Anishinaabe Treaty Rights

As Anishinaabeg, our treaties with the US government guarantee tribal members the right to harvest, hunt, fish, travel, and preserve cultural sites within our treaty territory.  New pipelines proposals from Enbridge violate our treaty rights and put our relationship to our land, its health, and our communities at risk.  Our manoomin, or wild rice, is our sacred food, central to who we are as Anishinaabeg.  Honor the Earth joins the White Earth and Mille Lacs Bands of Ojibwe, the 1855 Treaty Authority, and the National Congress on American Indians, in a battle to defend of our resources and our constitutionally-protected treaty rights.   We are honoring our covenant with the Creator.  We are protecting our land and our wild rice as our ancestors did before us.   

VIEW OR DOWNLOAD OUR FACTSHEET:   Treaty Rights and Oil Pipelines: What you need to know



Veronica Skinaway, August 27, 2015:  Hole in the Day Lake, Nisswa, MN

This was a remarkable day in Ojibwe history. Hole in the Day Lake, named after one of our great leaders holds a beautiful rice bed, but the Ojibwe have been unable to rice it, based on a bizarre Nisswa city ordinance and the need for a state permit.   Tribal members announced to the DNR and the Governor their plans to harvest wild rice on Hole in the Day Lake, and began doing so at 9am on August 27, to assert their right to hunt, fish, and gather on territory ceded to the US government in the 1855 treaty. To avoid conflict, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued one-day “special use” permits, even though no one had asked for them. The 1855 Treaty Authority called an official meeting right there, and voted to destroy the permits publicly.  Everyone returned the next day and 3 individuals were issued citations - Harvey Goodsky and Morningstar for ricing, and Jim Northrup and Todd Thompson for fishing with a net on Gull Lake just across the highway.  The citations could result in misdemeanors which would enable the 1855 Treaty Authority and tribal governments to pursue a court case to one and for all affirm our treaty-protected rights to harvest.   The event got lots of press coverage - here is a list of some of the articles.   

Star Tribune       MPR       Lakeland Public TV       Uprising Radio         Unicorn Riot       Walker Pilot        

CBS Local       PBS Duluth Superior (WDSE)       Brainerd Dispatch       KARE 11       Northland News Center      



The videos below document the struggles to assert treaty rights over the past four years, and give some insight into the Indigenous Rights Based Strategic Framework for protecting the integrity of the north country for all Minnesotans.

Several Ojibwe netted fish on Lake Bemidji, Minnesota on May 14, 2010 to demonstrate Ojibwe treaty rights. The State of Minnesota confiscated and destroyed the nets because they thought it was against the law. The tribes went on to challenge the 1855 Treaty in court. Audrey Thayer from the Minnesota ACLU describes the day's events.

A big Questions segment on Ojibwe treaty rights guaranteed by the 1855 treaty.


2015 "Fish Fight" Article in MN Lawyer magazine re: US Circuit Court Decision

Al-Jazeera:  MN Tribes Invoke Treaty Rights to Stop Pipeline 


Factsheet: Treaty Rights and Oil Pipelines, What You Need to Know

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe's Letter to the PUC, May 2015

White Earth Band of Ojibwe's Letter to the PUC, May 2015

Peter Erlinder's 2015 legal review on usufructuary rights and the 1999 Mile Lacs Case.

Volunteer Donate