treaty rights | Michigan Radio
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treaty rights

A man with a long dark ponytail stands in a river holding a 3-pronged spear.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

For April in the Western Upper Peninsula, it’s a pretty warm day. The Little Carp River, surging with snowmelt, winds through a forest of hemlock trees.

Robert Rajacic is scrambling up and down riverbanks, expertly carrying a spear in his right hand. He’s hoping to use it on some rainbow trout.

flickr/gswj / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

A federal judge has rejected the latest attempt to throw out a case filed by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians against the state of Michigan. The case is over whether the tribe has jurisdiction on 337 square miles of land in northern Michigan.

The land stretches along the shore of Lake Michigan and includes the city of Petoskey and part of Charlevoix.

The tribe is not claiming it owns the land, but rather that the land is a reservation. And that reservation status means the tribe has the right to operate as a government entity to decide what happens on the land.