About a dozen individuals have become ill with E. coli food poisoning on the Fond Du Lac Reservation in Minnesota, one of six Chippewa Indian Reservations in the state of Minnesota organized in 1934. Although located in Carlton and Saint Louis Counties, primarily, as a unique territorial entity the State of Minnesota’s Department of Health (MDH) is taking the lead in the investigation and has confirmed a handful of E-coli cases linked to consumption of food on the reservation. According to the MDH, between 6 and 12 victims have presented with symptoms in the last seven days. Preliminary testing confirm E. coli, but additional testing to determine the serotype is pending with the State lab.
Both Chippewa leaders and the MDH have admitted that the source remains in question, and that surveys are being given to the victims in an effort to identify the source.
The Chairwoman of the Chippewa Fond Du Lac tribe, Karen Diver, said “we know that it wasn’t tied to any of our enterprises, but we have had many major public events. We had an elder picnic, we had our veterans pow-wow; and there was a combination of private vendors, caterers as well as band food service involved.” The two enterprises operated by the Fond Du Lac tribal authority are the Fond Du Luth Casino in Duluth and the Black Bear Casino.
In 2007 there were just over 4000 members residing on the Fond Du Lac reservation.