Conference Overview
"Minwaajimo means 'telling a good story,' and that's what the symposium did — record the story of tribes, of tribal members, of GLIFWC's first twenty-five years as the treaty rights were recognized and implemented in the mid-1980s to the present. It is a story of challenge and change, an evolution through conflict to cooperative management and recognition of tribes as valuable contributors and co-managers of ceded territory resources."
Sue Erickson, Mazina'igan

The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) celebrated 25 years of preserving Ojibwe treaty rights on July 28-31, 2009 with the “Minwaajimo—Telling a Good Story” Symposium at the Bad River Lodge, Casino and Convention Center in Odanah, WI.

The three-day symposium was structured with morning and afternoon presentations which created a forum for dialogue that gave participants the opportunity to join in formal and informal conversations around the past and present issues. The symposium featured rarely heard perspectives and stories from people involved in the treaty rights struggle which gave the general public a look into the ever-evolving conversation about Ojibwe treaty rights.

The symposium was structured around four focus areas:

Legal Issues & History Panel

This panel delves into the various court cases in recent times that helped reaffirm treaty rights in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. Panelists explain how key cases were crafted and brought through the court system, why self-regulation was designed the way it was, and how GLIFWC emerged as a result.

Natural Resource Management Impacts Panels

This panel explored two areas: harvest impacts and co-management. Both clarify the facts and data behind the biological impacts of treaty rights implementation and the overall implications for natural resource management in the ceded territories. Panelists discussed GLIFWC’s contributions to co-management, stressing key natural resource and environmental programs, key players, and their lasting importance.

Social, Economic, & Political Issues Panel

This panel explored how implementation of treaty rights took place over the last 25 years in the face of the myths and misconceptions that fueled anti-treaty movements and stirred unfounded controversy. The claim that treaty rights harmed tourism was examined within the context of the changes occurring in the sport hunting and fishing industry nationally.

Tribal Communities

This panel expressed the importance of modern-day treaty rights affirmation and implementation to tribal communities. Panelists emphasized the significance of treaty rights, their vital role in the tribal communities, the inter-generational transfer of knowledge, and the establishment of tribal court systems through the reaffirmation of tribal sovereignty.

Tom Maulson Tom Maulson, Lac du Flambeau, speaking at the “Minwaajimo” Symposium, 2009.
(Note: Each speaker section includes: photo, biography, speech excerpt, downloadable pdf of full speech, and each Youtube video link.)