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Public meeting held in Red Lake on walleye harvest for 2006

A public meeting “How Should We Harvest and Protect the Red Lake Walleye

Into the Future!” was held at the Red Lake Humanities Center on Tuesday, January 17, 2006.

This meeting was intended to gain valuable input from all Tribal Members to make acceptable harvest policies for the Spring 2006 walleye opener.

Hosted by the Red Lake Tribal Council, agenda items included a short presentation by the Red Lake DNR, followed by an open floor discussion between the Tribal Council and Tribal Members to determine the future of Red Lake.

Over 120 people attended this meeting—including all 11 Red Lake Tribal Council members--which included an overview of the walleye recovery and current status, a public question and answer forum, and a questionnaire.

The questionnaire asked 6 question.

1) Should the Band commercial fish in the future?

2) Would you support a community based corporate commercial fishery? Where each community (the 4 Districts) would have a small number of tribally employed fishermen that would set gillnets for commercial sale during the summer fishing season.

3) Would you support Band members selling fish to the commercial fishery during the summer and winter that they caught using hook and line? Daily bag limits and protective size limits would be developed for protection of larger fish and increase the marketability of the catch. Public announcements would be made daily or weekly if the processing plant would be buying fish.

4) Would you support Band members being able to use gillnets for personal use/subsistence fishing?

5) Would you support Band members only being able to use hook and line fishing for personal use? Protective daily bag limits and/or size limits would be developed to protect larger fish.

6) Band members will be able to harvest walleye again sometime in the spring of 2006. For this year, what do you recommend as the way fish should be harvested for personal use/subsistence?

Chairman Jourdain opened the meeting by stating this meeting was one in a series of meetings that had been held in all Red Lake Reservation Districts, along with the two urban areas of Minneapolis/St. Paul and Duluth. He stated they wanted to gather input from tribal members on harvesting Red Lake walleye in 2006.

“In the past the harvest was based on economics,” Jourdain said. “But now we have the science, we have the biology, we have the ability to be able to monitor and determine what safe levels there are, and we can tell now when we are hurting the lake, and we know when to stop.”

Jourdain said the Tribe has been pondering data accumulated in the past several months obtained by the Red Lake DNR and Red Lake members.

Red Lake DNR manager and Redby Representative Allen Pemberton, explained the role the DNR was playing in the process.

“We planned on doing this a little earlier [holding more public meetings], but a lot of other things came up,” Pemberton said. “But we have to make some kind of decisions before spring comes and we want the input of all the membership.”

He said the Fishery crew has been working very hard the last few years and the lake has came back real good. There has been a large increase in what they were catching during the spring in their spawn nets—and there were a lot of big walleyes, more than there has ever been, he felt.

“We have to make some good decisions in the future to preserve our lake,” he said. “We can do it on our own. We have the means to do it. We know the scientific part of it; we know how much can be taken out like Buck said. It can be done and we have the crew that knows what’s going on.”

Pat Brown, Red Lake Fisheries Biologist, went over some of the information they collected over the past 7-8 years during his presentation. He talked about the current status of the walleye population, the biological management plan, and some of the things the DNR was going to do in the future.

In explaining the biology management plan he said the major components of the plan included harvest quota based on biology, quota allocation based on ownership, harvest methods as a jurisdiction decision—the Band chooses how they want to fish—and each jurisdiction is responsible for maintaining under their harvest cap.

Brown said the recommended safe harvest levels when the season opens—May or June—413.000 pounds or less for the Red Lake Band, and 84,000 pounds or less for the state jurisdiction. The Red Lake Tribe owns about 83.2% of both Upper and Lower Red Lake, while the state owns about 16.8% of Upper Red Lake.

“What DNR is going to have to do in the future to make sure that this plan works,” Brown explained, “is if they go back to some type of commercial fishing, then they’re going to have to do the same type of monitoring that used to be done at the commercial Fishery. We basically need to be able to tell how many pounds of walleye are being caught each year…”

Other things they would need to monitor would be hook and line fishing and subsistence gillnetting, if that was going to be allowed.

Francis Brun questioned the DNR being able to monitor all types of fishing. He talked about what was recorded at the Fisheries, yet there was no way to tell what was taken for other purposes—subsistence, hook and line and those walleye taken off the reservation on the black market.

Pemberton stated they were shorthanded on game wardens, but have applied for grants for more. He wasn’t sure if they would receive any help before the spring of this year.

“We have to put some strict rules down and we have to take care of the lake on our own,” Pemberton said. “A lot of the other people out there, we’re going to have to police ourselves in a way. If we don’t do that we’re going to be back where we were before.”

He said he never thought he’d see in his lifetime where people would not be able to catch walleyes on the lake. He said that shouldn’t happen again. In the surveys there were many good ideas and suggestions. But they still needed more ideas and input from all members.

