Chippewa Spearing/Netting Season
(Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota)

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday issued an April 9 federal injunction until June on most Chippewa spear fishing and netting in the 1837 treaty-ceded territory of east-central Minnesota. The 11th-hour injunction– which exempts “ceremonial spearing” by the Mille Lacs Band–is based on an appeal brought by Mille Lacs Lake resort and property owners of the January District Court decision. It affects that lake and over two dozen others, and applies to the Fond du Lac Band and the six Wisconsin bands. The injunction is temporary until the full Appellate Court can meet in the second week of June to hear the appeal, which is based on tribal fishing methods during the spawning season–an issue that was settled long ago in Wisconsin-based federal courts.

Anti-treaty groups are warning their members that the injunction is only temporary, and can easily be lifted. “Disappointed” tribal officials have said they will abide by the injunction, while some individual tribal members have termed it an “abrogation” of treaty rights. Plans are going ahead for gill netting and spearing in June, and the Minnesota Witness for Nonviolence is continuing its trainings–both to prepare for the Summer, and because of the possibility that anti- treaty protests could still occur this Spring. The “ceremonial spearing” would begin about when the current snow, flooding, and wind ends in Minnesota.

For people in South-Central Wisconsin, Chippewa activists Walt Bresette, of the Midwest Treaty Network, and Pat Eyrich, of the Minnesota Witness for Nonviolence, will be interviewed about Minnesota treaty rights on WORT’s “A Public Affair” today (Thursday) at 12 noon at 89.9 FM.

For background and updates, log on to the Midwest Treaty Network web site at:, Email:, or call the Hotline at: 608-249-2390 (toll-free 800-445-8615), call Debi McNutt at 608-246-2256 (eve.)