Lake Nokomis

     Both Michigan and Wisconsin treaty commercial fishermen experienced a backlash to treaty rights in the early 1970s involving verbal slurs, threats and damage to equipment. This carried over when the inland treaty rights in Wisconsin were first implemented in 1984.


     A strong, negative public reaction stemmed largely from several groups that formed in opposition to the treaty rights. Some of these included Equal Rights for Everyone (ERFE), Protect Americans Rights and Resources (PARR), and Stop Treaty Abuse (STA) in Wisconsin and Proper Economic Resource Management (PERM) in Minnesota.protesters


     Propagating misconceptions and organizing public rallies in opposition to the treaty rights, especially spring spearing and netting, these groups frightened local citizens by saying the resources were going to be destroyed along with property values and businesses.In Wisconsin they encouraged and organized active anti-Indian protests at boat landings, which turned ugly, racial and dangerous. (See Moving Beyond Argument link below)



     After enduring years of racial harassment and slander, the protest movement was finally curtailed following a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against STA. In 1994 Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that racism motivated the STA protest activities. Also serving to quell the protest was the 1991 Casting Light Upon the Waters report based on joint federal, state and tribal fishery assessments. The report concluded the treaty fishing activities did not harm the resource. As a follow-up to Casting Light Upon the Waters, the Joint Fishery Steering Committee released Fishery Status Update in 2013.




A Guide to Understanding Ojibwe Treaty Rights, 2006 edition, published by GLIFWC


Chippewa Treaty Rights: The Reserved Rights of Wisconsin's Chippewa Indians in Historical Perspective by Dr. Ronald Satz, 1996.


Moving Beyond Argument: Racism & Treaty Rights, published by GLIFWC