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

James M. McClurken COMPILER
Charles E. Cleland
Thomas Lund
John D. Nichols
Helen Tanner
Bruce White
Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 572
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  • Book Info
    Fish in the Lakes, Wild Rice, and Game in Abundance
    Book Description:

    On 13 August 1990 members of 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 United States. In order to interpret the treaty the courts had to consider historical circumstances, the intentions of the parties, and the treaty's implementation. The Mille Lacs Band faced a mammoth challenge. How does one argue the Native side of the case when all historical documentation was written by non- Natives? The Mille Lacs selected six scholars to testify for them. Published here for the first time, Charles Cleland, James McClurken, Helen Tanner, John Nichols, Thomas Lund, and Bruce White discuss the circumstances under which the treaty was written, the personalities involved in the negotiations and the legal rhetoric of the times, as well as analyze related legal conflicts between Natives and non- Natives. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor delivered the 1999 Opinion of the [United States Supreme] Court.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-155-1
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    Marge Anderson

    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...

  4. Primary Testimony Presented on behalf of the Mille Lacs Band in Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians (97-1337)

    • Preliminary Report of the Ethnohistorical Basis of the Hunting, Fishing, and Gathering Rights of the Mille Lacs Chippewa
      (pp. 1-140)
      Charles E. Cleland

      This report was prepared in the context of the dispute which has arisen be tween the Mille Lacs Chippewa and the State of Minnesota concerning the historical basis for Chippewa rights to make use of natural resources from the territory ceded by the Treaty of 1837. My opinion on the cultural and historical questions, which will be of concern to the court in resolving this dispute, was solicited by the Mille Lacs Chippewa. In order to answer a list of specific questions, which are included at the end of this introduction, I have conducted extensive documentary research over a four...

    • The Regional Context of the Removal Order of 1850
      (pp. 141-328)
      Bruce M. White

      On february 6, 1850, President Zachary Taylor issued an executive order addressed to Secretary of Interior Thomas Ewing. The order which is sometimes referred to as the Removal Order of 1850. contained the following wording:¹

      The privileges granted temporarily to the Chippewa Indians of the Mississippi. by the Fifth Article of the Treaty made with them on the 29th of July 1837, “of hunting. fishing and gathering the wild rice. upon the lands. the rivers and lakes included in the territory ceded” by that treaty to the United States; and the right granted to the Chippewa Indians of the Mississippi...

    • The 1837 Treaty of St. Peters Preserving the Rights of the Mille Lacs Ojibwa to Hunt, Fish, and Gather: The Effect of Treaties and Agreements since 1855
      (pp. 329-462)
      James M. McClurken

      Legal counsel for the mille lacs ojibwas of minnesota requested that I pre pare this report discussing the band’s understanding about federal treaties and agreements with them since 1855. The report examines the impact of these documents upon Ojibwas’ hunting, fishing, and gathering rights reserved under the 1837 Treaty of St. Peters, both on and off the Mille Lacs Reservation.

      The method and perspective of this report is ethnohistoricat or historical anthropology. I began to study the nineteenth-and twentieth-century history of the Great Lakes Indians as an undergraduate in 1976 and started my professional research on these tribes in 1978....

  5. Supporting Testimony

    • The Mille Lacs Band and the Treaty of 1855
      (pp. 463-485)
      Helen Tanner

      This Report Concerns The Mille Lacs Band Of Ojibwe Whose Reservation Headquarters is located at Onamia, Mille Lacs County; Minnesota. The Mille Lacs band was represented at negotiations with the federal government for the following treaties: (1) Treaty of Prairie du Chien, August 19, 1825;¹ (2) Treaty of St. Peters, July 29, 1837;² (3) Treaty of La Pointe, October 4,1842;³ (4) Treaty of Fond du Lac, August 2, 1847⁴ (5) Treaty of Washington, February 22, 1855;⁴ and (6) a second Treaty of Washington, March 11, 1863.⁴ The particular focus of the report is the 1855 treaty; the final land cession...

    • The 1837 and 1855 Chippewa Treaties in the Context of Early American Wildlife Law
      (pp. 486-513)
      Thomas Lund

      In 1837 the Mille Lacs band of Chippewa Indians was party to a treaty with the United States which contained the following provisions:

      Article 1. The said Chippewa nation cede to the United States all that tract of country included within the following boundaries: ...

      Article 5. The privilege of hunting and 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.

      In 1855 the Mille Lacs band was party to a treaty with the United...

    • The Translation of Key Phrases in the Treaties of 1837 and 1855
      (pp. 514-524)
      John D. Nichols

      In connection with this litigation, i was asked to Examine the english language texts of the Treaties of 1837 and 1855, especially certain passages dealing with hunting, fishing, and gathering and with the relinquishment of right, title, and interest to certain lands, to determine how key phrases might have been translated into Ojibwe by interpreters at the negotiations and how they would have been understood by the Ojibwes present at those proceedings. The research undertaken involved examination of those texts and the journals of the negotiations, study of early to mid-nineteenth century dictionaries and grammars of Ojibwe, review of my...

  6. Appendix

    • Minnesota, et al., Petitioners v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians et al.; No. 97–1337 Opinion of the Supreme Court
      (pp. 525-546)
      Sandra Day O’Connor
  7. Index
    (pp. 547-572)