The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the state of Minnesota have formalized an agreement to manage the tribe's hunting, fishing and gathering rights in northern Minnesota.
The agreement, established in an 1854 treaty, has been in place informally for decades, but a memorandum of understanding filed Friday by state and tribal leaders "reinforces practices the band has exercised," Gov. Mark Dayton and tribal chairman Kevin Dupuis said in a prepared statement.
The memorandum of understanding presents no significant changes to state hunting and fishing regulations.
It does, however, outline how the state and tribe will work together to monitor harvest levels for fish and wildlife as the band exercises its off-reservation hunting, fishing and gathering rights.
"The exercise of our hunting, fishing and gathering rights under our 1854 treaty is central to the lives, culture and traditions of the Fond du Lac people. It is "inaadiziwin" — our way of life. Because of the critical importance of these rights, the Band has worked extensively to ensure proper management of the natural resources on which those rights depend," Dupuis said in a statement.
"We are very pleased that our work on these issues, and our history of coordination with the state on natural resource matters, allows us to now formalize those processes in an MOU with the State of Minnesota."
Tom Landwehr, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, confirmed that the public will not see significant changes in hunting and fishing regulations.
"The [agreement] allows the State of Minnesota and Fond du Lac Band to effectively manage individual harvests, resolve disputes, and coordinate on projects," he said.