Skip to main content

Ojibwe group's wild rice gathering could test treaty rights

  • Author:
  • Updated:

An Ojibwe group's plan for a wild rice gathering event next week could lead to a legal test of the tribe's rights under an 1855 treaty with the U.S.

A group called the 1855 Treaty Authority, which includes members of several northern Minnesota bands, has announced a wild rice gathering event on Hole-in-the-day Lake in Nisswa on Aug. 27.

But as the Associated Press reports, the group's leader notified the Dayton administration they plan to harvest the rice without purchasing a license from the state.

If tribal members are given a citation by conservation officers and the rice they harvest is seized, it could become a test case for a court, the Duluth News Tribune reports. Ojibwe leaders argue the tribe maintained its rights to hunt, fish, and gather on the land sold in the 1855 treaty, the newspaper says.

According to the News Tribune, that area extends from about 40 miles west of Duluth to the North Dakota state line, and from the Brainerd area north to Canada.

Late Tuesday, DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr responded to the 1855 Treaty Authority with a letter advising the group that they do risk prosecution if they harvest rice without a license, the AP reports.

According to the news service, Landwehr says it's the state's position that the tribe has no special rights to hunt, fish, or gather in the off-reservation lands ceded in 1855.

An attorney for the 1855 Treaty Authority, Frank Bibeau, tells the News Tribune: "We're looking for a case to bring this to the (federal) court where we will undoubtedly prevail the same way we did with the 1837 case for Mille Lacs and the 1854 case for the Lake Superior region."

Bibeau tells the paper that while the 1855 treaty does not mention hunting, fishing, and gathering rights of the Ojibwe (also known as Chippewa) people, its silence on the issue means those rights are preserved.

Next Up

Minneapolis Fire Department

Series of garage fires cause damage in south Minneapolis

Two of the fires occurred on the 4500 block of Snelling Avenue.

Cedric Alexander

Minneapolis’ public safety chief spends evening mocking, blocking on Twitter

The community safety commissioner responded to one user's question about downtown policing by calling them two-faced.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 4.04.40 PM

Ramen bar announced for upcoming Eat Street Crossing food hall

The restaurant roster is filling up at Eat Street Crossing.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Man dies after being shot during argument in Minneapolis

It's the 70th homicide in Minneapolis this year.


Minneapolis police, city employees clear out Near North encampment

This comes as colder weather moves through the state.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 4.32.46 PM

New T.J. Maxx to open in the Twin Cities this month

Opening day will kick off with extended hours.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 3.04.24 PM

Former Hennepin County commissioner arrested for DWI

The 61-year-old was being held in Hennepin County Jail as of Thursday morning.

Evie Carshare

Electric carshare network showing growth in Twin Cities

Over 25,000 trips have been logged in a six-month span.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 1.11.01 PM

Popular Apple Valley ice arena could be replaced

A concept plan to transform the ice arena is being considered.


Low river levels bring cancellations for St. Paul-New Orleans Viking cruises

The low water also impacted some barge traffic making its way down the river.