Lac Courte Oreilles member exercises treaty rights year around

by Nick Vander Puy
Reserve, Wisconsin (LCOTV)

Melvin "Trapper" Gasper hunts, fishes, and gathers widely in northern Wisconsin under Anishinaabe treaty rights.

With the economy collapsing he's got plenty of work selling handmade setlines made from coat hangers. The setlines are cheap and effective for getting food.

He can also sell all the birch bark baskets he can make.

Right now in mid March he's harvesting birch bark sticks and getting ready for sugaring.  Next month he'll net walleye on Mille Lacs in Minnesota.  Then he'll start gathering birch bark.

During the summer he picks berries and medicinal plants.  During the fall he hunts deer and bear.  During the winter he spears muskie and set lines.

He says the youth are losing these traditions.


"We've got to pass gathering skills down to our youth."

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