DNR Confiscates Fish Caught By Dakota Indians

By Susie Jones, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than 20 Dakota Indians netted for fish out of season in Cedar Lake in Minneapolis to assert what they say are rights guaranteed by an 1805 treaty.

The protest came one day ahead of the state’s walleye season opener. One organizer who’s a retired professor from Southwest State University says they want to be charged so they can take the case to court.

“Honor those treaties because it is the supreme law of the land and by honoring the treaties you are honoring your own U.S. Constitution,” Chris Mato Nunpa said.

Tribal members put nets in the water at about 8 a.m. and pulled them out about a half hour later.

DNR conservation officers confiscated the fish and took information from those who’d caught them, but didn’t issue citations.

Barry Frantum wants his 4-year-old daughter to understand and value the tribe’s history and traditions.

“It’s good to support her relatives, and understand what it is to be a Dakota Indian,” he said.

After the protest, they shared a meal on the shores of Cedar Lake.

WCCO’s Susie Jones Interviews Barry Frantum

More from Susie Jones
  • Sara in Outstate MN

    In 1805 very few people lived in Minnesota/Dakota territory, it was basically Fort Snelling. Now, MN has over 5 million residents. However, I am sure the treaty will still stand.

    However, if no arrests or citations have been issued based on a treaty in 1805, then the State of Minnesota considers this a non-issue. Why is this a story?

    Oh….they want attention.

    • stubby

      Hit the Indians where it hurt…start building state-run casinos.

    • Welch

      I think that the DNR should leave the Dakota alone. They are not hurting anything. They are beautiful people and we all could learn a lot from them..I am happy for everything that they have, and sad for what they lost long ago..God Bless..Love one another.

    • An "Indian" teacher

      The indigenous people (otherwise known as First Nation, Aborigine, Inuit, etc.) here were organized and had their own government and entered into a covenant with the United States FEDERAL government long before MN was organized as MN. There is no expiration date.

    • Alison

      If no citations were issued based on the long ago signed treaty, when then were their fish confiscated? And of course they want the attention- if you believe in something, don’t you want support from others? Are we criticizing them for their beliefs or just because they are “indians”? Make up your minds, folks.

  • eye roll

    A publicity stunt! How shocking!

  • Judy

    Very simple!! If your a sports man or not, stop going to the casinos.
    they say are americans? why can’t they follow our laws. the
    red lake indians cleaned out the lake and had to shut down fishing.
    that should have taught them something about netting!!

    • cook

      it wasn’t only the red lake indians that cleaned them out it was the greedy white men too do your research

      • Patricia Winterfeldt

        they also turned that lake around with 10yrs…do you see that happening in the rest of Minnesota. UMMMM no they to stupid to close the lakes and let it come back…Why cant you follow our laws of the land they were in place FIRST and they work. Red Lake is a prime example. The white people are the ones destroying this earth not a few Native people netting some fish. Get a grip and get some facts straight. I know the facts i see it everyday… for 1 native netting there is 50 white people on these lakes taking fish… Red Lake allowed commercial fishing for income for their people. The rest of us do it to feed our families. get your head outta your arse and do some research before you attack people you know nothing about.

        • TJ

          10 years huh??? LOL Only 10 years?? Wow, that not very long. Commercial fishing destroyed the lake..period. Nets catch 100’s of fish, anglers can keep how many??? And must only kepp fish in a certain slot……. and nets are not selective to size. Lets ruin a resource over greed…. NOT

  • legs

    I agree….forget about the Indians having exclusive rights to Casinos…there is our tax deficit!!! Plus do they support the ones who don’t live on the reservatgion??? NO!!!

    They should not be allowed to have netting rights!!! We are allowing a 200 plus year ols treaty govern this state????

    • Mitch Walking elk

      You’re also allowing a three hundred and five year year old constitution govern you. Honor the treaties you made for once and then you won’t be having to deal with the “Indian problem.” Unfortunately, we will probably always have to deal with living in an “Occupied” land “our land” by immigrants and the descendants thereof. It’s no wonder the whole damn world hates America with your George Bush mentality, American arrogance and ignorance. The good thing about these kinds of issues is they along with everything else they do, they serve to expose the racist mentality that is disguised by labeling them politics, that still exists in this country. We know that your business is “taking, stealing, robbing’ and justifying it with “your” illegal laws. You and those of your mind set will have to deal with the consequences of that. So prepare for it.

      • TJ

        This isnt about racism, this is about equal rights. Always have to flop the race card…..

      • Patricia Winterfeldt

        Mitch Walking Elk…we can attempt to fix ignorance but there is no way to fix stupid. Some people just can’t be taught..they hate what they dont know and jump on media train and that is it. we know who is destroying the land and its not our people.

