From the Chairman's Deerstand
V6 #1 December 2011
While sitting in my deer stand with the wind trying to blow me out, hearing shots and seeing occasional spotlights drift across the westerly landscape made me start thinking about tribal harvests. You see, my west meadow property abuts the Red Lake Indian Reservation. I can start shooting at proper daylight, but much of the Tribal Harvest is just ending. Huh.
My motherÕs heritage is east coast, and yes, it goes back to the beginning of the history of North America. We are descendants of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins of Mayflower fame. So, much like the American Indians, they too were looking for a better life in the new world. My motherÕs heritage is 1/4 American Indian, so you see I have descended from multiple spectrums of American History.
The walleye count is down in the latest DNR Mille Lacs Netting Assessments. Duh!
And what did large scale gillnetting on Red Lake do? Tribal estimates say the large lake will again be in major decline over the next 3-5 years. So much for restocking! It has been a slower decline in Mille Lacs only because of the number of gillnets and the time those nets are in the water. When I asked the Executive Director of GLIFWC, during a public meeting, why the netting during the spawn? His response, ÒIts not because of the spawn, it is because it is easier to net fish when they are bunched up in the shallowsÓ (spawning.)
It is a good thing he doesnÕt set other harvesting seasons. Deer? LetÕs hunt them in the spring when the does will be fat and slow (ready to deliver new life in the forest.) Ducks and upland birds in the spring? Shoot them on the nest hoping to only crack a few eggs.
If my ramblings send any kind of message, may it be that two different cultures start out helping each other co-exist, yet go two separate trails to survive. At some point, these two trails must once again come together to harvest under one law.
My deer season? Wind burn, no deer!
Ron, strart asking the hard questions!!
From the Chairman's Podium
Vol. 5, No. 1 MAR/APR 2010
Thought I would pass along a few comments I made at PERMÕs Save Minnesota Dinner in Blainbrook in case you missed it. And a few more thoughts that came up since then.
The message to take away that evening is that PERM is still fighting for hunters and anglers. WeÕre trying to get Red Lake opened up to all sport fishermen, as the federal government had wanted it in the first place. When the states became states, all the navigable waters were given to the people of that state to regulate and to use for all citizens. They did not mean to have Red Lake be part tribal, part non-tribal.
The laws are there. A U.S. Supreme Court decision says the state of Minnesota owns and shall use that lake for everybody in the state, not just the tribe. The DNR admits there is a Supreme Court decision but that Òthis is the way weÕve been doing business for 75 years so weÕre just going to continue doing it that way.Ó
We are still looking out for those fishing Mille Lacs. The take isnÕt fair and weÕll continue working on that. And on the use of gillnets. Still wonder what happened to those ghost gillnets. I see the Mille Lacs regs are out, courtesy of DNR, GLIFWC, and Mille Lacs Band. We get a decrease for non-band anglers again. Even after two years of minimal harvests, we havenÕt put a dent in our portion of the harvest.
Non-band walleye take last year was about a quarter of the allotted amount. ThatÕs even less than it looks because it includes hooking mortality. The costly taxpayer-supported co-management bureaucracy and slot limits have taken the shine off a premier sport fishing destination. And it shows in the Mille Lacs area economy. PERMÕs goal this year will be to shine a light on this story.
It was good to see Pete Maina at Blainbrook and get his views on protecting fisheries for the benefit of anglers and the fishing industry. Pete and I spoke on the steps of the Capitol many years ago.
IÕd like to thank everybody who came, braved the weather, and helped PERM raise a few bucks to fight for equal hunting and fishing rights. It was nice to see the group from the Rice Area Sportsmens Club. They put on a real nice fundraiser for us in Foley every year.
Want to thank all the volunteers who put this together. They put a lot into it and it showed. We tried some new ideas this year that worked out well. It got us thinking we should get more input from our members. Look for the postcard with this newsletter and give us your opinion.
Hope you can get in some ice fishing before the ice goes out. Doug
V4 #2 SUMMER 2009
How goes the fishing this summer? I still find time to wet a line now and then with some luck this year. The boat is a great time to sit and ponder life as it is today. My condolences go out to those who have lost jobs and canÕt find another in these tough economic times.
I tend to follow the news, and I find something quite disturbing on a way too regular basis. Politicians who pat you on the back, look you in the eye, and ask for your support so they can represent you. Once they are seated, it seems like they tend to vote straight party lines. Who do they represent? Can you imagine passing a multi-billion dollar spending bill without reading and digesting the conditions? But they were representing you and me, correct?
This makes me wish for what used to be a standard of governance described by Thomas Jefferson: ÒA wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouths of labor the bread it has earnedÑthis is the sum of good government.Ó
Is it time to keep a score sheet? It seems like too many of us vote, get busy, and donÕt pay attention until we see multi-million dollar TV adds or someone in a parade. In the past I have seen surveys that show 70 plus percent of Minnesotans favor a particular subject, but then it canÕt even get a hearing because it conflicts with the ruling partyÕs platform.
