Frequently Asked Questions About the Mille Lacs Reservation
February 11, 2021
Misinformation and rumors abound on what the existence of the 1855 Mille Lacs Reservation means for Band members and non-Indians who live inside the borders. Please take the opportunity to learn the facts and share them with friends and neighbors at every opportunity.
The Mille Lacs Indian Reservation was established in an 1855 Treaty as the “permanent home” of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. According to the Treaty, the Reservation “embrace[s]” four fractional townships on the south and southwest sides of Mille Lacs Lake (specifically, Isle Harbor, South Harbor and North and South Kathio) as well as three islands in the southern part of the lake. The Band believes this includes the southwest portion of the lake itself.
There is a dispute between the Band and Mille Lacs County regarding the Reservation. The Band asserts the Reservation’s original boundaries remain intact while the County asserts they were disestablished after 1855.
The State of Minnesota recently clarified its position regarding the Reservation. Responding to a lawsuit filed by Mille Lacs County officials, the State said that its “position is that the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation has never been diminished or disestablished.”