Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fletcher on Inland Treaty Rights in Michigan

Matthew L. M. Fletcher, Michigan State University College of Law, has posted “Occupancy” and “Settlement”: Anishinaabemowin and the Interpretation of Michigan Indian Treaty Language. This one hits close to home, as, since the age of two, I’ve vacationed on land settled as a result of the treaty. Here is the abstract:
The 2007 Consent Decree in United States v. Michigan, a major victory for the tribal interests, recognized that the lands in ownership by the state, federal, and tribal governments – vast swaths of Michigan – would stand in for the lands not yet “required for settlement.” The Michigan Indians’ “privilege” to continued “occupancy” acquired legal determinacy. This short essay examines how Michigan Indian treaty negotiators would have understood the meaning of the words “settlement” and “occupancy,” and how that understanding strongly influenced the land base in which Michigan Indians can continue to exercise their inland treaty rights in accordance with the 1836 Treaty.
Image credit: Henry Schoolcraft, Indian Agent