More hunting and fishing treaty claims in northern Minnesota?

Minnesota Public Radio reported this morning that the Leech Lake
and White Earth Ojibwe Indian bands may look to “reassert hunting
and fishing rights they say are guaranteed by 19th century
treaties.”

According to the story, the northern Minnesota Ojibwe bands say
they plan to ignore state law and fish on the shore of Lake Bemidji
on the day before the May 15 walleye opener.

The story is disheartening on two fronts. First, that Minnesota
could find itself in another treaty rights controversy. The last
one, involving two Minnesota and eight Wisconsin bands of Ojibwe in
the 1837 Treaty territory, took almost 10 years and countless
millions to resolve. Per recent media reports about Ojibwe netting
on Lake Mille Lacs the past few weeks, there are still hard
feelings and controversy surrounding that situation. Perhaps this
story is most disappointing in the way the Leech and White Earjh
bands say they will handle it: by blatantly fishing — some might
say poaching — before walleyes become a legal game fish on inland
waters in spring 2010.

Again, according to MPR, tribal attorneys plan to send a letter
to Gov. Tim Pawlenty laying out their claim. “Peter Erlinder, a law
professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, has laid
out the case for the northern Ojibwe bands in a paper will be sent
to the governor and other state officials as early as this week.”
Outdoor News has a copy of the paper, which readers can
access here.

Watch next week’s print version of Outdoor News for
complete coverage of this developing story.

Categories: Rob Drieslein

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