It doesnÕt matter which party you show allegiance to, just make sure your politician, whether local, county, state or federal are truly representing you. If not, let them know you will help fire them in upcoming elections.
As they take the oath of office, they swear to uphold the constitution and the laws of the land. Currently sitting major state office holders have been made aware of a Federal Supreme court decision that all of Red Lake, water, basin, and shoreline belongs to the State of Minnesota to regulate for ALL of its citizens. When I bring it up, I get blown off, passed off to some underling who doesnÕt have authority to comment, or totally ignored by the people who represent me. Maybe I should stay out of the boat, as bailout used to mean your boat leaks.
Good fishing to all, including those that represent me.
V4 #1 MAR/APR 2009
We have had a long winter, cooler than most in not having many days above freezing since I sat in a cold, windy deer stand. As hearty Minnesotans, we all find someway to amuse ourselves until winter gives way to the soft water fishing season. Which of course brings up the traditional Mille Lacs Lake Ògillnetting season.Ó
Do you suppose the ice crashing ashore will bring in the ghost gillnets that were lost last year, or will they continue to kill unsuspecting fish throughout the lake? We already know that our DNR will protect the over 18 inch class fish so that large fillets are available for the black market.
Red Lake Tribal Chairman Buck Jourdain, in his ÒState of the BandÓ speech on February 28th, acknowledged a black market in walleye fillets. He said it is an ongoing problem on his reservation!
He also announced that since the tribal quota was not met last year by hook and line, with a 75 fish daily limit, tribal netting would begin in June. Thanks to the alert PERM member from the area for the phone call. Apparently, our major newspapers didnÕt cover this as the Bemidji Pioneer did.
Now I am sure that our DNRÕs answer will be. As long as they are staying within their quota, who cares what method is used. Well maybe those of us taxpayers who paid to re-stock Red Lake care. I am sure that the educated nets they use will cull out the protected slot fish. It works so well in Mille Lacs Lake.
IsnÕt it about time that our State leaders pull their heads out of the sand and get our state back on track? Neither tribal nor non-tribal people need to live solely off the land. We have so many national, state, and county assistance programs to ensure this.
There is a Supreme Court decision (Holt) that specifically addresses the ownership of ALL of the water in Red Lake. It is the State of MinnesotaÕs, to be regulated by the state for use by all citizens.
The last DNR commissioner, Gene Merriam publicly acknowledged that, but stated this is how we have done business with Red Lake for the last 75 years. And we wonder how we got in this mess to begin with.
PERM has tried time and time again to get cost figures on Òco-managementÓ from the DNR. We would like to know: ÒHave you had the opportunity to put these figures together?
My condolences go out to Jeff Popp, whose grandmother, Anna, passed away. Condolences also to Bud Grant, one of PERMÕs earliest members, and his family. Pat Grant, BudÕs wife just passed away.
Have a safe and happy fish opener.
V3 #3 DEC 2008
Sitting up in my stand this year is quite the challenge. I believe the wind is just under hurricane status. No deer with any intelligence will be out there. ItÕs amazing what we go through to get a critter.
First, a few words about the passing of my good friend Joe Karpen. Minnesota has lost one of itÕs great American heroes. Joe and I first met in pre-PERM days and eventually we became friends with a common goalÑEqual Hunting and Fishing Rights for All! Anyone who had the pleasure of working with Joe knows there was not always agreement. Occasionally there was an argument. But it always ended the same way; letÕs go get a cup of coffee. Can you imagine the good man upstairs dealing with Joe and Lloyd daily? We miss you both!
One day I was asked, ÒDoug why are you as involved as you are?Ó One of the main reasons I hooked up with this band of ÒWhitetail/Walleye Worshippers,Ó even though I have seen my share of hunting and fishing over the years and could die happy, was having children who need to experience these wonderful sports without nine million regulations created by every culture having different rules.
Well, that was over 15 years ago. Now I wonder if my grandchildren will be joining me at the PERM booth, as they get older. PERM at times has had three generations, the Carlsons for example, working at PERM events. Belle, Brooke, and Caden: Grandpa promises you that I wonÕt have you selling raffle tickets. It is amazing, at this time in our history, we still have politicians and bureaucrats playing racial games with our resources. Maybe the new President will know what real equal rights is all about.
Just a short weigh-in on Mille Lacs. With the small harvest this year it would be nice if the DNR would open the slot until close of season. Maybe that would help some of the area business and resort owners. I realize everyone wants stability in the regs, but when you are that far off on allotments, could the Walleye population be hurt? I think Joe Fellegy hit it on the head: too many big fish eating littler fish. Trophy lakes arenÕt always what theyÕre cracked up to be. Couple that with tribal gillnetting of spawning fish and it sounds like disaster waiting to happen. Maybe co-management doesnÕt work.