      • BArry

        Well Said Mitch!!!! HOKA!!!

      • Joe

        Native Americans should learn something about public relations.Do you expect white people to patronize casinos when you hate us so much.I personally would like the state to stay out of the casino business and let the NA’s have control of it

    • Mike

      Hello? They were kicking your great grandparents nads, hence they gave up and signed a treaty. Like it or not, the treaty stands. As for netting on Cedar, they did the right thing and left it alone

  • Eric

    Was Minn even in the view of America at the time of Lewis and Clark? Oh BTW Fort Snelling wasnt started for at least 20 years AFTER this allegged treaty. Maybe the tribes should build the new Vikings stadium and make some real cash there instead of giving it all to their members. It could be a great investment in our state.

    • Carl Pollad

      Everyone knows that building a stadium is a losing venture that’s why every owner basically tries to get the state to foot a portion if not all of the bill when it happens.

  • gtV

    Why? Why is this treaty rights[?] issue rearing its ugly Hydra-like political head again? What cogent ecological, political, sovereign[?], spiritual, and resourceful gains or benefits do the Native American tribes gain by fishing out of season and inciting discriminatory hatred &/or rhetoric?

    Isn’t about time the “all” Native Americans individuals and tribes consider themselves “Americans” like the rest of us? We all are one ‘united’ people under one Constitution and laws as such. Our Constitution guarantees equality and justice for all. Yes, the system maybe a bit stressed at times but it works.

    Where in the Constitution and US Statutes does it say that any ethnic group has the right to countermand the laws of the land? In this instance, the individual state’s regulatory powers and/or regulations regarding natural resources or fishing rights? If we, Americans all, are considered citizens with rights guaranteed by the Constitution then why are treaty covenants which were applicable at that time of enactment now still enforced today? What cogent and realistic purposes are these law-breaking acts serving for the good of society?

    Isn’t time for all concerned to learn from the injustices of past history and progress toward the future in harmony? Idealistic, maybe, but we are all Americans and be respectful of each other as such.

    • Mr. Mustache

      Lick me you tree hugger.

    • M B

      I agree.

      It’s not about having their rights guaranteed in treaties, it’s about finding their ways to make the white man pay. I worked with a guy that had a cabin near Red Lake up north. There are parts he was not supposed to fish in, but could travel through, under treaty of course. On the shores he found big fish, netted and stacked like cord-wood, just rotting. All harvested under their “Treaty Rights”.

      If they claim to be environmental stewards, why would they endanger their own future harvests, except if they are trying to punish the white men?

      Granted, this is a different tribe than that of Dakota, but it still shows a disregard for the land they supposedly protect, while trying to prove a point to the white men by essentially saying, “we don’t have to obey your laws, can do this while you can’t and we’re going to make sure you know it.”

      The out of season netting is unnecessary to their survival and all this does is breeds resentment and lowers fish stock, because the reason there’s a fishing opener at all is to allow the fish to spawn first. If you harvest fish early, that’s one more possible female that didn’t spawn.

      The need to be a different society in this day and age seems so archaic. Instead of trying to become part of US society, some try to isolate themselves and live under the persecution complex. It’s a complicated thing, but with all the problems they are facing by trying to remain separate, it doesn’t make sense.

      • Mike

        good one MB

        • Jamie

          You say why don’t they become part of our society in this day and age. Well let me give you some examples of why they do not trust us and have issues with “conforming to our way of life.” THey shouldn’t have to. They are considered their own Nation. What part of that do you not understand?

          Their kids were taken away at around 6-7 years old and did not return from the boarding schools until they were 18 or so. This was to get the savage out of them. THis happned well into the 1990’s and even have two schools open today. Also in the late 70’s to 80’s early 90’s the government doctors would steralize 30- 55% of the native women without their consent or knowledge. There are way to many stories to mention on here, but I am sure if you go on line you will find a few of them.

          Read your history. THere are over 5oo nations of Indians in the USA. Each is seperate, and have signed different treaties with the US government. And Mystic Lake band does support and donate alot of money to the local towns, organizations and local economy’s. Even though back before the casino local police, fire, and EMS would not even go out there because of the poverty.

          A treaty is a treay. It’s like saying Spain signed a treaty ever 100 years ago giving us FL, PR, the Phillipines and a few other spots and no coming back and wanting them back. Why? Well because the treaty was signed so many years ago.

          People learn your history before making such ignorant, uneducated responses. You look like a fool.

          Oh and I am a sportmans, grew up in MN, served in our military, OH and white.