Going after the BIA for game wardens and startup costs associated with the Fisheries, was what Treasurer Darrell Seki Sr. suggested, as it was originally their responsibility under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Retired BIA employee Mickey Fairbanks stated he believed the BIA had the trust responsibility to assist in any Tribe of their natural resource that needs to be protected. He wanted to know what plans the State of Minnesota had, and said he has never been a person to trust the State of Minnesota and especially the Department of Natural Resources.

Fairbanks also questioned the imaginary line dividing what the Red Lake Band owned and the State of Minnesota owned, and if there were any thoughts to putting up a net or something at that border to keep the fish separated from each jurisdiction.

Chairman Jourdain said there was an “irresponsibility” there by the BIA by allowing the Tribe to extend quotas and keep going, and at some point they do need to be held accountable. He also spoke about the surveys, regulating, and funding for all aspects of the lake.

“The question about the state,” Jourdain said, “the MOU and the Fisheries Technical Committee, we’ve made sure we’re safeguarded the tribe, that there are no blurred lines where the state has any authority over what we do--how we harvest our fish. What we do is how we determine how we do things. The state is cooperating with the Tribe in agreement that biology will be the source of the harvest, to make sure that cooperatively we do not run into the same situation again. We’re not opposed to that; we’re not opposed to working with people to monitor and collectively make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Jourdain explained the imaginary line separating the two jurisdictions, stating the tribe was reluctant by their own hands to determine any boundaries because there were still some treaty issues they were looking at.

“I don’t think there was any way to avoid the fish going back and forth,” Jourdain said. “We want to protect our own interests. We don’t want any definites as far as where the boundaries are because we’ve always maintained that that upper part of the lake was taken illegally from us.”

That was something the Tribe was continuing to pursue.

Darwin Sumner questioned law enforcement issues. He said when he was out ice fishing on Upper Red Lake, they saw people coming way over and apparently into what the Red Lake Band owns.

“Where’s our game wardens at?” Sumner asked. “If we can’t afford game wardens, then let’s get rid of some of those guys at the DNR who do nothing up there and hire some of our own people as game wardens to patrol our waters?”

Robin Stately said he wanted to be able to teach his grandchildren about commercial fishing.

“Our ancestors already set laws down on how many nets to set,” Stately said. “That the lake would take care of. We set our nets and we make our people listen to those laws. If they don’t want to listen to those laws, put them in (Contact US Regarding This Word) jail. What’s so hard about that? The same way with the people that illegally stole our waters up in the Washkash area. They break our laws, put them in jail—take their equipment. Same way with our own people. They break our laws and stuff like that, put them in jail. That’s what we have a (Contact US Regarding This Word) multimillion dollar jailhouse for. I want to see fishing back here.”

He said that people who wanted to angle, let them angle—they wouldn’t make a dent in the lake by doing that.

“I know when they said the lake was dead, we didn’t have no fish—we went out there and fished on the ice and we caught fish,” he said. “We caught big walleyes.”

Stately said the ancestors created the laws to govern the lake for food for our people and it should be kept that way. He said if he went out there and broke the laws he should be put in jail—made to pay for breaking the laws. The almighty dollar wasn’t everything to Indian people. Culture meant more. Before they used to stop fishing for a while when fishing wasn’t as good as normal.

Francis Brun talked about a referendum on the matter, that the tribal council needed direction from the people. He also talked about the court system and non-members through that current system.

Pemberton mentioned that the Army Corp of Engineers was going to put a fish bypass at the Outlet this summer so a lot of fish wouldn’t be going down that river every year. This had been brought up at a previous meeting in Red Lake in 2005.

Patty Jourdain talked about being able to teach her sons about what she learned about commercial fishing, and that they were going to need more game wardens than what they currently had because there were people already selling fish. She said she was asked the other day if she wanted to buy some walleyes and she refused the offer. And there were quite a few of them out bootlegging fish.

Darren Defoe of Redby said he came from a generation of people that grew up fishing on the Blackduck River banks. He said he agreed with Darwin and Robin on what we can do with people that violate the laws. We should hold our own people accountable, too.

“We don’t have anybody to blame but ourselves for what happened to this lake,” Defoe said. “An elder told me this one time. If you make a mistake, and you learn from it, then that becomes a teaching and there will be no repercussions for that. But if you make a mistake and you make it again, that’s when repercussions will happen.”

Defoe also spoke about policing ourselves, morals and the almighty dollar taking over. He said the lake was never dead, either.

“I really think we shouldn’t start commercial fishing just yet,” he said. “Because if we go ahead and let everybody commercial fish, it’s going to be a big free-for-all. It’s like when you’re at a pow-wow and they throw that candy out there for them kids, they’re all going to come running—they all want a piece of that.”

