Red Lake Band's response to MN DNR announcement of bear hunting at the NW Angle
February 25, 2022
The following is a letter from Red Lake Band of Chippwa Indians, Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr., to Sarah Strommen, Commissioner of Minnesota Natural Resources.
February 23. 2022
Commissioner of Natural Resources
500 Lafavette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155
Dear Commissioner Strommen:
I am writing on behalf of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians in response to the recent announcement by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of a bear hunting season at the Northwest Angle, to make clear the objections of the Red Lake Band to such a hunt. As you are likely aware, approximately 80% of the land at the Northwest Angle is owned by the Red Lake Band. Additionally, many of the state parcels of land at the Northwest Angle do not have access from a public road, which necessitates the crossing of Red Lake lands in order to access the state lands. Clearly, the Band's lands would be impacted by a state sponsored bear hunt at the Northwest Angle. Unfortunately, many residents and visitors to the Northwest Angle do not respect the Red Lake Band's land ownership. Without notice, our lands are regularly trespassed upon and used as a playground by nonmembers. This is not acceptable to the Red Lake Band, and a bear hunt would only exacerbate this problem.
Also of concern, the state DNR widely announced its plans to the media for a bear hunt at the Northwest Angle without consulting the Red Lake Band. We were informed of the planned bear hunt through an article in the Grand Forks newspaper. Certainly, the state DNR should have consulted with the Red Lake Band before publicizing a bear hunt, which would be all but certain to result in massive trespass to Red Lake lands. As a practical matter, any bear hunt at the Northwest Angle would impose an unreasonable burden on the Red Lake Band because its lands would be used by nonmembers without the Band's consent. For this reason and others, the Red Lake Tribal Council objects to a bear hunt at the Northwest Angle.
Most importantly, the Red Lake Tribal Council prohibits the hunting of bears on tribal lands. Because there are relatively few lands at the Northwest Angle that are available for a state bear hunt: and because many of those lands have access problems which will likely result in the unauthorized use of tribal lands by nonmembers without notice to the Red Lake Band. the Red Lake Tribal Council opposes a bear hunt at the Northwest Angle.
Darrell G. Seki, Sr., Chairman