          • for real


            Wake up the police, fire, and ems didn’t go out onto the reservations, because they couldn’t. It is a nation within a nation. Therefore they were responsible for their own police, fire, ems etc.

        • gtV

          I agree also. Beyond all the racist ignorance, rhetoric, political correctness, and past historical misalignment’s it’s time to be a united people as the American society we strive to be. This last paragraph [from M.B.] mirrors what many of us feel. It’s not about forgetting one’s cultural heritage or culture but living as the American society we are meant to be. “E Pluribus Unum” says it all!!!

          …”The need to be a different society in this day and age seems so archaic. Instead of trying to become part of US society, some try to isolate themselves and live under the persecution complex. It’s a complicated thing, but with all the problems they are facing by trying to remain separate, it doesn’t make sense.”…M.B.

  • Whitey McCracker

    Yeah thats right hit the indians where it hurts.. steal all their land give them no rights sign treaties that will never be upheld, continue their genocide, starve out what little land they have and eventually “our little problem” will go away. only then will lakes in minnesota be free of the indian infestation……

    • jfkldsaa

      you are disgusting you white supremicist. Ihope you get whats coming to you soon for all your hate!

  • gman

    If outsiders came here tomorrow and took our land & culture and killed us if we fought back, I sure freaking hope my great grandchildren would be protesting in any way possible 150 years from now. This is a great country but it was also the product of genocide, forced removal and slavery. The shadows of that reality are still with us.

    • Cyndi

      It was a war…they lost. End of story.

      • dave rowe

        Lost , but not whiped out completely, thus…treaties were signed!

  • Carps

    After all we’ve done for the Native Americans, this is how they treat us! Sure we signed a legal contract with them in 1805, but that was so long ago. That is even older than the treaty we signed with Mexico about that Texas, New Mexico, and California thing. We need to stand up and defend our precious Cedar Lake carp from these .. …. oh never mind.

  • super d

    The Indians should be thankful for what they have, it could have been worse. I have a solution. Agreements made in the 1800’s are clearly outdated, including our constitution, which gets updated all the time. All the native americans should give up quest to remain a sovieregn nation, become us citizens, pay taxes, stop recieving special assistance, they can hang on to their heritage and religeon just the same as everyone else does in america.

    In return: we will give them the exclusive rights for all gaming in the state of mn. If they refuse, build all the non-native casinos we want, where we want, and see what they have left after that!

    • BOB


    • mike

      SOunds mysteriously like democracy.

  • kevin

    just remember the democrats were the ones to give the native americans the exclusive casino rights.

    • Cyndi

      Actually no…it was the legislature and last time I looked that had some republicans and even some independents in it. But isn’t it fun to play the blame game? You must have learned that from Faux News.

    • blah blah blah

      so hate democrats too right because they gave it to ‘them’ and we dont like ‘them’?

  • sw

    What I don’t understand is why do they net 1 day before the fishing opener? It is almost like they want the confrontation and publicity. Why can’t they do it a week before or a week after? Why cause unnecessary problems when they could be avoided alltogether?

  • Kent

    It is in the treaty..They have the right.
    Kind of bad timing however, with all the gambling issues coming up.

    • holes

      Who signed the treaty and did they have the authority to do so since Minnesota wasn’t even a state then? Why should it be recognized by the State of MN when it didn’t exist then?

      Can the Native Americans produce a copy of this treaty to prove this or is there even a treaty?

  • Lance & Cindy

    This is why 72% of Minnesota wants to stop the monopoly of Indian casinos. Thanks to these 20 fools more people will want to take it away from them. We were opposed to state casinos but after this we will be working to promote them. Have the fish, we are going to get your cash!!!

    • bob

      YOu are soo full of it. You were oppsed from the beginning Lance and Cindy. They are their own nation so deal with it.

      • TJ

        If they are their own nation why are they using US Federal tax dollars to pay for all their court cases?

  • http://chickeninabuscuit.wordpress.com voicefreason

    Come on! They are conservationists! They did a responsible job up on Red Lake! Oh wait…. Maybe not. But heck, how many miles of hill nets can they fit on this little lake?

  • Paul

    Time for the racino. Indians think because there relatives a hundred years ago pitched there tepee under an oak tree by the river the tree is sacred place. My relatives bought Nantuckett Island from the Indians years ago. But that doesn’t give me claim to his home now,

  • Kevin

    Our anscestors basically stole these folks anscestors land by forcing them off of it, by forcing them to make choices they didn’t want to make, by conquest.

    I wonder how many people would like it if someone came to their home tommorow and told them they had to get out, and oh yes, in exchange we’ll let you catch a few fish, shoot a deer or two, and you can set a few traps.