He said throughout the years he craved fish, and also fish eggs. It was something he enjoyed. He also mentioned the plane and the non-members that landed on the lake, fished, and nothing was ever done to them. Something had to be done about something like that.

“I sure would like to be able to take my boy out and teach him how to catch walleyes with a rod and reel, but I don’t think we should start gillnetting just yet,” he concluded.

Helma Cloud said she didn’t think that commercial fishing on the lake could be sustained in the past because there were too many commercial fisherman at the time. The lake couldn’t sustain that.

Jourdain spoke about the Fisheries Board of the past and there currently not being one that was active. But that needed to be looked at, too. He also talked about illegal netting, selling fish off the reservation, those that didn’t commercial fish, those that did or did not benefit from the lake, and the moratorium.

“No one ever said that the fish were completely gone,” Jourdain said, “that there were no more walleye. There were walleye out there, just the numbers were so dangerously low that we were in danger if we kept going it, that it would never be able to replenish itself. And if not for the restocking and the science and biology, this moratorium might be in effect for fifty years before we get back to the levels of 1983-84.”

He also talked about funding for reopening the Fisheries Plant in Redby, tougher laws and enforcement, and how much fish was actually leaving the Reservation without going through the Fisheries.

Pat Brown explained how they determined the fish counts, along with what was being caught through all forms of fishing, and how they came up with the survey questions.

Archie King said he felt a referendum should be put together at this coming election in 2006.

“And if they do decide to go commercial fishing, set up some (Contact US Regarding This Word) rules that we’re all going to follow,” he said.

King said the membership should make that decision. He also said time was running out until May and there were a lot of unanswered questions, such as who could fish, who would make that determination, and what happens once the quota was made.

“Time is running out and we have to do something,” he said. “I still don’t want the state (Minnesota) to tell me when I can fish on my own lake.”

He also maintained that members were still entitled to one or two walleyes and he didn’t care what the rules were in respect to that.

King talked about community committees, when he used to commercial fish, and admitted that many years ago he had also bootlegged fish. He had did that because it was a way of life back then faced with tougher times.

“Realistically being so short of time, so short of resources, we didn’t realistically think there would be a full scale operation going,” Jourdain said. “Just because the state is going to be doing whatever it is that they do, we disagree that they can say what we do.”

Jourdain stated there was an understanding with the state, that we reserve the right to regulate ourselves and make our own determinations on how we harvest and how we do those types of things. He said they maintained that for many years and will continue to do so.

Pemberton explained the survey and stated we were going to start fishing when the fishing season opened—that it was a given—whether there was any sort of commercial fishing or otherwise. A limit, if any, would probably be set, but it didn’t have to be whatever the state was setting theirs at.

Preliminary state reports indicated they would have a 2 walleye limit when the fishing season opened for them on Upper Red Lake.

Larry Good said he had been involved with commercial fishing for half his life. He said it was a way of life for him, and eventually a good life. Commercial fishermen did more work by 8 a.m. than many did all day long. It was a good life and you got good things for your family if you worked hard for it.

“We started ten years ago and gave up a lifestyle for ten years,” Good said about the moratorium. “What I mean by a lifestyle, is you could go out there and make money everyday and feel good about yourself, and you pay your bills every month. And at the end of the year, if you hustled—give her hell like I know you guys can—then you got a bonus check. Heck, you felt good.”

Good said that if we played the cards right we could bring a lot of needed income into the reservation. He talked about a baseline price rather than a nickel and dime price like it used to be. A baseline price could be set at five dollars per filet because restaurants were selling fish dinners for $26.00 a plate. He added that at the present quota, that figure could mean $5 million dollars. That could mean income for people and would pay for additional game wardens.

He also talked about the work the DNR was doing, that it was a good thing they were doing. He also spoke about fishing with a rod and reel and the Fisheries buying fish caught that way from Tribal members.

“There are better days ahead,” Chairman Jourdain said. “I know with fishing that was a huge boost to our economy, opportunity for our tribal members, and we do still call the shots on the reservation.”

He said within the next couple of years there are some things happening on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Things will start to look up. The debt of the casinos will be paid off, they will be able to act on the interest from the forestry settlement, the fishing industry would be up and going.

In the last couple of years Red Lake has been struggling, Jourdain said about the history of the tribe, but things were going to start to pick up. He said there was a good future ahead for everyone. And he agreed with what people were saying, that fishing was a way of life for some.

Red Lake Tribal Secretary Judy Roy talked about the Army Corp of Engineers referring to Red Lake as a reservoir, and scientists and biologists refer to Red Lake as a fishery.

