Off-reservation treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather remain an important and unresolved issue in the efforts to stop the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted last year to approve the pipeline, doing so over objections by Anishiaabe bands that argued the pipeline violated their treaties. Line 3 would cross a large area of land where the bands retained “usufractuary” rights, a.k.a. rights to hunt fish and gather. The PUC decided — incorrectly — that it could approve the pipeline without first having the appropriate judicial review of these treaty rights
So it should be encouraging to Native nations and Line 3 opponents that the U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the Crow Nation’s off-reservation hunting rights, granted under the 1868 treaty, in the case of Clayvin Herrera v. Wyoming.