Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Pawlenty discusses confiscated boat case with Red Lake leader

Boat owner opts not to appear in tribal

By Joe Albert Staff Writer

St. Paul — Jerry Mueller, a Princeton man whose fishing
equipment was confiscated when he ventured into the tribal waters
of Red Lake in May, elected not to go to tribal court last week,
but controversy surrounding the lake isn’t over.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty spoke with Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd
Jourdain last week, and the group Proper Economic Resource
Management signaled its intent to keep pressing the Red Lake issue,
regardless of Mueller’s decision not to appear in tribal court.

Mueller said his decision was because he couldn’t find an
attorney to represent him in federal court, where his case could
have gone to after tribal court.

“We could not find anyone interested in or willing to take the
case, to (be able to) get it resolved in federal court,” said
Mueller, who was arrested in May while fishing with his son-in-law.
“Without being able to appeal to federal court, I didn’t see a
reason to go up there.”

His court date was Aug. 31.

In an interview with Outdoor News, Pawlenty said he would tell
Jourdain the Band should be more lenient with boaters who
accidentally cross the state/reservation line.

Pawlenty’s spokesman, Brian McClung, said the two talked last

“Our goal is to ensure that all Minnesotans are treated fairly
and properly,” he said. “We want to make sure we have an open line
of communication between the state and the tribe.

“This was part of a longer effort to make sure we are
communicating with one another,” McClung said.

Mueller said “it doesn’t sound like” he’ll get his fishing
equipment back.

Mueller and PERM still are asking the state to provide proof
that the Red Lake Band has jurisdiction over the majority of the
lake. They say a 1926 Supreme Court opinion gives the state
ownership of the entire lake, and want to see proof that decision
has been overturned.

“All we’re asking for them is, if they want to continue to do
business as usual, show us the documentation that shows the 1926
Supreme Court decision has been overturned,” said Doug Meyenburg
Jr., PERM president. “PERM is not going to drop it. We‘re going to
pursue it no matter what.”

PERM has asked state officials to provide documentation, and the
DNR legislative affairs office also asked Attorney General Mike
Hatch’s office for any updated opinions regarding Red Lake

As of last week, PERM hadn’t heard anything, Meyenburg said.

“For the immediate time frame, the ball is in their court – Mr.
Pawlenty, Mr. Hatch, Mr. (Gene) Merriam (DNR commissioner), and Mr.
Jourdain,” he said. “They all need to show us the

“If there’s a missing piece somewhere, they need to come forward
with it,” Meyenburg said.

Said McClung: “There continues to be a difference of opinion
about this issue, and there are still facts and information that
need to be gathered.”

Mueller said he just wants the matter cleared up, so what
happened to him doesn’t happen to someone else.

“I just want it settled so other people don’t have to go through
what I went through,” he said.

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