“I told them to true Red Lakers, neither one of those terms apply,” Roy said, “because to us it’s neither a reservoir nor a fishery, it’s a sacred, living body to us who are Red Lakers. It’s something that our Chiefs kept for us. They had a specific reason for keeping it for us, and that was for subsistence, for sustaining our families into the future. Now I think we kind of started in the middle when we started with the question, do we want sport fishing or commercial fishing on Red Lake when we can open it again? And we got the message loud and clear, we do not want sport fishing. That’s our lake.

“And so, that question has been resolved. But we need to go back, we need to ask ourselves, what is that lake, what does it mean to us, and what would be the proper and appropriate use for it? Do we want it to provide jobs? Do we want it to provide economic development? Do we want it to be sustinance for every member of the Band to have access to fish to feed their family? However we answer that question, that will determine how we’re going to use that lake.”

Roy stated the point has been made that we’re running out of time or we have to decide something quickly. She said there was no clock ticking that said by a certain time we have to say yes or no or this way and that way.

“We have to take the time, like our Chief’s did, to ensure that we know what that lake means to us, and what it means to future generations,” Roy said. “And so if we need that time, let’s take it. Who’s pushing us? Who’s pushing us to make a choice one way or another? It’s our decision to make. Let’s do it right, because it will determine the future, it will determine if the dads or the mothers can take their kids out and teach them to fish one way or another. It’ll determine what we’re going to do with our great-grandchildren.”

She said there were so many important choices ahead of us. We have to learn how to be deliberate, as well as what the consequences were going to be. She stated often we make choices because we feel rushed or there’s a deadline, and do something without really thinking it through. This is going to be the result 20 years from now because of the choices we make today.

“So I hope that we’re not driven by this ticking clock that doesn’t exist,” she added. “By our need to rush out there and make sure we get our share before the white people get it. We’ll get our share. It’s our lake. But one thing that I’m going to still insist on—and people think I have a vendetta against a certain person—that’s not it. We have to learn by our mistakes in the past. We have to learn why the lake collapsed, whether we think it was totally or there were still walleye in there, it was not enough to sustain us and it would have not been back up if we wouldn’t have intervened.”

Secretary Roy said we had to hold the Bureau of Indians Affairs accountable, regulated or not regulated, by the federal government under the BIA. They failed in their duty to protect Red Lake resources.

“And if we don’t get answers to what happened in the final years of that Fishery operation, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes that were made in running it into the ground to begin with,” she said. “The Tribal Council has passed 2-3 resolutions calling for an audit of the Red Lake Fisheries Association. We have money that disappeared, we have resources that were mismanaged, and no one yet has been held accountable for that. If we don’t proceed and find out what went on in that operation, we are just saying, okay, we’ll just charge ahead and maybe we won’t make the same mistakes again, maybe we’ll do it right this time.

“So I urge us, not to feel like we have to just do something for the sake of doing something, That’s one of our most precious holdings, one of our most precious resources. People go out to the lakeshore when they’re feeling down.”

She said the lake heels us, it reminds us of who we are, it reminds us of the best we can be and where we came from, as well as what our ancestors gave up for us. One should not see dollar signs, nets and quotas when looking at the lake, but see what we have determined from that lake—and sincerely take the time necessary in making a decision.

“To have a good referendum and to say this is what the majority of the people want, you need one good question,” Roy stated. “So that people can either answer option A or option B, or yes or no, then we will know what the majority of the people want. I don’t think we’re anywhere near formulating the question. And if we think we can do it by May, fine, let’s do it, but let’s not think that the Council is going to make the decision for you. We know this is the people’s decision and that’s where we’ll be.”

Bill May said he enjoyed the meeting tonight. It was his 8th meeting he had attended about the walleye. It was good to see so many people because of the significance of the issue, and the feedback of the people. He agreed with Secretary Roy about not having a ticking clock to make the decision. And he said he could relate to Good’s stories about being a commercial fisherman as a young boy and on through the years. He had been involved in the industry from a young boy to the collapse.

May was a board member of the Fisheries Association and was also elected president by other members of the board prior to the shut down and moratorium.

More meetings are planned on this matter. Minnesota’s fishing season begins on or about May 13, 2006. Red Lake Tribal elections are set for May 17, 2006.

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Did I get this right? Too bad if I did!

At their tribal meeting, on Tuesday January 17 2006 (one short week ago!), Allen Pemberton, the Red Lake DNR manager and Redby Representative said, “We planned on doing this a little earlier [holding more public meetings], but a lot of other things came up.”

Allen also proves he’s really on top of things when saying, “But we have to make some kind of decisions before spring comes and we want the input of all the membership.”

