The Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC), known in Ojibwe as Gnoozhekaaning or Place of the Pike, is an Indian reservation forming the land base of one of the many Sault Ste. Marie bands of Chippewa Indians. (Not to be confused with the "Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians" located in Sault Ste. Marie, MI). The largest section of the reservation is located in Chippewa County, Michigan, approximately 15 miles (25 km) west-southwest of Sault Ste. Marie, in Bay Mills Township and Superior Township. A smaller section lies southeast of Sault Ste. Marie in western Sugar Island Township.
With the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934, the Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC) was one of the four original reservations established in Michigan. In 1937, land was purchased for Bay Mills and the BMIC was organized with the adoption of their Constitution and Charter on November 27, 1937 in accordance with the IRA. These lands, along with the original Bay Mills Mission and a small area on Sugar Island, comprise the majority of the current reservation land holdings in Chippewa County.
The area within the reservation boundaries is in U.S. trust status and is divided into two separate areas. As of the 2000 census the majority of the land base, 3.761 square miles (9.74 km2), lies northwest of Brimley, Michigan, in the eastern parts of Bay Mills Township and Superior Township, while the remainder, 1.032 square miles (2.674 km² or 660.67 acres), lies on Sugar Island in the St. Marys River. Its total land area at that time was 4.793 square miles (12.41 km2) on which a population of 812 persons resided. The Tribe has also obtained additional land in the last few years, increasing the land base to approximately 3,494 acres (5.46 sq mi; 14.14 km²), of which 3,109 acres (4.86 sq mi; 12.58 km²) are in trust.
The BMIC consists of approximately 1,309 registered members. It is governed by the General Tribal Council, which consists of all voting-age members of the tribe. Daily decisions are made by the Executive Council, which consists of five elected officials (president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, councilman).
Bay Mills Community College is an accreditedtribal college operated by the community.
The tribe also operates the Bay Mills Resort & Casino.
Since the mid-1990s, the tribe has been working in concert with casino syndicatorMichael J. Malik, Sr. and Detroit businesswoman Marian Ilitch. Originally Malik and partners had proposed the tribe, in partnership with Harrah's, pursue a casino in the area of Downtown Detroit referred to as Foxtown. Then Michigan voters narrowly approved a ballot measure in 1996 permitting three larger commercial casinos in Detroit. For almost a decade the partners have been working together pursuing land claims in the Hay Lake/Charlotte Beach area on the eastern shores of Michigan's northern peninsula that would be traded in settlement agreements for more lucrative casino sites in Port Huron or elsewhere. The voters of Port Huron approved of the Bay Mills casino in 2001. While the agreements were signed by the Governor of Michigan and approved by the legislature, they have stalled in Congress -- Representative Candice Miller (MI-10th) has introduced HR. 831 and Michigan SenatorDebbie Stabenow had previously introduced S.2986