Audrey Thayer: Demonstrating Ojibwe Treaty Rights

Produced by Nick Vander Puy
LaPointe, Wisconsin (

Amid giant Star Wars fishing boats, with GPS machines, trolling motors, pulled by huge trucks heading up the highway and  getting ready for the May 15 Minnesota sport fishing season, several Ojibwe in canoes and jon boats with paddles and oars set some gill nets Friday, May 14 in Lake Bemidji. The Ojibwe netters were attempting to uplift their treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather in the ceded territory under the 1855 Treaty with the United States.

Several hundred supporters watched from shore near the drum.

After a few hours Minnesota Department of Natural Resources game wardens raced across the lake in speed boats to stop the tribal fishing.

Audrey Thayer from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Minnesota was on hand at the Great Anishanaabeg Fish Off to make sure everbody had an opportunity to express themselves.  She says when the MDNR speed boats raced across the lake with a roostertail behind it looked like a scene from a science fiction movie.
Thayer was also disappointed that a State game warden used his knife to tear an Indian net.
"The State game warden cutting the Indian net with his knife infuriated the audience."

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