Romano: Native Americans, Minnesota Fight Over Fishing

Last night my wife forwarded me a three minute audio story from NPR called Minnesota, Tribe Battle Over Fishing. Yes, … Continued

Last night my wife forwarded me a three minute audio story from NPR called Minnesota, Tribe Battle Over Fishing.

Yes, I listen to NPR. I also occasionally rock the EIB network in my car. You gotta get both sides. Anyway…

It seems that some members of the Leech Lake and White Earth Ojibwe tribes are going to fish for walleye and pike today (May 14th). Problem is, this is the day before the Minnesota walleye and pike season opens. Technically you’re not allowed to fish for these species until Saturday the 15th.

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Apparently members of these tribes plan to blatantly break the law as protest. They want the courts to clear up part of a 150-year-old treaty which they say gives them the right to hunt and fish whenever they please on the land that they don’t own anymore. Way back when, the tribes sold 13 million acres to the government but claim the treaty specifically allows them to fish and hunt on the land as they see fit. The state says no, not true and plans to ticket and/or arrest the anglers.

This sounds like a nasty debacle to me, with no clear winner no matter how the cookie crumbles. On one hand you’ve got the Native Americas who basically were run off their land all of the country, given token amounts of money, blankets with smallpox and told to deal with it. Most – if not all tribes around the US got a raw deal. On the other you have law abiding citizens that are waiting their turn to cast a line this Saturday in Minnesota.

What do you say? Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

What if Minnesota just let the early anglers fish flies and barbless flies? I think that’s a pretty fair compromise, no?

TR