Fish in the Lakes, Wild Rice, and Game in Abundance: Testimony on Behalf of Mille Lacs Ojibwe Hunting and Fishing Rights

Fish in the Lakes, Wild Rice, and Game in Abundance: Testimony on Behalf of Mille Lacs Ojibwe Hunting and Fishing Rights

Fish in the Lakes, Wild Rice, and Game in Abundance: Testimony on Behalf of Mille Lacs Ojibwe Hunting and Fishing Rights

Fish in the Lakes, Wild Rice, and Game in Abundance: Testimony on Behalf of Mille Lacs Ojibwe Hunting and Fishing Rights

Synopsis

In 1990 the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe filed a lawsuit against the State of Minnesota for interfering with the hunting, fishing, and gathering rights that had been guaranteed to them in an 1837 treaty with the U.S. Presented here is the testimony presented by six scholars whose research eventually awarded these rights to the Mille Lacs in a 1999 Supreme Court case.

Excerpt

The six reports collected in this volume have their origin in a lawsuit filed by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians. the Band sued the State of Minnesota to stop it from interfering with hunting, fishing and gathering rights that were guaranteed in an 1837 Treaty between Ojibwe Bands and the United States. in that treaty, the Ojibwe ceded nearly 14 million acres to the United States. Article 5 of the treaty contains this promise:

The privilege of hunting, fishing, and gathering the wild rice, upon the lands, the rivers and the lakes included in the territory ceded, is guarantied to the Indians, during the pleasure of the President of the United States.

This guarantee was essential to the Ojibwe who sold their lands to the United States 160 years ago, and it remains critical to our cultural survival and well-being as we approach the 21st century.

In 1983, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that these rights had never been revoked. the case was brought by the Lac Courte Oreilles Band, which is located in Wisconsin, against Wisconsin officials. Because of the central cultural importance of hunting, fishing and gathering to Ojibwe people, the decision was of enormous importance to us. Mille Lacs Band members recall the day when State officials made arrests and issued citations to stop traditional net fishing activities in Mille Lacs Lake as the day "the treaty was closed," and many have been unable to pursue the seasonal round of hunting and gathering because of the enforcement of State laws that elevate "sport" above all other values. the Lac Courte Oreilles decision held the promise of reviving traditions that had been suppressed by State intolerance, restoring pride in our culture, and providing a livelihood for our people.

Our hopes were soon dashed in Minnesota. the State of Minnesota would not recognize the Lac Courte Oreilles decision because the Seventh Circuit does not have jurisdic-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.