    Let these people have their treaty rights, and don’t be so fast to accuse them of stealing from us because it was us who originally stole it from them in the first place!

    • Chris

      Remember that the natives were not here forever like they want us to believe…

      The immigrated to North America a couple centuries earlier = recent history.

      They came here looking for better hunting grounds, instead of Mongolia…

      Why don’t they go back and protest in Asia and see what kind of reception they get!

      The world is a fluid place with ever-changing societies and always will be…

      What do you expect the world to look like in another 200 years?

      The natives should be weighing their options more carefully…

      They won’t admit it, but their lives are better than they were 100 or 150 years ago…

      They hide the tragic side of their earlier existance, as it was not glorious!

      It was a hard struggle for survival and they should be teaching their kids that.

    • Whatever

      My ancestors were still back in Denmark and Norway so stop telling everyone it was our ancestors that stole from them. It may have been yours, but it wasn’t mine. Mine came over in the 1880’s.

    • Cyndi

      And again I say…it was a war and they lost. Do any other nations give privileges to a group of people because they defeated them in a war? Why? We won the war and yes it was a conquest. Why do we have to apologize for that? I don’t understand it. Maybe we should give Britain something for beating them in the War of Independence….or maybe the north should give the south rights of some kind. What’s the deal?

    • Mike

      And….. conquest is called that for a reason…

    • Is Kevin feeling guilty?

      My ancestors didn’t steal anything. My ancestors came here in the 1910’s well after someone else stole it from them.

      And *you* didn’t steal it either. Stop referring to “us” and “we” when no one posting here was even alive then.

    • TJ

      Stole it or won it through fighting wars for it?? Back then people fought for land, indians drove indians off their lands fighting with each other. Maybe the Dakotas should sue the Chippewas for land that was taken from them as well???

  • Lee North

    Could the next step be hunting deer year around in the metro parks ?

  • Fatty McCraken

    It’s fine, give into their treaty rights but I remember hearing somewhere that at the time these treaties were signed we, the inturders of their great lands, had a law on the books that said something to the effect of “A gathering of three or more indians could be considered a war party and be fired on”. Hows that sound for upholding the old way of doing things?? Also, I’m all for it if they decide to do things the way their ancestors did. Birch bark canoes, hand made nets and spears with teki style torches for lighting. Not $40 thousand dollar bass boats, halogen spot lights and gill nets.

    • bob

      Fatty McCraken,

      That law was put in place after the Dakota War of 1862, not 1805.

    • Artist36

      Well said Fatty! One only needs to drive past the re3servation in Prior Lake to see the million dollar mansions and billion dollar casino to understand these redskins were left very well off!!! I grew up in Shakopee and went to school with many from this reservation. Every one of them was a spoiled rotten troublemaker. And I don’t believe a one of them made it past the ninth grade before dropping out or landing a lengthy jail sentence. Its in their blood- thinking they are above any laws, Yet they use our roads every day and probably our postal system as well.

      • see a hater point 'em out!

        haters. thats one word for you all…

    • Mike

      I concur.

    • Cowboy

      well said !!!

    • BPPD

      So what are you gonna do ? Go shoot a group of Native Americans now? Is that a threat?

  • EDO

    Should of played cowboys and indians just a little longer…

  • Mike

    More difficult than that, as the tribe knows as well.

  • L

    i am tired of this netting isnt fishing what happened in 1805 wasnt my time and i shouldnt be paying the price for whatever happened stop deleting our lakes

    • Tim

      I didn’t know they are deletiong lakes???? Now that is another issue all together

  • Boozhoo niijii

    Typical…take what you can’t have(casinos) and take back what you once promised(treaties). When will people have enough respect for themselves and their fellow brothers and sisters to stop the greed, hate, and pettiness that damns us all.

    • tj

      Why cant we have casinos???

      Wouldnt wanting exclusive casino rights be concidered greed?

      And contracts are renegotiated every day and these treaties are way out dated and need to be brought up tp current environmental and equality standards.

  • Laurie

    The DNR did their job? All this to prove a point. I hope they released the fish back into the lake. To take them as evidence is disgraceful. As an animal lover, I protest!

    • Yeap

      The fish were probably dead by then though.

  • Big Deal

    Fishing is not a means like it used to be for survival for food. Give me a break, the only reason they like doing it is to get attention.

    • Laura

      Well I sure hope they don’t plan on eating them – if they’re pulled out of Cedar they’re chock-full o’ mercury & other contamination anyway. You want THAT for dinner? I’d rather net a bison….

      • Kim

        They don’t usually eat them anyways, they sell them!

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