Red Lake Band to offer elk hunt in 1863 Old Crossing Treaty territory
The tribal elk season will begin Thursday, Sept. 15 and continue through Saturday, Dec. 31. Five tags will be issued by lottery, and shooting hours will be from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
RED LAKE, Minn. – The Red Lake Band of Chippewa for the first time this fall will offer an elk hunt off-reservation in the area covered by the Old Crossing Treaty signed with the U.S. government Oct. 2, 1863.
Under the treaty, the Pembina and Red Lake bands of Ojibwe ceded some 11 million acres of land in the Red River Valley to the U.S. government. The ceded area includes much of northwest Minnesota west of a line running southwest from Lake of the Woods to Thief Lake and then angling southeast to the headwaters of the Wild Rice River before angling back southwest to the Red River between Grand Forks and Fargo , according to a Wikipedia post describing the treaty.
The ceded territory also includes a large chunk of eastern and northeastern North Dakota nearly to Devils Lake, including Pembina, Grafton and Grand Forks.
In a Facebook post this week announcing the tribal hunt, the Red Lake Band’s department of Conservation Law Enforcement said five licenses will be available for enrolled members of the Red Lake Band to harvest either an antlered or antlerless elk. License holders will be selected by lottery, and groups of up to five enrolled band members can apply for one of the elk tags.
Since this is the first year that Red Lake Band members will be utilizing “said treaty rights” in the Old Crossing Treaty territory, only five permits will be issued this year, but that number could increase in future years, the Facebook post indicated.
Tribal members can apply for one of the five licenses beginning Wednesday, Aug. 31, and continuing through Tuesday, Sept. 13. The lottery will be held at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, and the season will begin Thursday, Sept. 15, and continue through Saturday, Dec. 31.
Shooting hours will be from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
While the area covered by the Old Crossing Treaty extends all the way to Devils Lake, the hunt this year will most likely be limited to the Minnesota portion of the treaty territory, said Al Pemberton, tribal director of the Red Lake Department of Natural Resources.
Some of the details of the upcoming tribal hunt remain a work in progress, Pemberton told the Herald.
The Red Lake Band informed the Minnesota DNR during a meeting in March that it would assert its treaty rights on the 1863 territory, said Blane Klemek, Northwest Region wildlife supervisor for the Minnesota DNR in Bemidji.
At that meeting, it was decided that Pemberton and Theresa Ebbenga, director of the Minnesota DNR’s Northwest Region, would have further discussions and share information with Minnesota DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen.
“I’m assuming those high-level discussions have occurred, based on what Red Lake Conservation Law Enforcement posted on their Facebook page,” Klemek said in an email to the Herald.
Comment from the Minnesota DNR Commissioner’s office wasn’t immediately available.