, and many believe it may become a tourist attraction in and of itself. Beyond Migizi is a building that might be a longhouse, celebrating the architecture of the Ojibwe Woodlands culture, the new Seven Clans Casino complex.
The Red Lake Seven Clans Casino, Hotel, and Restaurant will open it’s doors for what is known as a “soft opening” on December 23, 2009. The Grand Opening is scheduled for January 21-23, 2010. There will be several special events and promotions for the grand opening, including free performances by Powwow Comedy Jam and Crystal Shawanda.
The new casino complex is designed to draw more people to Seven Clans Red Lake. According to Red Lake Chairman Floyd Jourdain, Jr., the casino will be “another link to the entertainment hub of Bemidji”. Red Lake Treasurer Darrell G. Seki, Sr. said the complex will “provide more than 50 new jobs for Red Lake people”.
It was nearly 14 months ago that the groundbreaking was held for the new casino. The design for the complex is drawn from Red Lake culture. Wood paneling, field stone, and images of a rippled blue lake reflect themes of the area. Woodland floral patterns permeate carpeting throughout, while rooms are named for the seven major clans of Red Lake. An impressive aspect of the hotel is a swimming pool shaped exactly like Upper and Lower Red Lake.
“The hotel has 40 rooms that will rent for between $69 and $109 per night”, said Raymond Brenny, Seven Clans Casinos chief operating officer. There are master suites with balconies, fireplaces, and whirlpool tubs. Half the rooms have fire places, and all rooms have new flat screen high definition (HD) televisions attached to the walls. Contained within the hotel is a gift shop with arts and crafts as well as other items for sale.
The hotel is considered an important part of the project, not only for casino visitors, but also for people who visit the reservation for business and a variety of other reasons. The nearest motel to Red Lake is more than thirty minutes away.
According to Brenny, the hotel area will have an events center that will seat 800 in classroom style and between 350 to 400 banquet style. “The center is very suitable for a variety of events, banquets, and meetings”, said Brenny, “and will also then provide needed meeting space for Tribal workshops or retreats”.
The Warrior’s Restaurant will seat 75 diners, and an outside patio, in fair weather, will seat 25 more. Jourdain said “the restaurant will have a full menu that will include choices such as Red Lake walleye, pasta, salads and steak.”
“This complex was also built as a community building”, said Jourdain, “in designing the facility, we kept in mind kids and families so that people can come in and swim, eat, or stay in the hotel and never have to go near the casino”.
The casino will house 300 machines, four blackjack and two poker tables. Players will be able to catch a bite at “The Take a Break” snack bar in the casino. The Casino will also have corporate office space for Red Lake Gaming Enterprises, Inc.
The visitor parking lot will have room for 375 cars along with an employee parking area that will accommodate 100 cars. The new Casino, of course is expected to attract many more and new visitors than the gaming hall currently housed at the Red Lake Humanities Center.
But the area will become more than just a casino, hotel, event center, and restaurant. The complex includes a new propane plant business to serve the reservation and surrounding area. Near the water tower, (built specifically for the complex) will be a retail center to be built next Spring. There will be a full-service store with groceries, gas station, food, and arts and crafts. Red Lake Foods will have items for sale at the retail center including wild rice, Red Lake walleye, wild berry jams, maple syrup, and birch bark crafts.
The new $21 million Seven Clans Casino, Hotel and Event Center was finished under budget as the Tribe had lots of good contract bids, as the recession meant high competition.
Jourdain said the architect, DSGW of Duluth, solicited input from tribal members in developing the designs. The general contractor is Woodstone Builders, Inc. of the Twin Cities. With the opening of the new facility, the old casino in the Red Lake Humanities Center will close.
Questions regarding the casino project should be directed to Raymond J. Brenny, Chief Operating Officer for Red Lake Gaming at 1-218-679-2111, or 1-800-568-6649.