Learn About Indigenous Food Rights
For thousands of years, the well‐being of Indigenous peoples has been sustained by their food systems and their balanced relationship with the natural environment. Current efforts by Indigenous peoples to address poor nutrition, ill health, and food insecurity often necessitate confronting the underlying and intertwined issues of colonization, food sovereignty, and identity.
The 1854 Treaty Authority is an Inter-Tribal Natural Resource Management Organization that protects, preserves, and enhances the off-reservation hunting, fishing and gathering rights of the Grand Portage and Bois Forte Bands of the Lake Superior Chippewa in the territory ceded under the Treaty of 1854.
Inherent in these reserved rights is the necessity to protect the waters, air, animal and fish populations, wild rice, forest products, and other resources that are essential to the Ojibwe culture and way of life. Under the Treaty of 1854, Bands retain rights to hunt, fish, and gather in the 1854 Ceded Territory. This Ceded Territory encompasses 5.5 million acres of land in what is now considered present-day northeastern Minnesota.
The term “ceded territories” refers to the “lands transferred from tribes to the federal government by way of a treaty agreement.” By ceding land to the United States, tribes are guaranteed rights to harvesting, hunting, and fishing. More often than not, tribes that signed treaties did so under extreme duress, coercion, and disadvantaged power. The legal interpretation of the rights of the treaties has been examined in the Supreme Court since the inception of the treaties and continues today. Further, there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings from the general public about what those rights entail.
The 1854 Treaty Authority is an integral and indispensable agency for ensuring the Bois Forte and Grand Portage Bands have well-managed lands and their rights to those lands remain protected. Cooperatively developing the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan with the Bois Forte, Grand Portage, and Fond du Lac Bands has elevated their capacity to continue to fulfill this critical role.
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