Well Darn… I’ve been wondering if the Red Lake Band was using the moratorium time wisely? The Walleye ban was imposed in 1999 and now, roughly six years after the moratorium was declared, some 90 days remain to prepare for the 2006 Fishing Opener.

Prepare? Why prepare if the clock isn’t ticking?

Red Lake Tribal Secretary Judy Roy says there is no ticking clock.

Bill May said he enjoyed the meeting - his 8th meeting - and he agreed with Secretary Roy about not having a ticking clock

Allen Pemberton says, “a lot of other things came up.”

Other things came up? No ticking? What is that sound then? Is it just the sound of beating drums from the entertainment at the Red Lake Humanities Center?

I’ll bet that band has a leader.

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This pretty much says it all.

“Because if we go ahead and let everybody commercial fish, it’s going to be a big free-for-all. It’s like when you’re at a pow-wow and they throw that candy out there for them kids, they’re all going to come running—they all want a piece of that.”

If they do not have an enforceable plan in place we are going to be looking at a repeat performance.

I think they should allow their members to do a limited commercial harvest. It is part of their history and a good way to generate some income. But they have also shown that at least one of them doesn't understand simple economics since he saw where some restaurant is selling walleye dinners for $26 a plate so he thinks they should sell walleye fillets for $5 each.

What a mess. I hope they get it worked out, not just for the sake of Red Lake itself but for the Red Lake band people because they deserve better.

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Before you guys get bent out of shape, remember one thing...

WE set our rules on this side.

Something to remember is that YOU guys have fishing opener, we never had an opener because we could fish all year round. So just because the state fishing opener is approaching, doesn't mean that WE are going to go at the same time, plan or no plan.

When they say the clock isn;t ticking that is what they mean, we don't have to have a plan by that date.

As far as I remember the fishing meetings began last year, but with what happened to us in March, alot of other things didn't get the attention they needed.

So keep that in mind as well.

I am not defending these guys you are quoting, I see your point about having a plan in place, but we don't have to follow your timeframe, but based on what I know, there will be a vote sometime in May, on what to do.

I for one do not like the idea of doing the same thing that got us here in the first place. There is one part in that post on top about an Elder and his teaching, that hit me hard.

I like rod n reel, and made a joke about only netting if it were like this guy I saw on the discovery channel who was tossing his single net out into the ocean trying to catch some fish... grin.gif

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Haven't posted in quite a while, but I think this is a good post.

First off - I agree - there is no reason for the tribe to get in a rush about deciding what to do with the lake. Better to go slowly and make the right decisions. The walleyes have made a great recovery - this doesn't mean there has to be a "gold rush" to see who can cash in on it the most.

I don't know if it is possible to manage the whole lake as both a sport fishery and a commercial fishery. We already have Upper Red being managed as a sport fishery - with slot sizes and limits. On the other hand, if the tribe goes only with hook & line subsistence fishing, there is no income being generated, so where will the funds come from to manage the lake? (There is also probably no way the tribe would ever even get close to harvesting their quota with only subsistence hook & line fishing, so there probably also wouldn't be much of a need to worry about it.)


If the tribe returns to commercial netting, the commercial fisherman should be paid enough so he doesn't have to put the fish on the black market in order to make any money.

Enforcement and monitoring of the lake will be the key - on both sides of the lake.

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I don't see anyone getting bent out of shape. I agree with you about the timeframe, but my point is that whatever is decided needs to be enforceable or it will bring on another problem. It is already obvious that there are netted fish being bootlegged now. Enforcement is the key and it is a big part of what created the problem to begin with.

I disagree with you about the netting. I believe that the lake can stand some netting, and it is part of the heritage of the people. I think-- if it is carefully regulated-- it should be allowed to continue on a carefully controlled basis. Maybe a compromise should be that it is only allowed for subsistence. However, I also see the point of the person who talked about how good it made him feel that he was able to support his family doing something he enjoyed. No one is going to get rich netting if is controlled the way it should be, but possibly a few families can provide a good income within the bounds of good conservation and have the satisfaction that comes from working hard and being rewarded for threir labors.

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Kids are the future not walleyes. After what happened last year,and with school and basketball games getting cancelled lately. I would think walleye limits would be the last thing on the Red lake nations mind.

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I disagree Fish On i think the lake can and is commercial fished by hook-and-line. A family can go out in an evening and say catch 50 walleye at say $5.00 a fillet that is i pretty good nights work. The fish are fresher and more desirable then netted. They may eat some fish but the fish mean cash. Walleye fillets are very desirable and in big demand. Netting cant be controlled the area is to big. Nets can be set at night and picked up at daybreak. The reason the are having meetings in Duluth, Mpls is because every Tribe member can come up and net no matter where they live.

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I think Halad is right - commercial hook & line fishing is probably the best option. Re-open the processing plant and pay a good price for fish caught on hook & line - then it could be open to all tribe members instead of just a few and also could be utilized for subsistence.

