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June 19, 1996

For Some American Indians, Casino Profits Are a Good Bet for Improving Health Care

JAMA. 1996;275(23):1783-1785. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530470009003

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LESTER MORRIS racks up the mileage on his pickup truck—a vehicle with license plates bearing the moniker REZROD—as he goes about his business on the reservation of the Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe Indians in rural Minnesota, roughly 100 miles north of the twin cities, Minneapolis and St Paul.

An unprecedented level of reservation business has kept Morris and other band members and tribal employees busy during the past few years. In addition to opening a resplendent new health clinic and 2 new and well-equipped tribal schools where computers and academic subjects are combined with Ojibwe cultural and language studies, the Mille Lacs band is building much-needed housing for band members and launching a host of other projects aimed at improving reservation life.

For Morris, an Ojibwe who grew up away from the reservation, the past few years have meant an exciting and challenging job as the band's assistant commissioner