Reservation boundary signs divisive
Mike Jorgensen, in Take down the signs to again unite our area Letter of the Week, Mille Lacs Messenger, 2-16-22, responds to increasing divisiveness in the Mille Lacs area over tribal reservation boundary claims.
Jorgensen challenged Mille Lacs Band statements about being “good neighbors.” Which came after a lawsuit against Mille Lacs County. They did not agree that the tribe still owns all land in the former reservation.
He did not get “that ‘neighbor’ thing” from a claim that threatens to wipe out property rights within the former reservation.
Even though the boundary issue is in court, the Band still promotes its claims with oversized “Mille Lacs Reservation Boundary” highway signs. These are signs that popped up overnight prior to the 2020 State of the Band address.
More “appalling” was Gov Walz and AG Ellison allowing MNDOT to erect these signs for “selfish political purposes.” Even worse, the Gov and AG had to hijack a federal issue and process to push their highly partisan agenda.
In the end Jorgensen writes “Now is the time to apologize and start uniting everyone by taking those signs down. Let the federal process prevail.”
Jorgensen also referred to a statement by Mille Lacs County Administrator Pat Oman (below). In it, Oman challenges Gov Walz and AG Ellison for “reverse[ing] the long-standing and bipartisan positions of former governors and attorneys general on the status of the Mille Lacs Reservation.” Oman similarly called on all parties “to continue to treat each other with respect and dignity … while focusing on the many, many things that bind us together as a community.”
Take down the signs to again unite our area
Letter of the week Mille Lacs Messenger , 02-16-22
To the Editor:
Judge Susan Richard-Nelson from her courtroom in the St. Paul Federal courthouse (or possibly the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals) will make any conclusive decisions about the Mille Lacs Lake area Ojibwe Reservation borders, not the so called “leaders” of our state, Tim Walz and Keith Ellison.
It’s likely this “newer” dispute will go to the U.S. Supreme Court, not the state of Minnesota.
The leaders of the Ojibwe said about a year ago in one of several local news articles that they don’t want to “take over” a few thousand people’s homes and businesses in at least three cities along the south half of Mille Lacs Lake. “They just want to be good neighbors.” That has been my perspective for the last 60 years that I’ve visited the lake frequently and now live nearby. Good neighbors, no problems.
But now after 168 years after the treaty from 1854 it’s time to be good neighbors again by taking over established homes and businesses? I don’t understand that “neighbor” thing. Should we all just move back to where our ancestors started? 150 years ago? make it 300 years.
I find it embarrassing and appalling that only this current state administration thinks it’s OK to instruct MnDOT to erect unusually large signs along State Highways 169 and 47 for selfish political purposes.
Every other Minnesota governor’s administration whether Democrat or Republican has agreed with the 1854 treaty. Wait a minute… it’s NOT a state issue, it’s a federal issue and process!
In the meantime, I will make sure that any driver who happens to swerve for a deer or slides off the road during winter driving challenges and collides with any of those enormous signs will have an attorney informed that the large reservation signs erected were absolutely not necessary, propaganda only.
So, Mr. Walz and Mr. Ellison, why does it seem so obvious that not only are you interfering with federal issues you are also causing divisiveness among thousands of people?
How many other illegal propaganda things have you done?
Now is the time to apologize and start uniting everyone by taking those signs down. Let the federal process prevail.
Please search Mille Lacs County Administrator Pat Oman from Feb. 21, 2020, for a great summary.
St. Paul and eastern Mille Lacs Lake
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mille Lacs County Administrator
635 2nd Street SE
Milaca, MN 56353
February 21, 2020
COUNTY STATEMENT CONCERNING WALZ-ELLISON DECISION REGARDING RESERVATION STATUS
The County and many of our non-Band residents living in the three townships of Kathio, South Harbor and Isle Harbor are disappointed and confused by Attorney General Keith Ellison’s and Governor Tim Walz’s decision to reverse the long-standing and bipartisan positions of former governors and attorneys general on the status of the Mille Lacs Reservation.
This decision to reclassify the three townships was made without meeting with the County or its citizens to discuss the reasons for their decision or to understand the possible impacts of this change. The County has extensive experience and expertise regarding this issue that directly and persuasively refutes their position. It’s also worth noting that the County Board in early October 2019 sent a written meeting request to the Governor, but no meeting with the Governor has occurred. Just last month the Governor drove by Milaca on his way to the January 14, 2020 State of the Mille Lacs Band Address. Given these developments, the Governor’s lack of response must be seen as deliberate and dismissive of the interests of his citizens.
The County remains confident that the longstanding position, taken by the Band, the Federal Government and the State, for over 100 years, that the 1855 Mille Lacs Reservation was disestablished will be the final decision by the federal courts. The decision by the Governor and the Attorney General does not change the legal status of the Reservation or negate the strength of our legal position. We are confident that it will not prevent a full and fair hearing of the issues before the federal courts.
The County urges all its citizens, residents and visitors – Band members and non-Band members – to continue to treat each other with respect and dignity and to “agree to disagree” on this issue even while focusing on the many, many things that bind us together as a community. We are confident that, whatever the outcome of the legal process in federal court, we will move forward as neighbors and friends.