Other news from around the country
Siding with area Indian tribes, the U.S. Department of Interior recently issued an opinion that said that the State of Maine could not regulate water quality in the territories of the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy tribes. Over fifty towns and companies such as paper mills will be affected by a dispute between the State of Maine and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over who should have regulatory power in the area which is largely fee simple land. The State wants approval to license, and so do the tribes. The EPA will decide next month who they will chose. The issue is likely to end up in federal court for final resolution.
In a separate issue, the State of Maine has rejected a claim by the Passamaquoddy Tribe to fishing rights in Eastern Washington County. The tribe had set a $20 charge for a seven day fishing license and $40 for a seasonal license for anglers fishing a variety of lakes and rivers in the area. After complaints by anglers, the state Attorney General issued an opinion stating that the tribes were in violation of the Indian Land Claims Settlement Act.
Members of the Tulaby Lake Association in Northwestern Minnesota are wondering what can be done to protect the fishery they have had a financial stake in creating. It seems the White Earth Band of Chippewa gill netted 200-300 pounds of walleye, some up to 10 pounds, from the small lake last fall. What makes this most frustrating to members of the lake association is that according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Tulaby Lake has a minimal amount of natural walleye reproduction. Nearly all the walleyes in the lake come from a biannual stocking program. The Tulaby Lake Association participates financially with the DNR on walleye rearing ponds to support the stocking program. In addition, they have been aggressively promoting a catch and release culture among members and area residents. The lake association is trying to work with state and tribal DNR personnel to try to find a solution.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling that says tribal colleges are immune from race discrimination laws. The decision, handed down in March, reversed a lower court ruling involving a termination of employment of two non-Indians by the Sisseton-Wahpeton Community College. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals said in its ruling that Indian tribes have sovereign immunity that extends to agencies such as tribal colleges. (Editor's note: More proof that civil rights do not exist for citizens on the reservation, or working for tribal entities.)
Toppenish Washington residents unite to "stand-up" against attempts by the Yakama tribe to regulate non-Indian businesses, purchase local utilities to control electricity and water supplies within the area, and receive EPA recognition as a "state" to control local water quality. All this by a tribal government that claims sovereign immunity and does not allow non-members who own some 9,988 parcels of land, a voice in how they will be governed. Local residents have recently formed what they call the Citizens STAND-UP! Committee. The newly formed group consists of members of many cultures, both Indian and non-Indian. While respectful of every citizen's heritage and cultural differences, the group recognizes that there are sometimes issues that cause mainly government-to-government disagreements when you have a "sovereign tribal government" and a democratic constitutional government existing on the same area of land. According to Elaine Willman of the Citizens STAND-UP! Committee, the bottom line is, "...there is a serious 'squeeze play' going on to squeeze out or run off non-Indian persons and businesses. Land is decreasing in value daily with the number of homes and businesses for sale going up....all creating immediate economic distress." To learn more about Citizens STAND-UP Committee and the situation on the Yakama Reservation you can log on to their web site at www.yakvalnews.com.
Wisconsin Chippewa Indians nearly reached the modern day record of 30,647 walleyes speared in 1995. 30,357 walleyes from 176 off-reservation lakes were harvested by the six bands as of May 4, 2000. As a result of tribal harvest, non-Indian anglers have faced reduced bag limits. The normal walleye limit in Wisconsin is five fish. Spear fished lakes have bag limits of one, two or three fish for non-Indian anglers.