Petition aims to give Minnesota's Northwest Angle to Canada

This isn't the first time a group has wanted this small piece of land to go to Canada.

There's a petition going around that has an end goal of giving part of northern Minnesota to Canada, a move that the group that created the petition believes was made part of the United States because of a flawed map. 

A group called "We the People" started a petition and dubbed it "Give Canada back the Northwest Angle located in MANITOBA." Here's what the organizers claim: 

"Negotiators of the initial Canada–US border misunderstood the geography of the area. Benjamin Franklin and British representatives relied on the Mitchell Map of colonial American geographer John Mitchell. Due to a surveying errors, it is the only place in the United States outside Alaska that is north of the 49th parallel, which forms the border between the U.S. and Canada. The total population is only about 120 people which are native to Canadian soil. Make america great by correcting this critical survey error."

According to CBS News, the map was drawn in 1783 during the Treaty of Paris. Instead of drawing the line along the 49th parallel, which serves as the border between Canada and the U.S., the line darts north of Lake of the Woods into Manitoba, giving land surrounded by a lake to the south and Canadian soil to the west, east and north to Minnesota. 

On a map, it sticks out like a sore thumb. 

The Northwest Angle is highlighted by the red box. 

The Northwest Angle is highlighted by the red box. 

The Northwest Angle goes north of that line, and is actually on the north end of Lake of the Woods and the only way to reach it by land is by going through Canada, which requires a passport.

According to, there's a small shack with a videophone that serves as the customs building at the border crossing of the Northwest Angle. It's unattended and requires travelers to communicate with border officials while holding your passport in front of the camera. 

But this is far from the first time a group has encouraged the Northwest Angle to cede from the U.S. and join Canada. In the late-1990s, while Jesse Ventura was governor of Minnesota, the New York Times covered what was called the "Walleye War," a battle between America and Canada over tourism and fishing along and in Lake of the Woods. 

That issue was settled in with the inlet remaining part of the U.S. and Minnesota, and before the new petition gains any momentum it'll need 100,000 signatures before the White House will even take a look at it. 

Even then, the U.S. won't even have the authority to hand over most of it, given 80 percent of the land is held in trust for the Red Lake Nation Band.

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County leaning toward swapping Northwest Angle land to Red Lake band

Lake of the Woods County wants to trade more than 9,000 acres of state-owned land on the Northwest Angle in exchange for tribal approval of roads and utility lines that run through reservation land. The Red Lake band maintains that existing roads and power lines amount to trespassing on their land.