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Published by the Great Lakes Indian Fish Wildlife Commission Summer 2015 Fond du Lac spearers return to 1854 territory Long ogaa season strong harvest across Ojibwe Country By Charlie Otto Rasmussen Staff Writer Fond du Lacs Blake Evanson brings in a walleye from Cadotte Lake in the Minnesota 1854 ceded territory on April 22. photo by Charlie Otto Rasmussen Lake Galilee Ashland CountyThe sound of hand drums and singing echoed through still air surrounding Lake Galilee Ashland County on the evening of April 23. A blustery wind seemed to have magically calmed and only a few gentle ripples swept over the lake as a small circle of people gathered for a time of thanksgiving led by Bad River elder Joe Rose. It was also a night for harvest. Representatives from four Ojibwe tribes harvested six walleye symbolizing the treaty claim of all six Ojibwe tribes in Wisconsin. A similar symbolic harvest and ceremony took place in 2014 at the lakes edge.At that time songs and prayerswereofferedupnearthelakeaskingforprotec- tion for the lake and all the wetlands and waterbodies facing potential degradation from a huge ferrous mine proposed in the Penokee Hills. However this spring tribal representatives were able to return to Lake Galilee in a spirit of thanksgiv- ing because Gogebic Taconite GTac withdrew its preapplication for its mining project on March 24. Incelebrationandasaremindertobethankfuland acknowledge Gichi Manidoo for the positive turn of events tribal leaders proposed a feast and ceremonies beonceagainofferedaskingforthecontinuedprotec- tion of Lake Galilee and the Bad River watershed and of nibi water in general. Although GLIFWC member tribes opposed the proposed mine the Bad River community especially drewacollectivesighofrelief.Withalargeminepoised at the top of the Bad River watershed the community fearedtheimpactsofminingrun-offonthefisheryand the cherished manoomin beds that flourish in the Ka- kagonSloughspluslong-termissueswithwaterquality in a system that feeds into Gichigami Lake Superior. We need to give thanks that our prayers were answered stated Rose Bad River who also serves as a Voigt Intertribal Task Force representative and is an elected member of the Ashland County Board. This demonstrates the effectiveness of ceremonies prayers and grassroots activism. It is very important that we give thanks. The efforts of the people were realized at least temporarily he says. but GTac is sleeping and may come back in another form. The circle at the landing grew from the year before and included representatives from Red Cliff Lac Courte Oreilles Bad River and SokaogonMole Lake plus a contingent of Bad River members and tribal youth. Three representatives from the Galilee Lake Association also joined the circle as Rose lifted his Pipe to acknowledge the Directions. Words were sharedaroundatalkingcirclemanysharingtheirrelief that the immediate worries of a mine had left and the need for continuing care of nibi and our land for the benefit of coming generations. By Sue Erickson Staff Writer Tribes celebrate with thanksgiving prayersceremonies Bad River elder Joe Rose led the thanksgiving ceremony at Lake Galilee. photo by Sue Erickson See Tribes celebrate page 19 The last time Blake Evanson fished Cadotte Lake he got skunked. So it was with good-natured skepticism onApril 22 that he wondered aloud whether any fish swam in the small northeast Minnesota lake. Not long after sundown the Fond du Lactreatyharvesterhadhisanswerina14-inchwalleyestucktotheendofhisspear. For the first time in some 20 years Fond du Lac FdL members fished for walleye or ogaa in the 1854 ceded territory. Evansons fishtaken from a jumble of boulders deposited in shallow 41-degree waterwas among the first of 86 walleyes taken aboard a pair of spearing boats. InallFdLtreatyspearfishermenharvested190walleyetotaling223.2lbsfrom four 1854 ceded territory lakes including Cadotte Fourmile Tait and Caribou. A team of tribal conservation officers and creel clerks monitored and documented the harvest at each lake. Tribal leaders reserved this right for us in the 1854 Treaty. They gave up a lot and its important for us to be out there exercising these reserved rights said Reggie DeFoe FdL Director of Resource Management. Those leaders wanted to make sure future generations could always get food could always survive. Fond du Lac authorities considered limited ogaa gill netting at Lake Vermil- lion this spring as well but scratched the plan after resistance from the Bois Forte Band which also fishes the sprawling 39200-acre lake. Were going to continue discussions with Bois Forte and Grand Portage about fishing at Vermillion in the future DeFoe said. The return to the 1854 territory was originally planned for spring 2014 but a late ice-out that stretched into mid-May prompted FdL officials to postpone the harvest until this year. SouthintotheMinnesota1837cededterritorylowwalleyeavailabilitysharply reduced fishing participation on Lake Mille Lacs as state and tribal managers work to recover a fishery struggling from the cumulative impact of cleaner warmer water invasive organisms and predation. Respecting the needs of local Ojibwe communities Wisconsin treaty tribes relinquished their modest ogaa harvest allocations on the big lake prior to the season bumping Mille Lacs Bands quota from 3101 pounds to 8366. Mille Lacs Band members landed 7463 pounds of walleye plus 2250 pounds of northern pike in a season that started April 2. Fish- ing by spear only Fond du Lac members came within 2.8 pounds of their walleye See Long season page 6 PAGE 1 MAZINAIGANSUMMER 2015 GTac withdraws its plans to mine in the Penokees