When Bryan Newland was 16, he got a job as a dishwasher at his tribe’s casino restaurant. In college, he carried golf bags for patrons at the casino course. Now the chairman of Bay Mills Indian Community, Newland was forced to announce on Wednesday that the tribal government could no longer pay the 400 people employed at Bay Mills casinos, golf courses, and other tribal businesses and departments closed due to COVID-19.
“I understand that many of you are angry, frustrated and scared,” Newland (Ojibwe) told tribal members in a Facebook video address on Wednesday. “You’re not alone in those feelings. The Small Business Administration has abandoned us, and it is failing Indian Country right now.”