1854 Treaty Authority

The 1854 Treaty Authority protects the rights of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Bois Forte Band of Chippewa in the treaty area to hunt, fish, and gather off-reservation, as instituted by the Treaty of La Pointe, which ceded ownership of 5.5 million acres of Chippewa land to the United States federal government in 1854. The goal of this organization is to ensure that these lands are “protected, preserved, and enhanced” for the benefit of both present and future generations of tribal members.

The 1854 Treaty ensured usufructuary rights, or the rights of a tribe to continue subsistence hunting and harvesting, which forms the foundation of Ojibwe culture, on treaty-ceded land. When the tribes, and others in other regions, agreed to let US settlers use their land, it was essential that the treaty reflect their right to maintain management of and use the natural resources. During much of the 20th century, a lot of these rights were neglected as Native people were forced to assimilate to US culture and abandon their own. Thanks to the work of the 1854 Treaty Authority and four other inter-tribal treaty commissions in the Lake Superior region, these rights have been reinstated and reinforced. 

Some main undertakings of the Treaty Authority include wildlife conservation, conducting wildlife surveys, controlling the spread of invasive species, and managing fish populations. It also provides knowledge and support to preserve important agricultural resources, especially wild rice. A member of the Ojibwe tribes can get hunting licenses, boating licenses, ID cards, and campground access, and everyone has access to their countless education and outreach programs. These programs help ensure land conservation and cultural preservation which is necessary not only to a healthy Native tradition but also to a vibrant and thriving region.

Image used with permission by the 1854 Treaty Authority

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Now that you’ve learned more, the best way to create change is by getting involved! Donate your money or time, find support, and take action. Citizen climate action means a stronger, healthier, more vibrant Duluth!

Learn more and get involved with the 1854 Treaty Authority.