Other news from around the country

Wisconsin

According to the Associated Press, the State of Wisconsin is appealing a federal court ruling that grants the Sokaogon Band of Chippewa full authority to regulate water quality on its reservation, which is down-stream from a proposed zinc and copper mine in northern Wisconsin. According to Randy Romanski from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, it is an issue of state sovereignty. He said "The state should not give up its right to protect its waters."
The State is asking the 7th Circuit Court of appeals to reconsider its decision and have all eleven judges decide
the case.

According to Wisconsin officials, only the State of Wisconsin can regulate water quality because the state owns the streams and lake beds. The tribe argues that any upstream activity, although outside its reservation, affects water quality on tribal lands.

Therefore, the tribe should be allowed to regulate water quality on all streams and rivers and other drainages that flow into or through tribal lands.

Also in Wisconsin -------------------------

In what would be an affront to the U.S. Constitution and the rights of all citizens in the State of Wisconsin, a special legislative committee, headed by Rep. Terry Musser, R-Black River Falls, is recommending that the State formally recognize the sovereignty of eleven federally-recognized Indian tribes. According to Paul Ninham of the Oneida nation, "We’re looking to the state to recognize that the eleven tribes are sovereign nations. I think a lot of people forget that we were here before there was a state and
federal government."
Editor’s note: It appears some members of the Wisconsin legislature are not on the same page as the Attorney General. The Attorney General is fighting for State sovereignty in a jurisdictional dispute over water quality regulation, and some legislators are undermining the State’s position by pushing for tribal sovereignty! Furthermore, at this time of conflict, when the Country is calling for national unity, why do some politicians insist on balkanizing the United States of America. What has happened to "One nation, under God, indivisible..." ? Some seem bent on forcing us down the road to tribalized factions that currently plague so many parts of the world.


Minnesota

Although as of press time PERM has not received any official confirmation, according to recent news reports, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner, Allen Garber, has suspended negotiations with the White Earth Band. Talks had been in progress over the last several months in an effort to work out a cooperative natural resource management agreement with the Band on the White Earth Reservation.

Also in Minnesota -------------------------

Fishing is big money in Minnesota. According to a recent article in the Minnesota Lakes Association Reporter, a common misconception, especially among those who don’t fish, is that angling is a small activity, far less important than, say, professional sports. Yet each year anglers spend more that $1.8 billion in Minnesota on fishing-related recreation. The big money goes to boats, gas and lodging. But the little items add up, too. For example, each year anglers in Minnesota spend $50 million on bait; $34 million on lures, line and tackle; and $8 million on ice. These figures are from a 1996 federal government study on spending. On average, an angler spends $1,086 in Minnesota each year!

Some other interesting facts.

• In 1997 Minnesota lead the nation with 1,535,09 licensed anglers. The total number of anglers including children was 2.1 million!
• Minnesota has 5,400 lakes which have sustainable game fish populations.
• Anglers in Minnesota harvested 35 million pounds of fish.
• Minnesota’s minnow industry consists of 1,800 businesses and generates $42 million annually.


Maine

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes of a Maine Supreme Court ruling that dismissed tribal sovereignty, and required the tribes to turn over documents about water quality on their reservations to opponents in a high-profile lawsuit involving water quality regulation. Not able to get their way in court, tribal officials hinted at seeking a legislative solution.


Connecticut

Facing opposition from state government in an effort to obtain federal recognition for the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian tribe, Chief Quiet Hawk has threatened to file sweeping land claims for one-third of Connecticut. The claims will affect more than 1 million property owners!


North Dakota

Associated Press reports that the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe will ask the full 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear a case involving the tribe’s claim to ownership of Devils Lake. Having lost before a three judge panel of the court, the Tribe will also pursue its goal to take control of the lake through negotiations with state and federal officials. In August, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Tribe had waited too long to sue for its rights to the lake. The three judge panel left open the question of who actually owns the lake. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has said he would be open to negotiations.


Washington D.C.

The Bush administration has reversed a Clinton-era rule that would have made it easier for Indian tribes to restore lost land to their reservations. Neal McCaleb, assistant interior secretary for Indian affairs, said parts of the rule were unclear and it lacked processing standards. Since it was impractical to rescind only part of the rule, the new administration would build a new rule from scratch.

The land-to-trust rule proposed by the Clinton administration was opposed by municipalities, state attorneys general, governors and local citizens, who complained that since the tribes would not have to pay property taxes on the land, the process eroded their tax base. According to opponents of the Clinton rule, the ramifications of placing land into trust for Indian tribes - removing it from from local control and local tax rolls and impacting individual property owners - absolutely requires the Bureau of Indian Affairs to weigh tribal needs with the concerns of local governments and individual citizens. The Clinton rule did not do that. It set deadlines and streamlined the process, making it much easier for tribes and the federal government to put land into trust for the tribes.