This blog has been a supporting voice for Native American treaty rights and is pleased to distribute this statement:
Tribe Responds to Reporting of Treaty Rights
Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe Tribe Reacts to Treaty Media Coverage
LAC DU FLAMBEAU, WI–March 26, 2013—The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians responds to recent media coverage regarding the Ojibwe tribe's declaration of its spring walleye harvest. Several weeks ago, Wisconsin's Ojibwe tribes announced its spring harvest causing disparaging media coverage to influence a wide variety of negative responses including a State Republican lawmaker proposing to introduce a bill that will block the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe from receiving a $250,000 grant.
“The State of Wisconsin has a longstanding trust and treaty responsibility to accept the Wisconsin Ojibwe Tribes' declaration of its natural resource harvests,” said Lac du Flambeau Tribal Chairman Tom Maulson. “The response on behalf of the media and some of the State's officials indicates it isn’t fully accepting of its agreement with Wisconsin’s Ojibwe tribes. We compromised when the treaties were signed in the 1800's to continue a way of life that our ancestors fought and died for. To read such disparaging responses on behalf of some of the State's officials is extremely harmful to our longstanding partnership.”
Wisconsin's Ojibwe tribes were the center of a highly publicized treaty rights controversy that made national headlines in the late 1980's and early 1990's when several tribal members began fishing off their reservations. Thousands of Wisconsin citizens staged protests and demonstrated frustration to prevent Ojibwe tribes from harvesting off the reservation causing great turmoil for local communities. Ultimately, the tribes took their case to court and reserved their right to hunt and fish off the reservation putting dissidence to rest.
Recently, the State’s largest distributed newspapers have been highlighting the Ojibwe tribes’ announcement of its anticipated spring harvest of walleye suggesting that the announcement is influencing the State to respond. A significant response by the State’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to limit the daily take on walleye for non-Indians is influencing wide public distress with the Ojibwe tribes’ announcement. In addition to the DNR’s response, a State Republican recently announced plans to introduce a bill that would block the Lac du Flambeau tribe from receiving a state funded $250,000 grant that would contribute to cultural preservation on the reservation.
“With the State’s largest newspapers presenting such one-sided and damaging information, it forces our community to defend ourselves and our rights once again,” said Lac du Flambeau Tribal Member Darren Thompson. “With the State responding as it has, it only demonstrates the fact that when American Indian tribes exercise their sovereignty they will be dealt with – harshly. We are dealing with damage control. When you have state officials who are in positions of influence voicing their disappointment in our rights, it puts our small community in the spotlight to deal with engendered dislike for our people. The fact that this is making headlines again with our State’s officials making comments influences people who may not understand – or care about – this issue at all to dislike us as a people.”
The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa are a federally recognized American Indian tribe with an Indian reservation lying mostly in the Town of Lac du Flambeau in south-western Vilas County, and in the Town of Sherman in south-eastern Iron County in the U.S. state of Wisconsin.