1854 Treaty

Laws & treaties


Fond du Lac Band

Walleye spearing and gill netting for 2016

Background

Fond du Lac, Bois Forte and Grand Portage Chippewa Bands have treaty harvest rights in this area. They were signatories to the LaPointe Treaty of 1854, when these bands ceded lands to the United States government.

In 1988, the Minnesota Legislature approved an agreement with the Bois Forte, Grand Portage and Fond du Lac bands. The negotiated agreement was an out-of-court settlement of litigation over rights reserved in the 1854 Treaty.

The Fond du Lac Band withdrew from the agreement in 1989. The agreement with the state, Bois Forte and Grand Portage bands provides that those bands restrict their harvest of off-reservation fish, game and wild rice in return for an annual payment from the state that is based on a formula tied to the revenue from hunting and fishing license sales.

2016 information

FAQ

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Is the Fond du Lac Band implementing a spear fishing, and gill net season in 2016?

Fond du Lac has officially notified DNR of their intent to harvest in the 1854 Ceded Territory, spring 2016. They have made declarations for spear fishing and gill net fishing in 2016. The declaration includes which lakes will be open to harvest in the 1854 Ceded territory, which encompasses much of the Arrowhead of the state. Harvest will be conducted for Fond du Lac band members and governed by the Band's 1854 Ceded Territory Conservation Code. Lakes where Fond du Lac proposes to spearfish, and also gill net, are listed on the Fond du Lac Band's website.This link leads to an external site.

Is this the first time the Fond du Lac Band has conducted a spring spear fishing, or gillnet season in the 1854 Ceded Territory?

No. Fond du Lac harvested four lakes in the 1854 Ceded Territory in 2015. Harvest was well under the amount that was declared for harvest in these lakes.

Under what authority is this activity being conducted?

The Fond du Lac's 1854 Treaty rights were upheld by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kyle in 1996. As a result, the State cannot regulate band harvest. The Band has authority under federal court order to establish conservation code provisions during the pendency of the federal lawsuit, including allowing spearing and gill netting of fish, as long as such provisions are consistent with conservation and public safety. Band members must abide by regulations in the Fond du Lac Ceded Territory Conservation Code.

Will the DNR ensure the harvest is sustainable?

Yes. Harvest quota levels will be made in consultation with State DNR fisheries experts. Harvest will end if the quota is reached. Band harvest is not expected to result in changes to state bag limits. If off-reservation harvest is increased in future years, it may be necessary to adjust non-band harvest to accommodate Band harvest.

What will be required of band members?

Band members who intend to spear or gill net fish will need a Fond du Lac permit. The permit is valid for one day. It will identify the daily limits for game fish. The number of permits available to band members and the daily limits will be based on a predetermined safe harvest quota. The band permit designates a single body of water on which it is valid. Further, it designates which landing will be used. A Band conservation officer and biological monitoring team must be present at the landing to monitor the harvest. Minnesota DNR enforcement officers and biologists will cross-check biological information.

Will other bands that signed the 1854 Treaty be spear fishing and gill netting, also?

No. The Fond du Lac, Bois Forte, and Grand Portage Chippewa Bands have treaty harvest rights in this area. All were signatories to the LaPointe Treaty of 1854, when these bands ceded lands to the federal government. In 1988, the Minnesota Legislature approved an agreement with the Bois Forte, Grand Portage and Fond du Lac bands. The negotiated agreement was an out-of-court settlement of litigation over rights reserved in the 1854 Treaty. The Fond du Lac Band withdrew from the agreement in 1989. However, the agreement with the state, Bois Forte and Grand Portage bands remains in place. These two bands restrict their harvest of off-reservation fish, game and wild rice in return for an annual payment from the state that is based on a formula tied to the revenue from hunting and fishing license sales.