That's my two cents - for what it's worth - which is not very much... laugh.gif

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I like the part where they blame the BIA for not protecting the lake - from themselves!

I also think that they need to be careful about how they penalize white fisherman that cross the line. Mark the line properly, then catch and fine whoever crosses it. Seizing thousands of dollars worth of equipment for an honest mistake just creates hard feelings and bad publicity.

I do like the fact that they're trying to come up with a plan that lets everybody enjoy the benifits of Red Lake AND IS SUSTAINABLE. Lets hope it works. If they blow it, it sets everybody back into the poverty scale for another 15 years.

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Ogema – I was seeing it as an US thing and not a YOU or WE thing. Since we share the body of water I would expect that in the past six years, our respective governments would have figured a way to collectively share in its comeback – everyone invited – but invited each as the law allows.

I guess I’m frustrated. I know Red Lake is a sovereign nation capable of making its own decisions – on its own timetable - but people are people. In May, when the people on the east end of URL are whooping and hollering over their two walleyes, the people on the west end and on lower, are going to want to join the party. They’ll be frustrated and I think they will find a way to go fishing. It will be like trying to hold the kids back from the candy in the pow-wow example (see the Red Lake Net News article). This is an excellent opportunity to start fresh – it seems ill advised to start out with a situation that encourages cheating.

In a nutshell what I’m saying is this: The Lake is all of ours to take care of. We’ve all had six years to plan. May is coming soon. It doesn’t seem fair for the east end to get there first we should all arrive together. We should be governed by science. We should learn from the past.

If I’ve identified correctly the teachings of the elder you refer to in your post, his statement reads, “If you make a mistake, and you learn from it, then that becomes a teaching and there will be no repercussions for that. But if you make a mistake and you make it again, that’s when repercussions will happen.”

I say indeed to that.

It’s not about how many game wardens – there will never be enough. It’s about setting rules and then following them – each man and each child. It’s about learning to be embarrassed not clever when cheating. It’s about integrity and honor. The biologists may not have it exactly right, but better minds have all the technical data on which to base decisions. Ask the biologists what is sustainable then implement the suggestions and punish the offenders - Don’t ask the fisherman! Meetings are fine – it makes people feel like they had input – but in the end it’s all about science, and numbers, and sustainability.

I’m well aware of the problems your nation has suffered – It’s the kind of stuff that can tear a community apart. But the show Always goes on and the clock Always ticks.

Turn the heat up on your leadership. Have them make, and enforce, wise decisions. If your leadership can’t get their act together in time to match our opener then buy a license, bring your rod and reel, and come on over and fish the other 16.8% of URL.

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I am not too worried about what some individuals say during the planning process. Anytime there is a public forum on anything anywhere you have to deal with the knucklhead factor look at all the (Contact US Regarding This Word) that show up anytime we have an election.

Obviously having the Lake managed as a whole would be better than as two seperate entities. If it appears that one side is going to screw up the population it feads the less scrupulous fisherman on the other side to 'double dip' or keep loading the freezer etc. Why protect our side of the line if the other side isn't doing there share...

It is nice to have insight and other prospectives to think about. People should be free to voice there opinions just like we are here. If we rip people to shreads because we don't agree with them it will encourage them to keep the door closed and no more public forum. The more we talk and work together the better we will both be.

In the end both sides are looking at protecting the lake and hopefully that will happen. Lets not get to concerned about comments made during the process.

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First off to the guy that said we should watch how we punish white fisherman, I must tell you one thing I have learned about the whole Upper lake issue. I hope to not offend anyone as that is not my intentions.

When I read the treaties, our Chiefs said after much pressure, that they "wish to lay out a reservation here and keep both the lakes as a whole"

When they went out with the surveyors, the upper part was lost because if you look at the old map of Minnesota, it had both the lakes on top of each other. Am I not right?

Secondly to grafitti, why are you frustrated? You are set to go in May, why waste time worrying about when we make our decision?

I just came from the COuncil meeting and heard them say alot of things got lost in the shuffle after March 21, we got hit with a million things after that.

We can fish right now, just cant keep the walleye, so who's to say we cant whoop and holler with you, our elections are in May and by the way it sounds there will be a vote on what to do with the lake then.

I am running for a spot as representative of my district, so I am turning up the heat on my leadership.

I am not bitter about the past, so dont get me wrong, I can say that I strongly believe that NOONE wants the lake to get back to where we just came from, so don't worry about that part of it.

