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Lake Bemidji waterfront Stop Treaty Abuse rally set for Friday

Activists encourage enrolled tribal members of the Leech Lake and White Earth bands who wish to demonstrate their off-reservation fishing rights to participate in the "Great Anishinaabeg - Fish Off Reservation" to join a rally at 1 p.m. Friday, May 14, at the Lake Bemidji waterfront park.

The object of the rally is to protest "abuse and neglect of the 1855 treaty with the Anishinaabeg by the state of Minnesota."

In 1855, the Chippewa of the Mississippi, which include Leech Lake and White Earth bands, ceded to the United States 13 million acres. The representatives of the U.S. and the American Indian bands signing the treaty never ceded the rights to hunt, fish, and gather on that land. As part of the 1999 Mille Lacs Supreme Court case, the Court ruled that "the Anishinaabe usafructuary rights in the 1855 land cession treaty were never abrogated." The of Minnesota Department NR has demonstrated a consistent pattern of harassing tribal members from the White Earth and Leech Lake Indian Reservations who have never stopped exercising the off Reservation treaty reserved rights. The time has come to send the message to Minnesota officials.

Participants in this demonstration may receive a citation for violation of law. Counter protesters may be present. Human and civil rights observers and peace keepers will be on hand to assure a safe and secure environment for the exercise of treaty rights. A fish fry will be held in Diamond Point Park at 3 p.m. after the rally and Fish Off.

Organizers said in a press release that ceremonial and powwow drums, Eagle Staffs, tribal veterans and all others concerned about equal implementation of law are encouraged to support this effort. All citizens who know they will be attending the rally and Fish Off are encouraged to participate in non-violence training.

While it is hoped that no problems arise, it is best to be prepared. Regional print and broadcast media will carry announcements for non-violence and peace keeper training sites and times.