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RETIREMENT On the cover Wildlife Biologist Peter David encountered this spiny softshell turtle in Vilas County Wis. near the Manitowish River. Use caution handling spiny softshells should you assist one crossing a roadway. They have a reputation for being aggressive and can inflict painful bites. In Ojibwe Country spiny softshells are generally associated with large rivers lakes and flowages. As their name suggests these turtles have a shell that is soft flat and rubbery. In addition small spines protrude from the edges of their shell or carapace. After 34 years of working with GLIFWC and its member tribes Neil Kmiecik also known as Giniw announced his retirement from the Great Lakes Indian Fish Wildlife Commission. Kmiecik hired by the Voigt Inter- tribal Task Force in 1983 as a fisheries biologist worked tirelessly to protect andmanagethefisheriespopulationson inland-Ceded Territory lakes. In 1992 Kmiecik was promoted to the Direc- tor of Biological Services overseeing the Inland Great Lakes and Wildlife sections. Neil was here at GLIFWC when the Commission was in its infancy and the spearing controversies in northern Wisconsinwereattheirworst.Herecalls the power of the drum and the spirit that guidedAnishinaabeg through these hard times. Giniw worked methodically and thoughtfully throughout the years to make sure tribal members from all the member bands could exercise their treaty rights. Neil played a lead role in the establishment of the Waabanong Run to Washington D.C. in support of tribal treaty rights and eventually the Heal- ing Circle Run which promotes the ideology that healing begins with the individual. The Healing Circle Run connects GLIFWC member tribes and promotes healing and healthy living through ceremony exercise talking circles and of course laughter. Aside from his regular duties Giniwalsocaredformostofthespiritual items that GLIFWC has been given and instructed to use over the years. On April 7th Neil was honored at the Voigt Intertribal Task Force meet- ing in Lac Vieux Desert. A short video tribute from friends co-workers and family set the stage followed by tribal representatives adorning him with gifts andkindwordsofthanksforhisservice. RepresentativesfromFondduLacgifted Neil with a bundle and a buffalo hide a very high gesture and sign of respect. KmiecikamemberoftheStanding RockLakotatribewillmostlikelyusehis retirementtospendtimewithfriendsand relativesandtowatchESPN.Mosthave agreedthatGiniwwillstillbearoundthe Commissionwhetheritsforhisbiologi- cal expertise or his vast knowledge of traditional practices. Giniw remains an iconic figure at GLIFWC and with the Bands for his dedication and relent- less service to Anishinaabeg and to the resource. By Dylan Jennings Staff Writer Neil Kmiecik with a beaded medallion one of the retirement gifts presented at the Voigt Intertribal Task Force meeting April 7th. Jen Ballinger photo Fond du Lac Band fisherman Spencer Otis prepares a gillnet at Lake Vermillion in the Minnesota 1854 Ceded Territory on April 27. Fond du Lac members targeted walleye on the sprawling 39000-acre lake but the harvest yielded a variety of fish including some impressive inland whitefish measuring in at nearly six pounds. Tribal conservation officers and creel teams monitored the harvest counting and measuring every fish taken. Brian Borkholder photo Upper Michigan Lac Vieux Desert LVD opened their spearing season onApril 15 but things didnt get too busy until the weekend ofApril 23-25 when spearers on Lake Goge- bic yielded 1951 walleye a whopping 58 of their total declaration for that lake within three days. Overall LVD harvested 5835 walleye and 10 muskellunge as of May 3. Of that 4211 came from Lake Gogebic over a six-day stretch. KeeweenawBayIndianCommunityKBICFisheriesBiologistGeneMensch reported that KBIC members have harvested 457 walleye from the Portage Lake system as of May 3 but due to restrictive weather conditions including prolonged ice cover and a wind and snow event in late April harvest has been difficult even cancelled some nights. Finally in the 1836 Ceded Territory Bay Mills ogaa spearers found limited success at the conjoined Crooked-Pickerel Lake in Lower Michigan harvesting 35 fish. In the Upper Peninsulas Little Bay de Noc region Bay Mills members took to the Escanaba and Rapid Rivers where they speared a combined 243 walleyes at press time. Justin Carrick Bay Mills Conservation Department also reports that tribalfishersonGichigamitappedintoafairsmeltrunusingone-inchmeshgillnets. GLIFWCChiefWardenFredMaulsonindicatedthatthe2016seasonhasbeen a relatively safe one with only one incident in Wisconsin wherein the wardens had to assist with a boat rescue in LCO. KBIC also saw one incident this year onApril 17 wherein a snow wall was put up obstructing access to the ramps at a major launching point on the Portage Lake system. It did not impede the opening date. Miigwech to all those who offer tobacco to the water spirits and set out in a goodwaytosafelyharvestogaaandprovidesubsistenceforourtribalcommunities. All figures are preliminary and reflect totals as of May 3 2016 Continued from page 1 1836 1842 Ceded Territory yields ogaa harvest in Michigan MAZINAIGAN PAGE 2 SUMMER 2016 GLIFWC Ogichidaa retires after 34 years