Peter Erlinger: Ojibwe treaty rights in Minnesota

Produced by Nick Vander Puy
Reserve, Wisconsin (

Professor Peter Erlinder from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota says the Minnesota v. Mille Lacs (1999) US Supreme Court case and other Ojibwe legal victories have paved the way for White Earth and Leech Lake bands to hunt, fish, and gather off their reservations in the ceded territory.

Several White Earth Ojibwe tribal members say  they've been harassed by Minnesota State game wardens the past several years when ricing off the reservation without a state permit. Arrests are made, rice and canoes are confiscated, then the State drops charges.

The law school professor  thinks it  may be more cost effective for the state to negotiate with the bands and establish co-management of resources in the territory, like Wisconsin, rather than fight the tribes in court.

Erlinder thinks the Anishinaabe are in a position to help save the land from mining, logging, and over development.

"Ojibwe treaty rights are a device to help keep the land healthy."
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