And while IÕm at it, isnÕt it about time the Governor and the DNR Commissioner follow the law of the land and open Red Lake to fishing under one set of rules for all anglers, as prescribed by the U.S. Supreme CourtÕs Holt decision? It states that Red LakeÑthe water, the bed, and the shoreline of all of Upper and Lower Red LakeÑbelongs to state of Minnesota, as do all other lakes of Minnesota.
My condolences go out to the family and friends of George Wahl who recently passed away. George became a friend of mine and PERMÕs through the promotion of the Minnesota Muskie Expo. I will miss him, along with the whole Muskie community.
Have a great holiday season, and I hope to see everyone at Blainbrook January 8!
V3 #2 SUMMER 2008
First, let me thank my friends and extended family in PERM for the words of condolence and encouragement after my healthy 16-month-old granddaughter passed away at Christmas time. Her death is classified as SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.) It has turned my life upside down. There is more info at www.laurentrymucha.com.
Our fishing opener came with mixed emotions. FOX Channel 9 did a special on tribal gillnetting and the effects it has on area businesses. Give Channel 9 credit for covering an event that usually is untouchable.
The subsistence gillnetting takes place in the shallows while the spawn is in full swing. Minnesota is the only state that allows netting during the spawn. With large tents set up for processing and a parking lot full of SUVÕs and big Pick-ups, a news crew filmed all aspects. Nets being set on the North shoreÑwhen forecasts were predicting a wind shiftÑcompounded the devastation of spawning fish. The wind shifted and a many nets were lost. Two are still missing. These lost nets keep killing fish.
My fishing opener: two guys, one boat, all day, and one keeper. We had a good time (we got wet.)
Since tribal leaders holler ÒracismÓ every time someone mentions something about this right or that privilege, why doesnÕt our State government pass laws mandating tribal members be recognized as full citizens of the State of Minnesota? I donÕt know why the leaders of both major political parties havenÕt come forth with bi-partisan legislation to accept tribal members as State citizens living under one set of laws. Have I stumbled into something that has been overlooked for 150 years?
Not only do treaties and acts of Congress address this, they demand it. ItÕs just too bad politicians and bureaucrats canÕt recognize tribal members as citizens. I would support lawmakers who come forward. Ask yours! Ask them to pass an equal rights amendment with NO SPECIAL RIGHTS!
PERM notified people of the Fox Channel 9 News coverage that we had email addresses for. From time to time, we can send out a quick message to those whom wish to share your email with us. (Just send an email to email@example.com with ÒsubscribeÓ in the subject line.)
Have a great summer of fishing or relaxing.
V2 #4 NOV/DEC 2007
Sitting up in my deer stand, swaying in the wind and watching for that one not-too-smart deer to appear, I had a lot of time to ponder the world as it is today. I try to make sense of what is going on. Every politician should spend some time in a deer stand, boat, or fish house. Maybe a little more common sense would result.
This year I didnÕt have that pesky, chattering red squirrel barking in my ear. Word around the forest is that during grouse season he may have chewed on some Chinese toys, as he apparently died of lead poisoning.
Deer camp is a good chance to renew friendships and catch up on the up-to-date news from the year gone by. And that was accomplished!
On August 13, 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the Indian Claims Commission Act. This Act created a special judicial body before which any American Indian tribe could file claims of all kinds against the United States, going back to the American Revolution.
Both the Federal government and Indian tribes welcomed the commission, as now all claims would have a timely resolution with their day in court. Overall, the Commission awarded damages in 341 cases, or over 62% of the claims adjudicated. The ICCA awarded about $1.3 billion (more than twice that in todayÕs dollars) during its 32-year life.
Now I pondered, why is it that we are still paying large settlements when everyone having their day in court was supposed to be the end to all claims? As tribes accepted payments, they had to sign statements recognizing that under the ICCA these would be their final claims.
My request of the readers of this column is for you to take a little time to contact in writing, your elected Senators, Representatives, Congress, and other Federal and State officials. Ask them to research the ICCA and how it applies to tribal claims today. Ask what they intend to do about it. Please share your letter and any replies you get with PERM.
(ItÕs going to be a long election season and maybe their responses will help you decide who will get your vote.) Thanks in advance.
A lot of lake and pothole news in the paper lately. Could help the ducks! My little pond had two nesting ducks this year, but no one got to hunt them, as a resident hawk eventually devoured all the little ones. Maybe we ought to think about predator control as part of the big picture.
While driving up North, please take time to stop into the local Mille Lacs Lake businesses and spend a buck or two. Our friends that make a living around the lake were dealt a serious blow when the slot limit was pulled out from under them. Great time of year for drive and a meal, or some Christmas shopping.
Hope you remembered Veterans Day and all who served from the Revolutionary War to present. With out Vets, the USA would not be what it is today. Every day should be Veterans Day, since every day there is some freedom we enjoy because someone stepped up to the plate. For centuries, they have fought for equal, fair treatment and the American way of life. Remember, anytime we give someone special rights, we are taking away the rights of others.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!