Minnesota DNR approaches Native fishermen
“I went out to gather food for my family and tribal elders and left empty-handed,” Jim Northrup III
Published August 28, 2015
NISSWA, MINNESOTA— Some ten members of various Chippewa Bands in Minnesota were given citations by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for attempting to exercise their treaty rights to gather wild rice and fish in the Hole-in-the Day Lake area of the northern portion of the state.
The citations came one day after about 100 Chippewa protesters showed up on Thursday, August 27, with threats of arrest because the Minnesota DNR is taking a more stringent approach to enforcing a state ordinance forbidding gathering wild rice and fishing with fishing nets.
The Chippewa bands collectively feel they have the right to gather their food citing an 1855 treaty.
Fish Warrior Jim Northrup III
Jim Northrup, III, a tribal citizen of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, was of the tribal members given a citation on Friday.
“I went out to gather food for my family and tribal elders and left empty-handed,” Jim Northrup III, 48, told Native News Online on Friday afternoon. “I simply wanted to exercise my treaty right provided by a 1855 treaty that allows for tribal member to gather food to sustain themselves.
In all there were about 100 tribal citizens out to gather wild rice. Not all were in canoes on the lake.
The DNR confiscated the net used by the men in the Northrup was in, but the net was given back after about an hour, according to Northrup.
“Traditionally, we were able gather our food. When we went for ricing, we came home with rice. When we went for berries, we came home with berries. When we went to collect maple sap for syrup, we came home with maple sap,” Northrup reflected on the old ways before the restrictions are now being forced upon the Ojibwe people in Minnesota.
Those given citations will be receiving a notice when to appear in a Minnesota district court with ten days.
Northrup told Native News Online he plans to see an attorney about taking his case to federal court because he feels the state of Minnesota is really dealing with a federal matter – a treaty signed between Chippewa tribes and the United States government.