Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

How zebra mussels spurred the Red Lake Nation push to return tribal lands

Tribal nations across Minnesota are pressing to recover lands reserved for them under treaties signed by the U.S. government. While this has been described as a movement under the broad term "land back" the issues on the ground are specific to individual tribal nations. Red Lake Nation, north of Bemidji, is a prime example.

Recent bills introduced in the state legislature propose to transfer a mile-wide buffer of land around Upper Red Lake, including all state-owned land and property within Red Lake State Forest to Red Lake Nation. Many non-Red Lake band members in that area believe that would hurt the local economy - much of which involves recreational fishing.

In a statement released last week, Red Lake says it has no intention of limiting access to the lake for recreational fishing.

While the dispute over the area goes back more than a century, the discovery of invasive species in the lake led the tribe to accelerate its decision to press forward with its claim.


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