Editorial: A fair deal for Michigan tribes

"Michigan natural resources must be conscientiously respected and carefully managed. The same is true of the government's promises to the first people of this region, American Indians. A hunting and fishing agreement among five tribes, Michigan and the United States would protect property rights, allow the state to manage fish and game and honor long-standing treaty agreements with native people.

Considering the volatile history of relationships between American Indians and the state when it comes to tribal hunting and fishing, that's a major accomplishment. The consent decree deserves quick approval from U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen, who will have final say.

The agreement traces back to an 1836 treaty between the U.S. government and five tribes: the Grand Traverse Band; the Bay Mills Indian Community; the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians; the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians; and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. In the treaty, the tribes ceded to the federal government land that became the western half of the Lower Peninsula and the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula.

Judge Enslen should see the decree for what it is: a fair deal. American Indian tribes were in Michigan thousands of years before European settlers arrived. The 1836 treaty recognizes that history by granting special standing and privilege to the tribes. This consent decree recognizes that the best way to honor those obligations is to work together to manage the amazing resources we all share."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Fair game (The Grand Rapids Press 9/30)

Relevant Documents:
FAQ | Consent Decree

Relevant Links:
Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

Related Stories
Michigan to announce treaty rights settlement (9/26)