~A Brief History of the Lac Vieux Desert Tribe~
In recent history, LVD was recognized by most as members of the Keweenaw Bay Band and resided in the Watersmeet area. In the decade of 1960, members of LVD began the effort to reorganize as a separate and distinct Band. The 70's brought 15 units of low-income housing to the north end of the Village of Watersmeet and another 20 units in the early 80's in which many members of the Band resided.
In 1988, after years of persistence, President Reagan signed the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Act that recognized LVD as a separate and distinct Tribe. In the early 90's LVD initiated a planning process to guide and coordinate development efforts of the Band. In the initial year of the planning process there was an unemployment rate of 40%; 21 members employed, and land holdings of 74 acres of which 47 acres are federal trust lands. Ten years later, these numbers have changed appreciably with a current unemployment rate at 11%, 147 members employed and land holdings of 1269 acres of which 296 acres are federal trust lands.
The Band's first major project since Federal Recognition was development of a multi-purpose facility for the community completed in 1992. Just after recognition and by the mid 90's LVD was awarded 10 additional housing units, started Day Care Services, initiated a fish hatchery operation and became active in purchasing lands for Tribal expansion. Around the mid 90's LVD had developed a Health Clinic, reconstructed roads, built water and wastewater systems, established an Environmental Office, and started a construction trades program.
The late 90's found LVD very active in operating a resort facility including a 76 room motel, 9 hole golf course, gaming facility, restaurant, and a host of small businesses. Also during that time, LVD developed a limited care facility, mental health, pharmaceutical, dental, and optometry services, expanded day care and child care services, opened a convenience store, created a Tribal Water and Wastewater Utility managing a complete public water system and wastewater lagoon system, constructed a new law enforcement facility, donated significant funds to outside communities to assist in their development efforts, and started constructing new homes for Tribal members and their families totaling 30 new homes as of this writing.
Today, LVD is adding rooms to it's motel, developing a convention center, strengthening and protecting the Band's cultural resources, and continuing to develop strategies to allow for continued growth. Immediate plans include, 4 additional houses, expanding utility infrastructure to an undeveloped 35 acre housing site, develop plans for a Learning Resource Center/Voc. Tech type school, create a revolving loan for business start-ups/expansions, develop a grocery/mini mall, fun park and low budget overnight accommodations, golf course expansion, expand the historic trail effort, develop a warehouse for building materials, and construct apartment buildings.