Neighborly cheer is one of the best features of the holidays, and the Gun Lake Tribe and Gun Lake Casino are putting that into action with a large donation to friends in Walpole Island, Canada.
The Gun Lake Tribe has shipped a trailer packed with donated goods to the Walpole Island Tribal Nation in Ontario. Thanks to the generosity of its members and patrons, as well as the success of its casino and resort, Gun Lake is able to bless the tribe located in Wallaceburg, ON.
Gifts for the Walpole Island Nation were donated by customers at Gun Lake Casino in the last several weeks. Combined with donations from the business arm of the tribe, as well as members, the total gift is “over $95,000 worth of donated goods,” according to a press statement.
“We sincerely thank all our guests and the tribal community here in West Michigan for the overwhelming response to this year’s stuff the trailer donation drive,” said Gun Lake Casino Chief Executive Officer Sal Semola.
“This yearly occasion holds significance as it provides the Gun Lake Tribe with an opportunity to support fellow tribal nations facing economic challenges in assisting their citizens.”
Donations help Walpole Island Nation in challenging times
Donated items include essentials such as coats, boots, hats, gloves, clothing, non-perishable food and household items. In addition, Walpole Island tribal members will receive toys for children to celebrate the holiday season.
Walpole Island Nation has faced economic challenges in recent times. According to a 2019 Canadian survey, there were just under 1,700 people living in the community at that time. The nation’s website claims more than half live in poverty. The site is located at the mouth of the St. Clair River on Lake St. Clair, adjacent to Michigan and Ontario.
Tribal lands have long history
The Ojibwe and Odawa nations settled that region in the 16th century, and have had a presence ever since. It’s famous as the resting place of famed tribal leader Tecumseh. But practically since it was designated as an unceded territory by the Canadian government in the late 19th century, the Walpole Island Tribal lands have faced difficulties.
In November, construction began on a warming shelter that will provide protection for tribal members without a home. Earlier this year, a restaurant closed on the nation’s lands, leaving 18 people unemployed.
Gun Lake Tribe, headquartered in Shelbyville, has had a standing relationship with Walpole Island Tribal Nation. This marks at least the third year that donations have been sent to their friends across the border in Canada.