Happy Fishing to Ya'

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Ogema- I have another question for you. I hear you talk about the treaty and I know it has been stated on this site more than once. How do you feel it is fair to uphold some of the treaty by laws that were made in the 1800's when it comes to fishing? For instance when the treaty was created boats and nets were made by hand. There wasn't motors to cruise from spot to spot. Why should we live by that treaty when it is outdated? I wonder this cause I know how I feel and I just would like the othersides perspective on it.......Technology has come along way since the 1800's which has made alot of the thinking back then obsolete!!! IMO. Curious to read your reply...Thanks

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OK, first I agree things have changed since then , no doubt. Why live by them, because of what was given up for them. Look at the land base all aorund this country that was acquried through this treaty process, about 100% of this country.

I personally would love to renogotiate these, and get a fair deal from them, as I feel we got the shaft. What would be your suggestion?

I'd love to get all the land back and start over. Imagine that?

It is fair because of the promises made by the US government in exchange for the land mass. They came to us and said "we know whats best for you..." they even used men of God to persuade us into believing them.

Have you ever read any of the Treaties...?

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I appreciate and look forward to your comments. This forum is in need of someone from the band to give us some answers. As far as punishing the white men, hey we do a pretty good job punishing ourselves without any help. If we spent as much time cleaning up our own backyards, green lakes, as we do coveting yours we would be much better off. Please don't be put off on the negatives and keep us informed on what is going on. Thanks

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Yes Sir, and I hope noone gets put off by my posts, as I am just one person, who has some thoughts, and felt the need to answer alot of questions I saw on here.

The people who talked about the actual fishing and all the beauty around that are the ones I commend, it's the ones who care more about the limits, the treaties, the imaginary line, etc, that got it all twisted.

I used to live in the Metro area, and there is nothing like smelling the lakes and clean air that all the trees give off, enjoy life, and this beautiful area we live in.

Don't sweat the small stuff, you'll forget to enjoy the beauty in life...

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Ogema I have studied the relationship between the indians and the whites in the 1800's in great detail and I have read some of the treaties. I know about some of the brutalities that happened towards the indians, and I have also read historical records about some of the unbelievable barbarianism that took place towards whites by the indians and even upon their own people. Stuff I gaurantee you have not read in your textbooks. Particulalry the blackfeet and the sioux but also by the Commanche and the Arikara. There was a good reason they were referred to as savages. If it weren't for the Whitmans, Jedediah Smith and other missionaries, it would have been a lot worse so don't go blaming the "people of God" either. Don't even go there. Let's just all get over it. It was really ugly, and both sides have things they really would rather forget. I say it is time to forget them and start looking at this as "we" instead of "them and us." The victim mentality will only bring you down, not up. I believe the people outside the reservation are ready to put the past behind and move forward. How about the people inside?

Red Lake can be a model for future accomplishment if we work together and look forward instead of backward.

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I only responded because I was asked by someone about why honor treaties.

I play no victim role, I have figured out how to prosper in this society.

I will not defend the brutality that took place, or cry about how bad we got it.

I would never have even brought it up, if I wasn't asked by the guy up top...

As far as the "men of God" I meant no disrespect, just that it was interesting that they used them.

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First, Thank You for posting.

I have a question that is off the subject a little.

Has the Red Lake Tribe ever considered opening the reservation part of the lake to anybody that wants to fish there? I would think that the Red Lake community would flurish if this were to happen. Just think the business that would come to your area. Hotels, Motels, Resorts, restaurants, and the Casino that is already there would make plenty of money to support the tribal needs. The tribe could still be in control of limits and landings on the lake. Maybe open one landing that is operated by the tribe and charge $10.00 to use it. Heck, Charge $20.00 to use it. You could make it guided by native guides only. There are reservations on most of the large bodies of water in Minnesota. Leech, Winnie, Lake of the Woods, etc. These lakes are not closed to fishing for non natives

The tribe has the right to do what they want with the land and the lake. I just have always wondered why they wouldn't want to profit from it in a way that does not involve commercial netting?

Looking forward to your answer.



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“Secondly to grafitti, why are you frustrated? You are set to go in May, why waste time worrying about when we make our decision?”

Ogema – Good Question! I made a poor choice of words. What I meant was disappointed – Disappointed that we couldn’t use the restoration effort to form some kind of ongoing and friendly relationship with the lake and our neighbors. We need only look to Iraq, and to the hostility between the Shiites and the Sunnis, to make an analogy that cooperation between people living in the same state isn’t all bad. I’d like to see a good relationship arise from the cooperation we have exhibited these past six years. We all wanted walleyes so we fixed the problem together. It seems only a few more steps together might just fix another.

I wasn’t aware that the Nation had issues with the boundaries as drawn but I reckon those issues will survive me. Any attempt to re-draw that line will just drag us neighbors further into unfriendly territory. Don’t forget, we have smart bombs! (I’m trying to be funny here!) I really love that lake when it’s not windy – it’s like a trip to the ocean – I wish one day I could see the whole thing from my boat. I understand your attachment to it now and historically. Did you know that combined LRL & URL are the largest lake, all in one state, in the nation?

