On Apirl 20, 2005 the Mille Lacs Messenger published the following letter to the editor.

Tobacco concerns

Does the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe really care about solving its tobacco abuse health problems? They say they're trying to stop, or at least curb, tobacco abuse on their reservation, but then why do they sell tobacco, and at cut rate prices, in their casinos? Studies indicate that when the price of tobacco goes up, the selling of tobacco goes down. That's why there is a Minnesota bill to raise the tax on cigarettes. And studies also indicate that casinos and bars have the highest levels of health destroying second hand smoke exposure. If the Mille Lacs Band really cared about its people's (and other people's) health it would both stop selling tobacco in their casinos as well as ban smoking. Tobacco kills more people than alcohol, murder, suicide, car accidents, AIDs, illicit drugs and fires combined. But making money off of people with addition problems seems to be a big part of the present-day economic policies of the Mille Lacs Band. Consider how the Mille Lacs Band casinos are contributing to the our nation's and state's gambling addition mental health epidemic, which causes a lot of bankruptcies, embezzlements, unpaid bills, lies, suicides, broken families and self destruction. Current estimates list approximately 2.2 million people as pathological gamblers, another 5.3 million as problem gamblers and 15 million people at risk to become problem or pathological gamblers. And 2 percent of gamblers account for 63 percent of all the money legally waged in Minnesota.

The Mille Lacs Band lures people (including some of their own people) into their casinos and then destroys their mental and physical health as well as takes their money from them. It seems to me that the Mille Lacs Band is suffering from a greedy money-loving moral crisis and that it needs to make radical changes in order to get back to the traditional Indian way of high moral integrity.

Thomas Dahlheimer, Wahkon


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