Seasons of Change: Labor, Treaty Rights, and Ojibwe Nationhood

Seasons of Change: Labor, Treaty Rights, and Ojibwe Nationhood

Seasons of Change: Labor, Treaty Rights, and Ojibwe Nationhood

Seasons of Change: Labor, Treaty Rights, and Ojibwe Nationhood

Excerpt

In 1959, the Bad River Tribal Council issued a declaration of war against the Wisconsin Department of Conservation to protest state officials’ arrest of Ojibwe hunters and fishers for exercising their treaty rights. The declaration was in part a response to the termination policy; the aims of federal policy-makers shifted from allowing Ojibwe self-determination to a renewed focus on detribalization and the dismissal of tribal sovereignty. As part of this policy, the federal government transferred its jurisdiction over tribes to states. State violation of treaty rights, however, was not new to Ojibwes. Since the turn of the century, the governments of Minnesota and Wisconsin had seized control over Ojibwe lands and resources, while the federal government looked on. Using contemporary rhetoric from the Cold War to underscore its position, the council proclaimed:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to protect
the rights and the liberties of certain peoples of this great nation from
encroachment by other peoples, it is the duty of the Tribal Council, the
governing body of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chip
pewa Indians of Wisconsin, to take measures that will protect the mem
bers of said Band from unjust arrest by State Conservation officials.

IT IS HEREBY DECLARED, that a state of cold war exists between the
Bad River Band of Chippewa Indians and the officials of the Wisconsin
Department of Conservation, and that such state will exist until such
time as the State of Wisconsin shall recognize Federal treaties and stat
utes affording immunity to the members of this Band from State control
over hunting and fishing within the boundaries of this reservation.

During this period, state conservation officials shall be denied ac
cess to all tribal and restricted lands within the boundaries of this
reservation.

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