We can’t go back to 1492 – Europe and other nations wouldn’t have us! The only direction we can go is forward. Thanks for stepping up here and posting your thoughts Ogema. Good luck (I think??? I haven’t seen you position papers.) in your quest to represent your district. Just keep the Sunni/Shiite, Tutsi/Hutu, and other ethnic lessons (present or historic) fresh in your mind. No good came then or now for those struggles. We can carve out a friendship here in the 21st Century if we try.

The world would be a whole lot rounder if everyone would do their homework and show some rudimentary knowledge in their posts. Facts and discussion bring understanding and compromise. Shouting gibberish just deepens the divide.

You can’t keep Walleyes huh? Wanna buy some? I just might have two in a few months! Smile. Smile. Tee-Hee!

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Ogema the fact that you think the missionaries were somehow used is what baffles me completely. Not sure what kind of revisionist history you have been reading to come up with a statement like that. Do you think that Marcus Whitman took his wife across the plains and through all that indian territory and all the dangers that they faced to be used by someone other than GOd? They went of their own free will and not associated with anyone but the churches who backed their efforts to bring a message of peace to the savages.

This was a difference of worldviews not a matter of one group using another. Everything the whites did was based on a worldview that God was sovreign and in control of the destiny of man, had nothing to do with anyone using anyone, it was how they viewed the world. Look at the US constitution.

I do not want to hijack this thread with this kind of rhetoric but how can I let a statment so far from any semblence of accuracy go unchallenged?

Bottom line remains the same, let's work together on this. Stringing a net across the boundary line is just as likely to happen as is non-tribe people getting to fish on the res. Ain't gonna happen, so let's focus on what we can do not what we cannot.

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constitution. how can I let a statment so far from any semblence of accuracy go unchallenged?

It's easy... You just don't rant about anything but fishing on fishingminnesota.com.

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Long time viewer first time responding. when i read some of these posts i just had to register and respond.These treaties are law no matter when they were written. Should we rewrite the constitution where it gives us the right to bear arms because we no longer use muskets.I guess most peoples anwser to that should be no.

I am a "indian" not a red laker but ojibway non the less. And i too envy them they have something very very special and i know they will take care of it they wont let this happen again with the fish being gone.

And all this talk about god and missonaries someone please look it up.Bishop whipple,gillifan,John johnson,schoolcraft and others were always there when we made these treaties.I dont think we paid they way to washington or they just showed up at places like praire du chein by accident.

Look at what we the ojibway nation as a whole have left and what we gave up.Now tell me who got the better end of the deal in all this.If you feel cheated maybe we could trade back.

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Welcome to the Forum mplsnative. This Forum is about fishing and this Topic is about the walleyes in Upper and Lower Red Lake. Lets try to stay somewhat close to what we were discussing. If we wander off into Treaty issues we could get lost there. confused.gif

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ogema Just courious to how the fishing is on the other half of the lake. Are they getting any big crappies. grin.gif

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First off to the guy that said we should watch how we punish white fisherman, I must tell you one thing I have learned about the whole Upper lake issue. I hope to not offend anyone as that is not my intentions.

When I read the treaties, our Chiefs said after much pressure, that they "wish to lay out a reservation here and keep both the lakes as a whole"

When they went out with the surveyors, the upper part was lost because if you look at the old map of Minnesota, it had both the lakes on top of each other. Am I not right?

Interesting about the old maps and surveyors, I'd never heard that, I'd always wondered why they had sliced Upper Red in half, but two wrongs don't make a right, its bad PR when a wandering fisherman is 'raped and pillaged' because of some old grudges. It just creates bad feelings on both sides. Mark the line so there are no mistakes, create a set fine, let it be known what it is, and that it will be enforced, then no one can complain.

By the way, if you followed either shoreline west, is there a sign marking the edge of the reservation?

Back to the surveying of the reservation line, its lucky that theres a reservation at all. How many reservations did Genghis Kahn leave behind when he was conquering all of Asia and most of Europe? None. Not saying that to cause a fight, just stating a fact.

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The "Line" across URL moved in I believe the 50's/60's. A judge ruled that a line should not go across a lake at an angle but should be straight north and south. confused.gif It used to leave the south shore at the edge of the Reservation and hit the north shore at Ditch #30 where the edge of the Reservation was on the north shore. The "Line" was moved to North/South. We lost a triangle of lake 4 1/4 miles by 11 miles. For 4 1/4 miles on the north shore we have the land but the Red Lake Nation has the water. There is still hard feelings around here about that.

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