LCO runner Bo Hammond remembers Treaty trek to Washington, D.C.

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Produced by Nick Vander Puy
Reserve, Wisconsin (NFICTV)

It was ten years ago November 11, 1998, a cold, snowy, and windy day, when more than a dozen runners left Waswagoing (Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin) for Washington DC. 

Oral arguments were sheduled in early December before the US Supreme Court hearing Mille Lacs vs. Minnesota.  That case would decide the fate of treaty rights for the Ojibwe bands under the 1837 Treaty.

Under the authority of the  of 1837 (7 Stat. 536), also known as the "White Pine Treaty," the Ojibwa (Chippewa) Nations ceded a vast tract of lands stretching from what now is north-central Wisconsin to east-central Minnesota. Article 5 of the treaty states, "The privilege of hunting, fishing, and gathering the wild rice, upon the lands, the rivers and the lakes included in the territory ceded, is guarantied to the Indians, during the pleasure of the President of the United States.

The future of hunting, fishing, and gathering for the tribes lay in the balance.  While they ran and prayed for the US Supreme Court Justices the runners  said  "every step was a prayer." The Supreme Court eventually ruled in favor of the Ojibwe. 

A runner from Lac Courte Oreilles, Bo Hammond remembers the Wabaunung (East) Run.

"Every step is a prayer." 

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