TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Five American Indian tribes will regulate hunting, fishing and plant gathering by their members on millions of acres in Michigan under a tentative agreement with the state announced this week.
Supporters hope the proposal will end decades of bickering over what rights Indians retained when they signed away ownership of land that amounts to 37 percent of the state. The 1836 treaty helped lead to Michigan’s statehood the next year.
State officials and the leaders of most tribes and sporting groups were lining up behind the plan, saying it doesn’t give the tribes all they want but does protect their interests. It “will provide stability and predictability in an area of former legal uncertainty,” said Rebecca Humphries, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The case dates to 1973, when the federal government sued seeking state recognition of tribal rights under the 1836 treaty. The proposed consent decree needs approval of each tribe’s government and U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen to take effect. The next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 22.