Fishing Rights

Please close this window to return to previous page.


The Ojibwa then turned to the U.S. Court of Appeals which in 1983, reversed the Federal Court’s decision and reaffirmed rights reserved in treaties to hunt, fish, and gather on ceded territory. This ruling became known as the Voigt Decision, named after Wisconsin DNR Secretary, Lester Voigt.


So this was a tremendous decision on behalf of the tribes. And the tribes were very quick to protect that and to demonstrate that they were going to hunt and to spearfish off the reservation.

WALT BRESSETTE (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, WI)

The next day the war began down in Wisconsin, launched by the state of Wisconsin DNR, which said the only thing left in northern Wisconsin will be water-skiing once the Chippewa are done taking all the fish and deer and trees and god knows what else. And from that, almost decade-long battle led by the State of Wisconsin, creating an atmosphere of hate and fear, many sports fishing groups, believing the propaganda of the state, really were fearful that what the state was telling them was going to be true. Well, in the end the facts bore out absolutely the opposite. But during that time many, many people were very concerned, many resort owners, small businesses were very concerned. And in that atmosphere, there was latent racism amongst many people. And much of that was anti-Indian so that was allowed to really surface openly.

Video courtesy of WDSE-Duluth/Superior, MN, 2002

  • Share/Save/Bookmark