Wisconsin's six Chippewa tribes met last week in Mole Lake with state officials to talk about natural resource issues within the ceded territory.
Lac du Flambeau tribal spokesperson Brandon Thoms says the tribes and the state meet to keep communication open.
One of the pending issues involves night hunting. In 1989, the Lac Court Oriellies tribe filed suit to allow the tribe to hunt for deer after dark. The state had routinely not allowed night hunting. The tribe argued it was part of their court-affirmed treaty rights. At that time, federal Judge Barbara Crabb agreed with the state and the tribes backed away from pursuing the matter.
But when the state allowed hunters to legally hunt wolves at night, the tribes felt it opened the door to night hunting for whitetail deer. Thoms says they are waiting Crabb's decision...
"....it's a substantial issue for the tribe due to the fact that many Indian families still rely heavily on the resources as a form of sustanance. So with that being said also we're still awaiting the decision..."
Judge Crabb said she would likely have a decision made about this time. The state initially argued it was a safety issue in halting night hunting. The tribes said in other authorized night hunts, no reported serious accident happened.
Thoms says the meetings with the state over the resources have been going on about eight years.