Fighting for wild rice rights in Minnesota
Members of Minnesota’s Chippewa tribes will begin harvesting wild rice this week, off their reservations and without a state license, in an effort to gain affirmation of hunting, fishing and gathering rights under an 1855 treaty with the federal government.
Moreover, some of the activists are looking for a court decision that recognizes a tribal regulatory authority under the treaty to protect the environment — water quality, wild rice, wild game and fish — including authority over major projects with potential environmental impacts, such as pipelines, powerlines and mines.
Members of the 1855 Treaty Authority say they want an agreement with the state of Minnesota that recognizes their rights to hunt, fish and gather without restraint by state law inside the 1855 treaty area that runs from about 40 miles west of Duluth to the North Dakota border, and from near the Ontario border to near Brainerd. This includes Detroit Lakes and Becker County.