Frederick ‘Fred’ Dakota
BARAGA — Frederick “Fred” Dakota, age 84, of Baraga, passed away at his home on Monday, September 13, 2021.
He was born in Zeba, on June 10, 1937, the son of the late Fred Cote and Rose Dakota.
Fred attended L’Anse area schools. He was a member of Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.
Fred served in the United States Marines for six years and was one of the first M60 machine gunners.
He moved to Chicago for a while, then worked at Pettibone Corp. in Baraga and test drove machines off the line. He had to make a decision between working at Pettibone or the tribe, and he choose to work for the tribe.
Fred became tribal chairman in 1970 and served as tribal council president from 1970-82 and 1990-97. He was a tribal council member in 1968, 1969, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
He started his own casino in Zeba on New Year’s Eve, 1983, with a gaming license he got from the tribe. One year later, he built the Pines Bar and Casino in Baraga. After 16 months, his casino closed and he was hired by Lac Vieux Desert Casino as manager.
Fred is fondly remembered as the “Father of Indian Casino Gaming.” He enjoyed gardening, watching the Green Bay Packers, of which he was a part shareholder, and patrolling “The Rez.”
He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Mickey; grandson, D.J. Dakota; granddaughter, Nikki Rantanen and infant brother Gregory Hovinen.
Fred is survived by his loving family and wife, Doris Dakota of L’Anse; children, Dale Dakota of Baraga, Barb Dakota of Mount Pleasant, Brad (Cherie) Dakota of Baraga, Popcorn (Scott) Mayo of Baraga and Suzie (Terry) Kahkonen of Baraga; 18 grandchildren; 29 great- grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; brother, Freddy Jo (Joanne) Cote of Baraga; sisters, Kathy Lanczy of Baraga, and Doris Herrera of L’Anse and his special friend, Dolly Sapcut of Baraga.
Funeral services for Fred will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, September 17, 2021, at the Reid Funeral Service and Chapel, L’Anse with Pastor Dave Snyder officiating.
The family will greet friends at the funeral home on Friday from 12 p.m. until the time of the funeral service.
Immediately following the funeral service, interment will take place in the Pinery Cemetery with traditional native drumming and Baraga County area veterans, under the direction of the Baraga American Legion Post No. 444 conducting graveside military honors. A luncheon will follow at the Baraga American Legion Post No. 444.
The Reid Funeral Service and Chapel, L’Anse has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements.
Fred’s obituary may also be viewed and condolences sent to the friends and family at reidfuneralservicechapel.com.