Minnesota tribal members plan protest for fishing rights

Tribal members from two Minnesota reservations plan to fish with spears and gill nets to call attention to fishing rights they believe were guaranteed by a treaty signed more than 150 years ago.

White Earth tribal member and attorney Frank Bibeau tells Minnesota Public Radio that White Earth and Leech Lake members plan to go out on Lake Bemidji Friday, the day before the state’s official fishing opener. Bibeau says the protesters want to get cited or arrested and then press the issue in court.

Tribal members tried a similar approach three years ago. A confrontation near Brainerd led to charges but no changes in the state’s position that it’s illegal to gillnet off reservation.

Minnesota wildlife officials said in a statement that “state laws will be upheld.”


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org