How is this not discrimination? Why is this not surprising?
By Rob Drieslein, Outdoor News, May 15, 2020
Tribal harvest had been underway on Lake Mille Lacs in the weeks leading up to the state opener. Tom Jones, DNR state treaty coordinator, said that as of May 5, three bands had taken a combined 30,125 pounds of their 62,200 walleye quota. Mille Lacs, Fond du Lac, and Wisconsin’s Lac du Flambeau band fished the lake this year. The other five Wisconsin bands that signed the 1837 Treaty stayed home.
I asked Melissa Treml, DNR Fisheries research manager, if the state had any objections to Wisconsin bands traveling to Minnesota to take walleyes in the treaty area given pandemic protocols. She said Gov. Tim Walz’s original stay-at-home order included an exception for tribal fishing and she was not aware of any state objections to Lac du Flambeau traveling 190 miles to Minnesota. (Dean Bortz, editor of Wisconsin Outdoor News, by the way, told me the Lac du Flambeau Tribal Council voted last month to close access to public boat landings within its reservation boundaries.)
A helpful Dylan Jennings, a public information officer for the Ashland, Wis.-based Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said his inter-tribal agency did not discourage the bands from traveling to participate in the annual treaty harvest. He also noted that with lower quotas, the Wisconsin bands have been almost exclusively spearing Mille Lacs in recent years to be more selective with their harvest.
“The bands made those autonomous decisions and set their own guidance,” Jennings said. “Some bands are a long way from Mille Lacs and some must have felt they had adequate resources and could forgo spring harvest for this year.”