Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 603 Understanding treaty rights The Ojibwe* people had long lived in the upper Great Lakes region by the time European explorers first entered the area. Ojibwe commu- nities dotted the shoreline of Lake Superior on both the Canadian and United States sides and were scattered south across the northern third of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. When first contacted by European explor- ers in the 17th century, the Ojibwe lived a semi- nomadic lifestyle, moving from camp to camp to harvest vital foods such as maple sap, fish, veni- son, and wild rice, according to the seasons. As more and more settlers pushed into the Lake Superior region in search of timber and minerals, the United States government bought land from the Ojibwe through cession trea- ties. Vast quantities of land were exchanged for promises of small amounts of money, schooling, equipment, and trade goods. However, in many of these treaties, the Ojibwe leaders kept the right to hunt, fish and gather on lands they sold to the U.S. government in the mid-1800s. This would ensure that future generations would be able to survive and always have access to the foods important to the Ojibwe people. Due to the foresight of those leaders, their descendants can exercise court-affirmed treaty rights in the Ceded Territories today. Ojibwe bands retaining treaty rights and now members of the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Com- mission (GLIFWC) include: the Bay Mills Indian Community, Keweenaw Bay Indian Commu- nity, and Lac Vieux Desert Band of Chippewa in Michigan; the Sokaogon/Mole Lake, Lac du Flambeau, Lac Courte Oreilles, St. Croix, Bad River, and Red Cliff Bands in Wisconsin, and the Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs Bands in Minnesota. The agreements made between the Ojibwe and the United States are called treaties. Within the United States Constitution treaties are de- fined as the “supreme law of the land.” Treaties are legally binding agreements made between nations and have always been respected within the framework of United States federal law. Today, the rights kept by the Ojibwe to hunt, fish and gather on land they sold are referred to as treaty rights. Treaty rights were reserved in a series of ces- sion treaties, including the Treaty of 1836, ceding land in Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas and parts of the Great Lakes; the Treaty of 1837, ceding land in north central Wisconsin and east central Minnesota; the Treaty of 1842, ceding land in northern Michigan and Wisconsin and the western part of Lake Superior; and the Treaty of 1854, ceding land in northeastern Minnesota and creating reservations for many Ojibwe bands. (see map, page 4) In legal terms, Ojibwe treaty rights are called usufructuary rights, which means the right to use property. Similar property rights are common in the United States. In Oklahoma, for instance, individuals sell their land but keep frailing rights. This means they have the right to come onto the land and frail (or gather) pecans even though the land has been sold. It is also very common for individuals or governments to sell land but retain the mineral rights. This means the new owner has surface rights to the property (can build a house, farm and so on), but the holder of the mineral rights can drill or mine for minerals beneath the surface if he or she chooses. State and federal courts have upheld the treaty rights of tribes in many significant court decisions across the nation. Several of those cases *There are several terms used in reference to the Ojibwe people. In this booklet, the term Ojibwe will be used. The Ojibwe people often call themselves Anishinaabe which in their language means Indian person or original people. An anglicized term for Ojibwe commonly used is Chippewa. (GLIFWC uses A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe by John D. Nichols and Earl Nyholm as a language reference.) “The utmost good faith shall always be ob- served towards the Indians; their land and property shall never be taken from them with- out their consent; and in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or dis- turbed, unless in just and lawful war authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.” —The Northwest Ordinance, 1787