Seven Clans Casino Dealer Died in Jail after Drug Bust, Family Want Justice

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A 42-year-old casino dealer at the Seven Clans Casino (pictured) in Thief River, Minnesota, died last month while in custody at the local Red Lake Detention Center after a major drug bust at the casino.

The casino’s operators, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, cooperated with federal law enforcement on the drug sting in early June. However, details of the raid were not released for several weeks.

Local media then reported that Dwan White Owl, a card game dealer at the casino, was detained during the early morning bust.

White Owl was a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation of North Dakota. The casino is on the Red Lake Reservation land, so she and her daughter, Danitra Warpaint, were transferred to the tribe’s Red Lake Detention Center.

There, she passed away three days later. Her family claims that by refusing to help with her medical issues, authorities were culpable in her death.

“(They) gave my sister her death sentence because he told her she is going to have to go back to jail,” said White Owl’s sister, Shelly Belgarde.

Pleas for Help Ignored

White Owl was reportedly high on fentanyl, a synthetic opiate, at the time of her arrest, according to her family.

Once at the jail, Warpaint reported that her mother was experiencing severe health issues, including cold sweats, migraines, chest and stomach pains, and vomiting. Despite her pleas for medical assistance, the jail staff allegedly did not provide the necessary help.

“I was asking for help all day and night,” Warpaint since told media, as reported by Native News Online.  

It wasn’t until midnight on June 11 that White Owl was taken to the Red Lake Hospital. However, she was discharged and returned to the jail within two hours.

Upon returning to the jail, White Owl’s condition worsened. Despite repeated pleas for medical help, the jail staff allegedly told them to wait until the nurse arrived in the morning. However, when the nurse arrived, she did not check on White Owl.

On June 12, at 11:15 a.m., the jail staff found White Owl unconscious and began administering CPR. Their efforts were unsuccessful, and White Owl was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The cause of her death has not been officially released. White Owl’s family, however, say that either an overdose or withdrawal from opiates was the culprit. Those are conditions which are very much potentially treatable.

“Not once did I think she was going to die because of her addiction. I thought she was going to get what she was going to need to detox and be supported, even if she was incarcerated,” Belgarde said.

Ongoing Investigation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is aware of the situation surrounding White Owl’s death and is currently investigating the case.

However, they have not provided additional information, as the investigation is ongoing.

“There is no public information available, and we cannot comment any further at this time,” said a spokesperson for the Minneapolis FBI field office.

White Owl’s family is frustrated at the lack of communication from law enforcement. “It’s been a week, and no one has informed our family of any details,” said Shelly Belgarde, White Owl’s sister.

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