Discussion: Tribal fishing rights

Here is a discussion with a friend of mine, AFE, about whether centuries old treaties that allow Native Americans to fish without bag limits can work in the 21st century.

My words are in italics, his are not.

Tell me what you think…. I just updated it…

Interesting. I wasn’t aware of the WI situation. But as always, there are 2 sides to every story:



Good stuff. I am sympathetic with everyone here.

The treaties that allow the tribes to hunt and fish without restrictions are 150 years old.

But they’re valid.

That’s the problem. When they were made the technology of spear fishing was different and also the necessity of subsistence fishing for the Native Americans has changed since then. But it is valid and it is law, so instead of trying to stop the people doing what they legally do, the change has to come in changing the law or entering into new treaties. Simple enough… not.

Ok. Good thoughts.

I wonder if VT still has their pike shooting season. It was still going a few years ago. Not just for natives, anyone could play.

Never heard of that…

I remember reading about it when I was a kid and then it resurfaced in the media several years ago.

Pretty cool stuff. If it doesn’t hurt the resource I personally have no problem with it. Same with the WI spearing.

Same. But in the articles you sent there is a theme of assimilation, and equal treatment under one set of laws, and cultural identity.

The chippewa and odjibwe negotiated to keep their hunting and fishing rights on their ancestral lands.

They gave up the land itself, but not those rights.

Now we want to change the terms on them again.

My view is that the American citizens who are living there ought to be happy with the part of the deal that allows them to live there in the first place.

And not get crazy about tribes that seek to preserve their traditions.

The Chippewa and the others need to realize that the past is past, long over.

No valuable traditions are being preserved by spearing unlimited numbers of fish today.

It’s like hunting caribou, snowmobiles and high powered rifles aren’t part of the tradition.

Are they using snowmobiles or other technology to take more than they could have 150 years ago?

Because the issue is their claim to the resource more than anything.

And it is a valid claim.

They claim they are not bound by seasons and bag limits. It’s the 21st century, people should join it.

But the tradition isn’t for us to define. What is essential to the Chippewa is to fish and not be bothered by Americans.

They negotiated for that.

I can’t fish New York without paying 3 times what state citizens pay for a license…

Its the rules.

And what if a landowner negotiated with the King of England centuries ago for ownership of a river?

Rules change.

It’s a matter of simple reality. No one in the USA has to survive by subsistence fishing & hunting. It’s a matter of choice. That choice shouldn’t be a burden on others or detrimental to the resource…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *