By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

GARRISON, Minn. (WCCO) — The battle over Native American fishing rights across northern Minnesota is about to heat up again.

“Perch are usually the sign of the end,” explained Chippewa netter Mike Herberg.

On the shores of Lake Mille Lacs, Herberg is pulling perch from his gill nets.

Five days ahead of the state’s fishing opener, he and other band members are exercising their court-granted fishing rights. Since 2000, the Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians has been legally harvesting walleyes before the state fishing opener under a case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Herberg is well aware it’s a sensitive spring ritual, so he keeps a low profile.

“I try not to get too involved politically, just try to bring fish home for my family,” said Herberg.

But for as long as the tribal members have been spearing and netting the egg-laying walleyes, hook and line anglers have expressed their dislike of the practice. They believe taking the fish in this method and at this time is harming the lake’s precious resource.

Already, the state has been forced to impose strict fishing and slot limits on Mille Lacs to help balance the harvest by both the Chippewa and sport anglers.

Last May, just a day before the fishing season was set to begin, noted fisherman Steve Fellegy decided he would put these “exclusive rights” to the test.

“I was cited for taking a fish during a closed season,” Fellegy explained.

When prosecutors in Beltrami County refused to charge several Native Americans in Bemidji with illegally harvesting fish outside the treaty area, Fellegy tested the law. He’s now fighting a $160 misdemeanor ticket in District Court.

Fellegy’s case puts the state in a tough position. If charges against him are dropped, it could encourage others to take fish before the state’s fishing opener.

But if Fellegy is convicted, it would surely launch an appeal of the Constitution’s equal protection provisions under the 14th Amendment.

The tournament angler and area guide insists he wasn’t looking for a fight. But rather he hopes to force lawmakers to take a serious look at a constitutional guarantee.

“In the process I’m asking basically how you can be cited for taking a fish during a closed season during the same period of time that there’s 60 some tons of walleye being harvested by U.S. citizens like me?” said Fellegy.

Comments (123)
  1. captainobvious says:

    Poor old engines, 1st we try to get our own casino, now we want you to act like a human being, not a walleye processing plant.

    1. Tom Willard says:

      C’mon! It’s a time honored spiritual ritual. The ‘Fish Fry’!!

      1. pss says:

        yes let the poor indians take ALL the walleyes that the Minnesota DNR stocks the lakes with and leave none for the other Minnesotans Thats not fair to the non-indians so I say f-the treaties they are not fair to us who stock the lakes maybe the indians should pay for stocking ALL the Lakes in MINNESOTA

        1. PssBck says:

          @pss – ALL of tthe walleyes you speak of that you think the MN DNR stocks YOUR lakes with actually come from Tribal Fisheries/Lakes within OUR reservations, so don’t feel so proud about providing the poor indians anything. Fair? you ask . . . learn some of your United Stated history and you would read of the unfairness to Native Americans by the hands of illiegal immigrants such as your ancestors, oh and as for the fish, you are welcome.

          1. Gordy says:

            Very well stated! Agree completely!

          2. pss says:

            Pssbck you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground ! maybe you should check again the Minnesota DNR stocks the lake from the Minnesota DNR Fisheries ex Frenck River

            1. PssBck says:

              @pss – Profanity is another sign of your ignorance. Only a weak and uneducated mind is to blame for not being able to convey your ignorance in a more civil manner. Have a great day!

          3. TJ says:

            really?? they come from Tribal Fisheries?? LOL You should read up on history of how many people in time have been pushed from their lands and scattered abroad. We cant change history. However we can keep moving forward and all BE EQUAL. It happend along time ago and it has no direct impact on anyoen currently living. It was well over 100 years ago. Time to move on. ONE NATION, UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, yet we are dvided by some reservation boundry lines.

            1. Learn the Truth says:

              The MN DNR only stocks Muskellunge into Lake Mille Lacs, not walleye. Here’s the link to the report:


              As for being equal, the tribes are granted their hunting, fishing and gathering rights based on them ceding their land for this payment. It’s spelled out in a contract called a treaty. It is very similar to the State of MN retaining the mineral rights to property sold in MN so they can harvest minerals from property even though they are not the owners.

    2. northernmnmom says:

      The native had the right to fish anywhere they needed to . thwe treaties gave them that right when our land was stolen. Many more rights were never returned!1 The native fish for food for their families , elders and other tribe mamber not for sport as the great “white hunters and fishermen” do. It is not wasted and used for fun!!

      1. successNOT says:

        Dear Crack addict this is the fish they use in the casino also, so sad you think netting is better than sport fishing

        1. Learn the Truth says:

          You need to do some more research. The fish served at any casino needs to meet the health and safety standards of the Food and Drug Administration and any fish caught on Lake Mille Lacs would not meet those standards. The fish served at most restaurants in this area, including the casino, comes from food service packaging companies like Upper Lakes Foods. They get their fish from commercial fish hatcheries in Canada.

          And yes, netting is better than sport fishing as the mortality rate from catch and release of sport fishing is higher than the allotted poundage quota all the tribes are even allowed to take from the lake. That to me is a bigger waste.

    3. BarryG says:

      I have NEVER done anything wrong to a native American! Why should he be able to do something I can’t? If we both pay our taxes….it’s not fair! Just sayin!

  2. Jon Knudsen says:

    What about all the nets they lost? They’re still in the water killing fish and creating a hazzard for boaters!

    1. Learn the Truth says:

      @Jon Knudsen
      I will continue to say it until people learn to do it: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH before you speak. There are not any nets lost, so how can they still be in the water killing fish and creating boating hazards? Here’s a link to the local paper to help you read up on the issue:

      1. TJ says:

        Disclaimer: Mille Lacs Messenger is not a good sourc on this subject. They get alot of advertising dollars from the local gambling facilities so they view and reporting is a bit lopsided.

        1. Learn the Truth says:

          And you have proof the Mille Lacs Messenger is biased to show us to validate your disclaimer? No? So why make the accusation if you aren’t going to prove it?

  3. lphilipps says:

    The indians are raping that lake…

  4. jim says:

    Just give them the firewater.

    1. clvgb says:

      Careful, jim, your bigotry/ignorance is showing again.

  5. greg says:

    Give the natives the entire lake. let them have it all. When they net it dry and theyve destroyed the resource we can buy it back, cancel the treaties, restock and build it back up the way it used to be. Then ban all netting. Make the rules the same for everyone then. In the meantime the lake has other fishing oppertunities like small mouth, muskies,pike,crappies, perch.

    1. Learn the Truth says:


      I have to laugh at this mentality as it was the same mentality the state had when the tribes first started negotiating their gaming compacts. “Let them have their casinos. They won’t be able to run them properly and the state will have to step in and fix this problem, We can then cancel the compacts and the state will have their own casinos.”

      Now see where that mentality got you? Everyone is now yelling it’s not fair the tribes have a monopoly on casinos as the tribes have proven how profitable casinos can be. So yes, let the tribes have the entire lake. Close it to public angling. I honestly don’t think they would argue.

  6. PMH49 says:

    I have always wondered… Did the ancient ways include outboard motors, incandescent lights, nylon nets? I would object less to ancient tribal rights if they were done without modern equipment. Ancient fishing would not have had the impact on the resource that modern fishing does. I would think that some sort of compromise that involves the Native Americans fishing without metals or plastics could be fair to help them keep their heritage, but not rape the lakes.

    1. Jeremy says:

      Wow, really? But non natives are allowed to advance technologically but no one else is? Typical saying for the ignorant! By the way, non band members are allowed almost three times as many pounds as band members.

  7. greg says:

    I have never taken anything from anybody!!! Rather I give. I purchase my fishing liscense, donate to the MN DNR and that is what keeps the lake stocked with walleye. If the non-native people didnt do this for the lake, the natives would have it cleaned out in no time at all. So really its not a matter of race,but rather a matter of fact.

    1. greg. says:

      @greg – sorry greg, your wrong, as are most people on these posts. The MN DNR is not your savior after all. I would love to spend the next day or two educating all of you on this matter, but your government probably wouldn’t want to pay me for something you should’ve learned in elementary school.

    2. TJ says:

      Lake Mille Lacs is not stocked, it relies soley on natural reproduction which is another reason that netting during the spawning period needs to end.

  8. JEFF says:


  9. swerver says:

    To quote you “you wouldnt be happy if we went around teaching native american indian children white people are crackers or honkys” Don’t be afraid to admit your an engine, so many of you indians comment on here trying to hide your a chief. Have sone pride I know its hard these days to be proud of being Chief dragging knuckles. what does m,ass fishing with netting has to do with surviving in the woods

  10. Justine says:

    I love this…………..To have someone else stand up for Natives other then ourselves just made my day! A little understanding goes along way. I wish more people would stop and view things through the eyes of others once in a while 🙂

    1. To Justine says:

      Pay attention hes an indian, acting like he’s a honest working human being instead.

    2. greg says:

      Justine…. my wife is native and she will back what Im saying. Its not about standing up for one race or another. Its about doing what is right for everyone and the resources. The lake would be empty if not for the money and effort the MN DNR put into this lake. With out the white mans money and knowledge the natives would net the lake out in no time at all. Facts and fairness is what this is about and why Fellegy is testing the boundries.

      1. tiredandretired says:

        My wife is also a native and she thinks spearing and netting, especially during spawning, are unwise practices. Her major concern is for the lake’s ecosystems, as these practices disrupt the natural balance.

      2. Alejandro says:

        Hey Greg the white man only has money ’cause he wouldn’t let the native earn or let them educate themselves. they showed up to school & you cut there hair & made fun of them. you try getting an education like that to make your white man $

  11. Sam I am says:

    Apparently you haven’t been to a reservation lately. Live off the land my ass – they live off the government.

    1. Jeremy says:

      you are truly an idiot! .

      1. Jeremy says:

        I replied to Justine, this comment was for her, or him.

      2. Jeremy says:

        This comment was to Justine

  12. kvig says:

    So true!!!! This isn’t the native americans fault!!!! I am white and my sons are 1/2 sioux, when they fish they are fishing by the rules of the treaty that was created by our u.s. government.. My Lord, what else do you want from them!!?? Why don’t some of you open a book and read about the history and the treaties of the Native Americans and learn something about what your talking about!!!!

    1. Sporty says:


      So true!!!! This isn’t the native americans fault!!!! I am white and my sons are 1/2 sioux, when they fish they are fishing by the rules of the treaty that was created by our u.s. government.. My Lord, what else do you want from them!!?? Why don’t some of you open a book and read about the history and the treaties of the Native Americans and learn something about what your talking about!!!!

      Kvig… Are you talking about the very same treaty that says that a group of 3 or more Indians found off the Rez. is to be considered a war party and can legally be shot. Maybe you need to read that book you were talking about yourself ?

    2. tiredandretired says:

      I respect that they are fishing by the rules of the treaty, but why is it unacceptable to sit down and re-negotiate those rules, in the best interest of our natural resources? We palefaces abide by many laws that have replaced laws of the same vintage as your treaty. Why? Because change for the common good was necessary. The old laws no longer were appropriate, as situations changed. If you are truly respectful of nature, you should be willing to consider appropriate revisions in light of how our natural resources have changed.

      1. Native_Tax_Payer says:

        I am a native and personally opposed to netting and spearing but I would defend any natives right to do it. The tribe did try to negotiate a settlement but the state of Minnesota rejected it. I think most of the people posting comments need to take a little time and read up on the facts.

        In 1993, this proposed settlement between the Mille Lacs Band and the state was voted down by two votes in the Minnesota House of Representatives, after it had passed the Minnesota Senate.

    3. married to the truth says:

      Or is it the book that says no liquor is allowed on “reservations” Or is it the book that says each reservation will be supplied with a blacksmith, carpenter, and a doctor. Go back to cashing those 30k bi-weekly checks from mystic and stick to it. After all state wide gambling is on your door step so you guys better find a new way to live and be one with the land 🙂 Good day!

      1. Alejandro says:

        you;re probably from one of the scared kaisers that left ’cause the stalins were coming from you. he that runs scared can not scare

  13. rich l says:

    The tribes should be able to take as many fish as they want for their own consumption,not to give away,or sell like they do and not during spawning time(thats just common sense),nor should they net or spear just because they can during this time to prove a point

  14. Peterson says:

    When the practice is depleting resources it should be looked at.

    Also, as a Swedish-American, I am offended by any references to Vikings. I think the Minnesota football team should change their name to something less offensive to me.

    1. tiredandretired says:

      The Vikings were Norwegians, weren’t they? LOL!

      1. Victim Du Jour says:

        The Soviet Union has Viking origins too, Scandinavia and Russia also stole land from Native Indians too, just like Canada, Central and South America.

        And yeah, The Minnesota Vikings sometimes associate the name “Viking” to sucking really bad.

  15. Paul L says:

    In 1854, the Chippewa of Lake Superior entered into a treaty with the United States whereby the Chippewa ceded to the United States ownership of their lands in northeastern Minnesota. These lands are the so-called “1854 ceded territory.” Article 11 of the 1854 Treaty provides:
    “…And such of them as reside in the territory hereby ceded, shall have the right to hunt and fish therein, until otherwise ordered by the President.”

    1. dan says:

      Sounds like its time for the President to speak up!

  16. Duane says:

    The comments directed at a poverty stricken community are shameful. The fact of the matter is that netting takes only 5% of the total harvest-the rest is taken by a bunch of beer swilling tourist that race around on overpowered and overpriced fishing boats that leave invasive plants and other species that cause more damage then the natives ever did.

    1. tiredandretired says:

      Duane, I don’t own a big expensive boat and I don’t race around the lake drinking beer. I always check my rig for weeds and other hitchhikers, too. Stereotyping in any form is offensive.

      1. Duane says:

        By the way-there are some fisheries that ARE being restocked by the tribes, and yeah- I know a lot of respectable fishermen that are responsible and respectful of the lake and of the laws but then take a look around you next time you are on the lake on opener and tell me what you see-believe me, I see it too.

    2. married to the truth says:

      Your comment is a metaphor in relation to the SMSC. They do exactly what we do to “your” lake only they do it on land! So what were saying again?

      And the 5% number is correct but we “the whites” do not harvest egg filled females. YOU DO! So that number is impossible to to just say X percent. Think a little, it goes a long ways.

    3. Really? says:

      Poverty stricken? Come live up here for a while. While income might not be real high for doing nothing, they have no expenses.

      1. Really. says:

        @Really? – No expenses? Please explain how somebody, anybody, could live a decent life in this country and have no expenses? Cars, houses, land, grocery stores, shopping centers . . . you don’t see that “up here” everyday? You probably just now choked on your tongue, most ignorant people do.

        1. Really. says:

          Many of their expenses are paid for by the band. Housing, food, school supplies, etc. No ignorance. Facts.

          1. Duane says:

            Well-hate to break it to you but you are ignorant-I am a half blood native american and I have never been on welfare, I have always had a job, I own my own house and my kids get good grades and are active members of the community. My wife(also native) WORKED her way through college and she had the loan debt to prove it. I am betting you can’t say the same- because all I hear is ignorance.

    4. TJ says:

      Have you been to Mille During the netting Duane Bigsky? Have you seen the rigs being used to net?? Talk about some big fishing noats…..

      Poverty stricken community that the giverment pumps millions into for them to destroy??? You ever been to Detroit?? Talk about poverty stricken….

      Real fishermen arent bear swiggling tourists, you must be referring to the recreational boaters…..

      If you have any valid input, let us know.

      1. Duane says:

        I see, any input that doesn’t line up with your point of view is invalid. More ignorance! The government doesn’t pump millions into these communities-no more so than they pump into your community. Yeah-Detroit is also poverty stricken and I bet if you lived there you would be making some rather ignorant remarks about that community too. Obviously you have no idea about the social and economic effects of poverty or any idea about what you are talking about when it comes to this issue-you have to resort to making more ignorant and insulting comments-

        1. TJ says:

          The federal government pumps money into my community?? LOL Lets see it. There definately is not federally funded housing in my community. County/State Roads I will give ya, but they have those in some of the reservations as well.

          1. Duane says:

            You have no HUD housing in your community? No one is unemployed or on Welfare either? No subsidized programs? No social workers? There are no grant funded law enforcement or educational institutions or public schools in your area- spouting more IGNORANCE.

            1. TJ says:

              Y yes I suppose….The tax payers get back some of what we pay in through taxes. The point is they say they are a sovreign nation, then why are we pumping money into them?

              1. Learn the Truth says:

                Even though the tribes are sovereign nations, they are still part of the US and as such are just as eligible for services through the federal government.

                But what does this have to do with fish harvesting rights?

  17. Randy J says:

    I would have no problem with the Native americans taking the fish by net if they would strip the spawning fish and create a fishery to help the lakes. The way it is now the fish are taken while spawning, reducing the natural ballance of the lake. All people need to take a acctive part in the managing of the lake, Case in point Red Lake.

    1. TJ says:

      Gill netted walleyes are dead, they cannot be stripped.

      1. Learn the Truth says:

        Not all gill netted walleyes are dead when they come from the net, but the tribal conservation code doesn’t allow for the eggs to be put back into the water anyway, so it’s a moot point.

        1. tj says:

          Most are dead, are they not? Of course a few fresh catches are still alive.

          1. Learn the Truth says:

            No, most are not dead and are still trying to get free of the net long after it’s pulled from the lake.

  18. Wild Bill says:

    I’m am NOT a native American, I’m a 17 year old junior in high school in the twin cities. I don’t have enough NATIVE AMERICAN in me to say I am but I have some in me.

    Go ahead and call me an engine, only goes to show how uneducated you are “swerver”…. At this point, I rather be one! I’m disgraced to be “white” by the actions of many toward such a fine culture as the Native Americans have.

    What’s next, your going to call the African American community a racist slur because one robbed a bank?

    Are you going to call the Mexican Americans a slur to because they take all the jobs you think your too good for?

    How about the Asian Americans? Are you going to call them names because they are smarter than you?

    I will be the first on the lake with my father, see you there “greg”… IF you even show up!

    We don’t keep what we catch, it’s all catch and release. Rather than blame a small number of Native Americans, why don’t you blame the THOUSANDS of tourists that fish that lake…..

    Justine, I’m glad I’m not the only one who can look beyond ones own selfish thoughts.

    1. Bill says:

      Does your mommy know you are on the computer so late on a school night?

  19. roger loidolt says:

    it takes 3 wardens 2 find a guy with a fish 1/4 in2 long and fine him thy take tons of fish with eggs running out and no big deal real substainable yah they get federal money a casino 18 in mn.alone tax free good roads and actcess 2 them no land tax no car liscence and more we mention a state casino and every one gets bunchy wow wake up

    1. clvgb says:

      You sound like a pretty smart guy, Roger.

  20. White Lady with Big Stick says:

    Why does it immediately have to become a race issue? Isn’t the real issue the fact that the netting of fish is emptyng the lakes of the numbers of fish?

    Why not charge a licensing fee to those netting fish and use that money to evaluate the damages caused by netting (or lack of damages). Or, at least put a limit on how many they can net in a year. Other hunters/fisherman have limits to what they can take home. If the people netting fish are taking that many fish what are they doing with them? Are they really eating all that fish? If they are limited to only what they can eat in a year why wouldn’t that make everyone happy? By charging a licensing fee, like all other hunters and fisherman have to pay, an income can be made and used to figure out ways to prevent the netting from eliminating the numbers of fish. Or what if they are restricted to when they can or cannot net fish – maybe restrict all netting during the times that the fish are spawning.

    If each side would just work together for a solution, each side could be happy with the results.

  21. Learn the Truth says:

    You all need to learn more information before posting. Did you know the tribes negotiate their quota of harvest with the MN DNR and other agencies? Wait, you didn’t even know the tribes had a quota? Yes, that’s right. The tribes are only allowed to harvest a certain amount of walleye, northern and perch every year, same as regular anglers.

    Did you know the catch and release fatalities from line and hook angling kills more fish per poundage than the total harvest amount allowed by the tribes (all of the tribes)? No? Did you also know the MN DNR has never restocked Mille Lacs Lake with walleye? Also, did you know, the tribes with the fishing treaty rights also pay for the biology research done every year to help determine the safe harvest levels for the lake, including the amount set for regular anglers and the amount set for the tribes?

    Everyone here needs to do some more research before spouting off your ignorant comments as your comments only make you appear to be racist. Yes, there is a group of people in MN who have different rights granted to them by a contract signed by the government. It’s very similar to you having a 4% interest rate on your mortgage, while your neighbor has 5% or 3%. It’s all based on contracts agreed to by all parties. Because you’re not a party to that contract does not make it illegal or incorrect.

    1. der says:

      It says in the article they have a quota, so wow way to enlighten us

      1. Learn the Truth says:

        Please show me where in the article is states the tribes have a quota? Yes, it states the tribes are legally harvesting, but it says nothing about the quota the tribes are held to. It talks of the slot limits hook and line anglers are bound by, but nothing about the poundage amount or safe harvest limit for Lake Mille Lacs. Or am I missing something?

    2. TJ says:

      Your going to compare special rights based on race to your neighbors mortgage and you are telling people they need to research??? HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA. You are a funny guy. You should tell Martin Luther King JR that one..

      1. Learn the Truth says:

        As I said before, these are rights granted to the tribes as payment for their ceded territory. It has nothing to do with race and everything to do with the contract signed by sovereign governments. This contract is called a treaty and if you actually did do some research you would understand this concept. Again, it’s similar to any contract signed by two or more consenting parties, including banks and people who borrow for mortgages. The retained rights are the same as the rights retained by the State of MN for mineral harvesting.

        1. tj says:

          Special rights for a specific group of people, yes they are. Which wont stand any longer under todays equal right standards.

          1. Learn the Truth says:

            Not special rights, but a contract. Why is that so hard for you to understand? This was a CONTRACT signed by the tribes and the government saying if the tribes gave up their land, they could keep their hunting, fishing and gathering rights. It’s as simple as that.

            I’ll tell you again, look into the mineral rights retained by the State of MN. The State of MN is allowed to harvest minerals out of your land if they so choose, but no one else is without your permission. Do some research and you might become more enlightened. If you only see this as a race issue, you will always remain upset when the tribes are continuously allowed to harvest as they see fit.

            1. TJ says:

              Are new contracts not negotiated every day??? Where does it say that this contract is valid for 150 years? This contract is clearly outdated….

              1. Learn the Truth says:

                That’s the same argument the State attempted and the Supreme Court said no, the treaty is still valid. So now trying to force the tribes to renegotiate the treaty just because it was written 150 years ago makes absolutely no logical sense. You say it’s outdated, but seeing as you’re not a party to the treaty, I guess you’re allowed your outside opinion, but it’s not grounded in truth.

  22. DLQ says:

    Stop the netting, period. The few always wreck it for the many. Those few natives who commercially fish with the nets make everybody angry. This goes beyond race, there is always a few to spoil it for everybody.

  23. BPB says:

    I rember a story last year about piles of fish being dumped on privite land, were does that fit into the tribel law and treaty’s. To lazy to process what they take.

  24. ML says:

    Why hasn’t anyone commented on the thousands of pounds of fish that are wasted in unchecked nets (which is illegal) or piles dumped in ditches because they went bad. I’ve seen pictures of this happening. And for LEARN THE TRUTH above: What about the quotas of Northern Pike being much lower than the Walleye quota and if the native american netters reach the Northern quota before the Walleye, they are not allowed to net anymore. My Dad knows Steve from the story above and on the lake in Bemidji, he witnessed 30 northerns thrown back after being caught in nets, all of them died and washed up on shore. They had gouges in their heads from the tool used to get them out of the nets. Why does nobody talk about the waste and only that the natives “follow the rules and laws.” of a treaty that is over 100 years old?! How are those injustices okay?!

    1. Learn the Truth says:

      So your response is you heard from your Dad who heard from someone else about something that happened in Bemidji? Really? When you’re done trying to justify your responses by words from friends of friends and you witness something first hand, maybe then we can talk. Until then, you are but trying to spread rumors, and rumor-mongers are not worth the troll bait to feed you with.

      1. TJ says:

        I have seen it first hand. So lets talk. I can show you some video footage of northerns being thrown back and later washing up on shore.. I suppose you would claim its all photoshopped…..

        1. Learn the Truth says:

          I can also show you data from the MN DNR that shows over 45,000 pounds of walleye are killed through catch and release mortality. Would you really like to start comparisons here? Because I believe a few northerns are nowhere near the waste and destruction of 45,000 pounds of walleye. So yes, let’s talk and we’ll see who has what exactly.

          1. TJ says:

            45000 lbs over a whole season including ice fishing maybe, but I think their estimates are a bit high. But this is also after they are done spawning.

            1. Learn the Truth says:

              And yet, that’s 45,000 pounds dead for no apparent reason, yet we should stop the Natives from netting because they released some northerns from their nets that didn’t survive. By your reasoning, anglers should not be allowed to fish Lake Mille Lacs then either because of the wasted walleyes. And until you can show me proof that the Natives wantonly wasted 45,000 pounds of walleye (31.5% of their entire years harvest limit by the way), then I don’t feel you should say anything. Unless of course the whole point of this was to try and justify why the government should once again ignore a contract signed by the tribes?

    1. Learn the Truth says:

      I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t look like the remnants of 145,000 pounds of fileted carcases to me. Look like the remnants from one net, maybe two. So, because one, maybe two natives decided to improperly dispose of carcases after fileting their catch, we should stop all natives from netting?

      Let’s put this into perspective, shall we? Your Dad is caught speeding, so we should prevent around 3,000 other people from driving because of your Dad’s one illegal act. Yeah, that sounds fair and logical to me too. /sarcasm

      Until you can show me proof that 145,000 pounds of fish carcases are wasted (that number is the allotted amount for the tribes every year in case you were wondering), then you are trying to use one persons thoughtless act against all, which is ignorant in and of itself.

      1. TJ says:

        One or two nets??? Those nets would have had to be left out for many days in a row to get that many fish in 1-2 nets.

        1. Learn the Truth says:

          It’s not unheard of for a net to pull in over 150 pounds of walleye (not including northern or perch) in one night. 150 pounds of walleye at roughly 2 pounds per fish, on the upper side of weight, totals about 75 fish. Two nets of that total roughly 150 fish, if not more, as we both know the smaller walleye weigh about a pound a piece. So yes, that looks like roughly the remnants from 150 walleye carcases. And again, this is in comparison to the 142,500 pounds the tribes are allotted this year.

          Do not base your assumption of all off the actions of a few.

          1. TJ says:

            You are right, this i actions of a few and nearly as bad as it was in the past, I will give you that.

            1. Learn the Truth says:

              What exactly is bad? Our fishing harvest rights? Or is it the fact you cannot have those same rights because you’re not a party to the contract that grants those rights? Please clarify what exactly is bad as I see my fish harvesting as a good thing.

              1. TJ says:

                The dumping of walleyes in the past few years arent as bad as it was in the past.. remember truckloads dumped in ditches along 169 years ago?

                1. Learn the Truth says:

                  Actually, I don’t, but if you have something to show me to refresh my recollection, I would be more than happy to look at it.

  25. Jeremy H says:

    There really isn’t an issue here. The Native Americans are acting legally under the law. Having said that, I think it would be wise to start putting some type of a regulation on how much fish they can net. The majority of people do not abuse this right, but there are some that ruin it for the group.

    Allow them to take a reasonable amount to feed their families, but not enough to completely devestate the ecosystem. My opinion is that the majority of the netters are not taking too much for themselves. Rather, it is a select few that are taking too much for themselves.

    1. Learn the Truth says:

      @Jeremy H
      There is a set amount the Natives can take, it’s called their quota. Just like regular hook and line anglers have a quota, so do the Native netters. The total amount of walleye that can safely be taken from Mille Lacs is 540,000 pounds of walleye for the year with 397,500 pounds going to regular hook and line anglers and 142,500 going for Native harvesting (either netting or hook and line). Here’s the story on the amount:

      As you can see, there are regulations in place to ensure the future walleye fishery of the lake, but that isn’t as news worthy and it doesn’t help with the scare tactics used by people who are against netting.

      1. TJ says:

        But the way this is set up, one guy could go out and harvest 100,000 pounds. You see we have a quota as well, but we also each have a set limit on the fish we can take individually. So as you can see the regualtions need some regulating.

        And news worthy?? I didnt see the news stations up there covering the slaughter while it was happening cause if they did there would have been much more public outcry to see it comes to an end.

        1. Learn the Truth says:

          Wow, are you actually showing some concern for the natives who might not be able to harvest because one person is harvesting it all? Impressive.

          But if that were to happen, don’t you think the natives would say something themselves? I don’t know, just a thought, but if one person was taking it all and leaving none for the rest, I do believe there would already be regulations in place to deal with that.

          1. TJ says:

            My point is simply it need to be more regulated. Each person should have a set limit per season or per day. I dont get what any one person could do with a few thousand pounds of walleye fillets. I believe some of them do it as more of a poke in the eye then to supply for thrit families. Also there are natives that net the walleyes and then try and sell the fillets to others.

            1. Learn the Truth says:

              And why again do you care what the reasoning is behind the natives taking advantage of their harvest rights? Unless you have proof of commercial activities on Lake Mille Lacs (which is illegal and should be prosecuted), then I don’t see where you have a dog in this fight.

  26. WalleyeHunter says:

    If I understand history, the Ojibwa are originally from the northeast part of the U.S. and into Canada by Montreal. If that is the case, the tribe that was here before the Ojibwa, must feel that the Ojibwa are the original “invasive spieces”. It all depends when you want to start history.

  27. TJ says:

    Leatn the Truth, you need to learn the facts.. In the same treaty you want it also states that a group of 3 or more indians is conceidered a war party and you can leagally shoot em. Y dont we get to use our part of the treaty… I know why , it no longer is the right thing to do, just like you raping of a resource. I bet you are from WI tribe too, most of the Mille Lacs band indians I know dont net and are against it. They fish just like the rest of us. Welcome to 2011 USA this is no longer 1837 territories. Time to move on like others have that lost a war….We should all be equal US Citizens.

    1. Learn the Truth says:

      I do think you need to do some research yourself as the 1837 Treaty (the one granting the tribes their hunting, fishing, and gathering rights on the ceded territory) says nothing about war parties. Now if you have language different from what I have, then by all means, share it, but here is the actual treaty:

      As for where I’m from, I’m from Mille Lacs and my family is not against netting, but I will agree that I also fish with a hook and line as well.

  28. Taxpayer says:

    This is a tough issue. Although laws support the treaty rights on Mille Lacs, I have to wonder if it is even in the best interest of the native Americans there to exercise those rights. Over the last decade, the reservation has developed a huge business at the casino that I would guess generates more TAX FREE profits per day than the entire walleye netting catch would be worth per year. In addition, a lot of the Resorts and other properties on Mille Lacs have been bought up by the Tribe or individual Native Americans. They have a vested interest in maintaining the lake as a premiere sportfishing destination.that helps bring customers to the casino, hotels, and resorts, as well as patronage to other business. From a business standpoint, it seems hard to justify risking millions of dollars of income over a few hundred of thousands dollars worth of fish. I understand the concepts of tradition and heritage, I have a hunting and fishing heritage as well, many generations, and my grandfather, great grandfather etc.hunted and fished to feed their families, not just for sport.
    I believe that netting should be banned voluntarily by the tribes on the basis that it is not in their own best interest to allow the fishery to decline to the point where the sportfishing declines or the slots become so restrictive that it ceases to be a preferred destination.

    1. Learn the Truth says:

      Please show me where you have the information to support the accusation of the tribes allowing the fishery in Mille Lacs to decline. Because I have loads of information to show the fishery is co-managed by the tribes, MN DNR and GLIFWC. And if you think the MN DNR would allow the tribes to decimate the fishery, then you are really jaded.

      1. RAYSTAW says:

        learn the truth you need to learn the truth
        1 walleyes were not even considered quality fish in 1837
        the buffalo fish was consumed for its fat contents for survival
        2 parts of the treaty were enacted as temporary privileges
        3 the treaty was also signed to stop the war between the Chippewa Indian and the soix Indian
        4 fort snelling was built in the location to best help everyone including the Indian person
        5 about 1825 the prairie duchein treaty called the utopian treaty
        6 1836 a massive snow October snow storm killed 1/3 the population
        7 1856 or 1855 locust ate everything in sight
        i could go on fore ever of why treaty were signed
        no one ever mentions the Louisiana purchase from the french 1803

        page 36 the history of wright county

        i have talked to thousands of people both pro and con
        i have heard every comment i believe possible
        you need to put yourself in the era of 1825 to about 1870s and try and understand
        but on your last post may 12th 12;47 the cost involved is huge to manage the fishery ,get your check book out and pay for it
        this is as corrupt as corrupt gets
        simple math proves it
        there is at least 10 government agency’s involved in this costing millions of dollars for maybe a 3/4of a million dollars worth of fish
        learn the truth this fight was started in 1975 i have a outdoor life article front page march 1980 almost 40 years ago

        i would gladly challenge you to a open ,no holds bard debate any time any place
        i bet i could get dreislen to give us air time
        my sources are the dept of interior ,the history of wright county ,sherburne county ,hennipen county,
        personnel talks with Carl zappe diseased but probably had the greatest vision on how to solve this mess

        the fishery is already decimated
        and shame on you for keeping the individual Indian person enslaved by the federal government
        the bottom line it is not a management issue,, its a social issue
        purchase the hate we all pay a price
        one question for you why doesn’t the sandy lake band able to share in its riches of the casino, after all they are part of the milacs band
        i will agree that most the post are out of innocence ignorance
        come to my house and i will show you fact upon fact
        God i could go on fore ever of how wrong you and most people are too
        and what this is really about, i don’t like the redneck post either
        just study in 1993 the the dept of interior beuraro of Indian affairs had a 6.3 billion dollar budget and they couldn’t account for 2.4 billion dollars
        AND TAKE MY CHALLENGE no spell check
        ps i bet you watched gun smoke and bonanza on tv do you really think life like that in the 1800s sorry my friend
        you are only hurting the Indian person and allowing greed and corruption to flourish for a few i feel so sorry for you

        1. Learn the Truth says:

          “1 walleyes were not even considered quality fish in 1837
          the buffalo fish was consumed for its fat contents for survival
          2 parts of the treaty were enacted as temporary privileges
          3 the treaty was also signed to stop the war between the Chippewa Indian and the soix Indian
          4 fort snelling was built in the location to best help everyone including the Indian person
          5 about 1825 the prairie duchein treaty called the utopian treaty
          6 1836 a massive snow October snow storm killed 1/3 the population
          7 1856 or 1855 locust ate everything in sight
          i could go on fore ever of why treaty were signed
          no one ever mentions the Louisiana purchase from the french 1803 ”

          The language from the treaty is this:

          Article 5. The privilege of hunting, fishing, and gathering the wild rice, upon the lands, the rivers and the lakes included in the territory ceded, is guaranteed to the Indians, during the pleasure of the President of the United States.

          There is no expiration date, so barring the President of the US changing this right, the tribes have the right to hunt fish and gather in the ceded territory. So please, show me where in the treaty the hunting fishing and gathering is limited to what you feel should or should not be included, as the language looks pretty cut and dry to me.

          “this fight was started in 1975”

          And that statement right there proves the tribes point of how ignorant the disagreements are concerning treaty rights. This is not a fight. It should never have become a fight, but certain people refused to recognize the fact the tribes were granted specific rights with their treaty as payment for their ceded territory. It’s that simple. It’s a contract saying for this land, we pay you this right, yet ignorant people like you have turned it into a fight because god forbid the natives have something you don’t. Get over your feelings of equality as there is nothing here to do with inequality. It is a contract and I don’t know how many more times I can say it or show you that before you finally realize there is only more included in this because of people like you who continue to add more to the argument.

          “the fishery is already decimated
          and shame on you for keeping the individual Indian person enslaved by the federal government
          the bottom line it is not a management issue,, its a social issue”

          Many, many issues with this statement as you claim first the fisheries is decimated although the safe harvest level is over 500,000 pounds of walleye. Then you go on to try and shame me for keeping the individual indian person enslaved by the federal government, yet it appears it was the Mille Lacs Band themselves as a tribe that fought for these treaty rights to be upheld, so to me that states these are rights the tribe wants. Third, you claim this is a social issue; well hate to tell you this, but this is a CONTRACT between two governments, no more, no less. It is people like you who attempt to make it a social issue, but as you’re not a party to the treaty, you fail miserably.

          “one question for you why doesn’t the sandy lake band able to share in its riches of the casino, after all they are part of the milacs band”

          There is no federally recognized Sandy Lake band. There are Mille Lacs Band members who reside on the original Sandy Lake Reservation, and those band members receive the exact same services, per capita payments, and every other bonus given to all Mille Lacs Band members. Now if you have information showing differently, please, share it with us. Otherwise, you are once again trying to turn the debate into something it’s not.


          And lastly, I do not want the tribes to get their land back. What I do want is for the tribes to be allowed to utilize their rights guaranteed in the sale of the land without having to continuously defend themselves to idiots like you. This is a contract with specific payment agreements for the land. Now, since the tribes are actually using those rights, you all jump on the bandwagon of how the tribes should stop, although not a single one of you has given any legitimate or logical reason why they should.

          1. RAYSTAW says:

            what about all my other points and comments
            what about the Indian claims commission payments 1950s
            SHAME ON YOU
            pot doesn’t call the kettle black or does it

            calling me an idiot oh that’s real nice did i do that to you
            study history ,study politics
            free the Indian from the federal government

            you see i am on your side ,but your approach is wrong
            the 14th and 9yh amendment spells it out clearly
            SHAME ON YOU
            FREE THE INDIANS
            what about the other points i made you can get a hold of me anytime .
            come on over and get a lesson on life on a reservation ,lets go to one
            stop the drugs and crack on the reservation look at them , shame on you

            you hold your own guilt, not me,,i and many others who are trying to free the Indians, are called racist and when it comes down to it you are the hypocrite , shame on you not me
            i like your last part its called illegal under the 14th amendment and its socially and morally wrong , you have to understand i am against any net on inland waters that target game fish

            but please respond to why we are spending millions for only about a half a million dollars worth of fish ,that probably half of them make it to the table
            shame on you

            1. RAYSTAW says:

              learn the truth
              50 years past the deadline -perm
              Google it and read it carefully
              SHAME ON YOU
              you don’t understand that we need to live and let live

              i embrace my Indian brother, i share in their grief
              but you want it to go on fore ever SHAME ON YOU

              lets talk i have always been one on one with counter points
              but remember its not a resource issue its a social issue
              but we have to respect the resource issue,that will open the door to getting along
              as this is the avenue to straightening out this political mess
              SHAME ON YOU

              don’t be afraid of me, be afraid of yourself ,and lets share information

              lets get together you have nothing to fear from me
              call the perm office but don’t hide behind a post , that is shameful

              please pray for a sandy lake Indian member who also just doesn’t get it
              i feel so sad for him while i call him my friend SHAME ON YOU

              1. RAYSTAW says:

                hey Barry an engine is a motor you put in a car ,snowmobile ,ect

                please don’t call an Indian person an engine
                if you have to please don’t post

                i am a 100 percent polish , i say a Thoroughbred,
                but it doesn’t do any good
                the Indian person is a good person
                our fight is along with the Indian ,against the federal government
                lets keep it that way
                please use the word Indian and not native American ,it doesn’t belittle them in any way ,because we could step back and call the mound builders native Americans ,ect
                if you don’t love your Indian brother and vow to help this sad situation please don’t post
                and if its going to be a redneck issue i then side with the Indian community

                1. Learn the Truth says:

                  You are not making any logical points for me to debate. You are making a lot of accusations and then attempt to justify your accusations by shaming anyone who disagrees with you. Make a logical point, attach your proof to verify your reasoning, then await an answer. But trying to shame someone to win a debate only shows stupidity.

                  As for PERM, they are nothing but a bunch of redneck ignorant locals who refuse to give up on a battle they lost long ago. The tribes won as the Supreme Court agreed that the treaty rights are still legitimate and the tribes are allowed to hunt, fish and gather in accordance to their own regulations.

                  As for you, you are not now nor have you ever been on my side. I do not need ignorance in the form of uneducated accusations to speak for me. I’m more than capable for speaking for myself. The Bill of Rights and the amendments to the constitution also have nothing to do with treaty rights, as those rights are allowed because of a CONTRACT. There is nothing more to it. There is no public policy issue. There is no race defined dual laws. There are rights granted as payment for land, no more, no less and until you can actually realize that, you are only arguing to yourself as you’re not making any logical sense whatsoever. So go ahead and continue to fling your shame onto everyone who disagrees with you, because no one pays attention to the idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. You’ll get pity attention at best, which is about what your opinions are worth, pitiful.

                2. RAYSTAW says:

                  logical points the Indian claims commission
                  how about we live under one set of laws
                  resource apartheid
                  nelson Mendelian fought for these rights shame one you
                  oh i hate red necks and wont let them sign petitions ect
                  but shame on you
                  you hurt your Indian brother by not letting him live
                  under the constitution SHAME ON YOU
                  STOP THE GREED STOP THE HATE

                3. Learn the Truth says:

                  1. What exactly does the Indian Claims Commission have to do with fish harvesting rights granted by treaties? Nothing. More diversion from the topic at hand as you don’t have a logical argument to make.
                  2. This isn’t about laws, this is about a CONTRACT. Do you understand that concept or does it need to be spelled out for you? The tribes are granted hunting fishing and gathering rights based on a CONTRACT for the sale, cessation, barter, whatever word you understand easiest, of their land. No more, no less.
                  3, Resource apartheid. Now I know you have been talking to the ignorants from PERM. Apartheid is racial segregation. Who is being racially segregated here? The tribes? The rights the tribe has are from a CONTRACT. Look at it this way, you buy a car, you sign a contract with the dealership or the bank for the loan. The contract you sign says in exchange for the money, you get the car. This contract for the tribes says in exchange for your land, we will give you these perpetual rights. How is that racially segregating anyone?
                  4. Nelson Mandela was an activist over in South Africa. How in the world would someone over in South Africa fight for anything for me here in the US, especially considering what he was fighting for isn’t even present here, now in this situation? A rather ignorant claim coming from you. As for the shame, seems the only one here who should feel ashamed is you as you keep trying to divert from the real topic at hand because you don’t have a logical argument for the debate.
                  5. Your point about rednecks makes no sense and isn’t part of this debate, although your once again trying to divert from the topic at hand.
                  6. And again you throw your opinion around as if fact. Please show me the information you have showing that anyone, myself included, is refusing to let any native live under the constitution and is hurting any native by doing so. Also, what does that have to do with fish harvesting rights?

                  If those were your logical points for me to debate, then you are completely lost in this discussion as only one of those points has anything to do with fish harvesting rights and the rest are your attempts to divert from the discussion or to inflame emotions. When you are ready to logically discuss this issue, let me know. If you want to try and discuss the other issues, you should wait when those issues are up for discussion. Just because we’re discussing fish harvesting rights of tribes does not make this a free for all for arguing over everything native. Stick to the topic at hand and you might not appear to be so ignorant.

      2. Taxpayer says:

        Learn the Truth, I never stated that the Tribes have allowed the fishing to decline. However, Mille Lacs has more restrictive slot limits already than other Minnesota lakes, and my point is that The tribe there has more to lose from any further restrictions in order to protect the fishery than they have to gain from the benefit gill netting a couple hundred thousand dollars of Walleye.

        1. Learn the Truth says:

          “I believe that netting should be banned voluntarily by the tribes on the basis that it is not in their own best interest to allow the fishery to decline…”

          These are your exact words, so I asked you to please provide evidence of the tribe allowing the fishery to decline. The proof I have of the fishery being healthy is a 500,000+ pound safe fishing harvest, as well as a safe fishing harvest that has INCREASED in the last couple of years, instead of DECREASING. One would assume, if the fishery is declining, then the safe fishing harvest would decline as well, yes?

          As for further restrictions on the walleye, there’s actually two points here that work against you. First, point is, a sports fisherman who is upset over slot limits is also not the typical casino guest the tribe’s cater to as that type of person wouldn’t go to the casino to begin with, out of moral anger over the slot limit. Second, the other fishermen who fish Mille Lacs Lake are the ones drawn to the casino after a day of fun fishing. They’re not the type to worry about slot limits on the lake as they are more recreational in nature, which is exactly the type of person the casino’s cater to, the recreational people. So, please explain how the tribe has more to lose from further slot limits or other restrictions again?

  29. wallyhntr1 says:

    Gill netting is not a right, banning gill nets does not take away any right of Native Americans… Banning Gill Nets assures the longevity/health of our lakes which benefits both Native & Nonnative Americans… SUPPORT STEVE FELLEGY/CASSTODAY.COM & Ban the Gill Net!

  30. wallyhntr1 says:

    Here are facts, learn the truth- The Walleye SSB (Spawning Stock Biomass) was 3.2 Million when netting started, it was 1.7 Million in 2010… It’s a fact that Gill netting takes the majority of these SSB Walleyes as nonnatives have slots protecting these fish from being kept… & yes, nonnative quotas did decline for 2011, while native quotas went up… That decision was solely between our Atkin DNR & GLIFWC, leads me to believe there is some form of under the table shenanigans going on- Gill Netting is Native Industry driven for financial gain/power, this Industry is thriving on both native & nonative people along with destroying natural resources, in the name of Selective Sovereignty…. Support Steve Fellegy/CASSTODAY.COM