Seven Clans of Otoe-Missouria and Seven Clans of Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
reach friendly accord in dual name usage for Tribal Enterprises.
It was quite by accident the Seven Clans of Otoe-Missouria and the Seven Clans of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians discovered that they each had chosen to use the Seven Clans name for Tribal Business endeavors. Even more coincidental is the fact that each had chosen to honor their cultural heritage by using the name in their gaming enterprises.
Marv Hanson, Chief Operating Officer of the Red Lake Gaming Enterprises, had a vision for the three casinos under his leadership, which are owned and operated by the Red Lake Band of Chippewas. Hanson and Dan King, Tribal Treasurer, were the conceptual architects for a total facelift of all three of the Tribe's gaming businesses, which would begin with a complete remodel of their flagship property located in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and the new construction of a 151 room all-suites hotel and indoor waterpark, due open June 1, 2000.
The Red Lake Tribal Council embraced the bold vision and soon the Tribe was developing plans for the complex. The Tribe wanted to offer more than what one typically finds in an Indian Casino environment.
The plan was to bring something totally unique for the entire family with a 40,000 square foot Indoor Waterpark, and to honor the history and culture of the Tribe's ancestral families through the design and decor of the all three facilities. This led to the desire to revitalize the use of the Seven Clans name.
The Enterprise would bear the name Seven Clans, as would all three casinos of the enterprise, distinguished by their respective locations: Thief River Falls, Warroad and Red Lake.
Trademark research was completed and logos were developed.
It was a hat bearing the new Seven Clans logo worn by Tribal Council member Harlan Beaulieu (of the Red Lake Band) that brought the parallel stories to the forefront.
Mr. Beaulieu ran into a friend who is a member of the Seven Clans of Otoe-Missouria Tribe who noticed the hat and commented that Seven Clans was the name of his Tribe's Bingo Hall in Red Rock, Oklahoma. Mr. Beaulieu brought the information back to Council, which was now face to face with a potentially bad situation. A little research revealed that the Otoe-Missouria had been using the name since May 27th, 2000, at their Seven Clans Casino, but did not have trademark rights (explaining why nothing showed up in the trademark searches). Nonetheless, some action would be inevitable and in the spirit of the entire project, the Red Lake Band decided to address the unusual situation head-on with the Otoe-Missouria Tribe the old fashioned Indian way: Tribe to Tribe - no attorneys - no courts.
Dawn Briner, Secretary of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, remembers when the Red Lake members first approached the Otoe-Missouria. She was deeply moved by the great gesture extended to her Tribe and the mutual respect displayed between the two Tribes. Ms. Briner commented, "This event makes us (the two Tribes) realize the ties we have to one another and the shared ideologies that exist as a People, not just as Tribal Nations." It was Ms. Briner who first pointed out the remarkable resemblance between the symbolism used by each tribe to denote the clans; the Bear and the Eagle are shared by both Nations.
On Saturday, August 26, 2000, the Tribal leaders came together in a traditional feast and drum ceremony to celebrate the mutual accord arrived at regarding the dual name usuage rights and to memorialize the Tribal resolutions enacted by each Council with regard to the pact. Marv Hanson reflected, "It was the result of each Tribe's pursuit of twenty-first century commerce that helped to bring a heightened awareness of the cultural roots from which we came." Dan King added, "The realization that our traditional ways of problem solving work, even in this high technology information age, should never be forgotten by our People."
As if destiny were meant to bring the two Tribes closer, members of both Nations, while traveling to the ceremony together witnessed the presence of both the bear and the eagle in the wild.
Surely, in part at least, that realization of the traditional ways is responsible for the very atypical process (by year 2000 business standards) that led to a truly amicable resolution of what could have been a very bitter legal and business battle.