Treaties are a two-way street, with rights and responsibilities on both parties.
Non-Indigenous landowners in this country might not think about it, but our land titles trace back to treaties between the U.S. government and Native Nations. We have benefited immensely from these treaties and their legacy of cheap land.
The U.S. government coerced treaties, got vastly disproportionate benefits from treaties, and yet still broke treaties. Native Nations have struggled to enforce the few treaty provisions that benefit them. They deserve support.
A case now before the District Court in Clearwater County reflects an attempt by non-Indigenous people to uphold U.S. treaty obligations, specifically, that Anishinaabe people retain rights to hunt, fish, gather, and hold ceremony on lands they ceded to the U.S. government under the Treaty of 1855. (Full disclosure, I am a defendant.)
While the U.S. Supreme Court already has ruled that the Anishinaabe retain such rights under the 1855 Treaty, Clearwater County Attorney Kathryn Lorsbach is trying to relitigate the issue.Continue reading