Pro Se Effort to Stop Michigan DNR Land Transfer to Mining Company Dismissed

There are numerous pleadings here but here are the most relevant — the case is captioned Bellfy v. Creagh (W.D. Mich.):

12 DCT Order on 2d TRO Request

18 Michigan Motion to Dismiss

22 Response

27 Reply

35 GTB Brief

52 DCT Order

Prior post on this case here.

Pro Se Effort Challenging Michigan DNR Land Sale to Mining Company Fails

Here are the materials in Bellfy v. Creagh (W.D. Mich.):

1 Complaint

1-1 CORA Resolution

2 Motion for TRO

4 DCT Order Denying TRO

An excerpt:

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs’ ex parte Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (docket # 2), filed today. Plaintiffs seek to “enjoin Defendant, or other State of Michigan officers, employees, agencies, subdivisions, successors, or assigns” from approving a proposed sale of State land in the Upper Peninsula. (docket # 2.) Plaintiffs contend that the sale would impair their rights under the 1836 Treaty of Washington and in a 2007 Consent Decree reaffirming those rights. The Consent Decree is the subject of another case in this District, United States of America v. State of Michigan, et al., No. 2:73-CV-26 (W.D. Mich. November 2, 2007) (consent decree, docket # 1799), currently assigned to Chief Judge Paul Maloney. The Consent Decree not only addresses substantive rights of the parties, but also describes detailed alternative dispute resolution procedures. (docket # 1799, pp. 62-67.) The nature of the claim Plaintiffs are attempting to assert pro se appear to touch on both procedural and substantive provisions of the Consent Decree.

LSJ Article on Potential Wolf Hunt and Tribes: “Saving Ma’iingan”


Tribal leaders say they have more than a cultural stake in the wolf, however.

They also believe the state has a legal obligation to give Michigan’s tribes an equal say in the management of the wolf and other wildlife species because of a treaty signed in 1836.

The Treaty of Washington was an agreement between the Ottawa and Chippewa nations and the United States in which the Indians agreed to cede 13 million acres of tribal land to the U.S. government — a move that paved the way for Michigan to become a state in 1837.

In return, Indians were granted unlimited hunting, gathering and fishing rights to the land.

In 2007, the treaty was strengthened in a court-mandated consent decree between the Department of Natural Resources and the tribes. The agreement requires the DNR to manage the state’s natural resources based on “sound scientific management” and to coordinate their efforts with the tribes.


Federal Court Filings to Stop State Prosecution of Sault Tribe Members for Treaty Fishing Violations

As usual, Friday is the most exciting time of the week for Indian law events.

Here are the materials in the most recent proceedings in United States v. Michigan, an effort to enjoin State v. Jensen in Delta County court (John Petoskey doing the heavy lifting in state court for Jensen and Bruce Greene in federal court for the Sault Tribe):

Doc. No. 1819 (Motion for Relief)

Doc. No. 1820 Memo in Support of Motion for Relief

Doc. No. 1820-1 (Exh A-E)

Doc. No. 1820-2 (Exh F-H)

Doc. No. 1820-3 (Certif of Compliance with 2000 Consent Decree

Doc. No. 1821 (Motion to Expedite)

Saginaw Valley St. Univ. Barstow Lecture on Indian Law — April 1

Here (the paper is here):

Barstow Lecturer to Explain History of Indian Land Law

Saginaw Valley State University will host a lecture by American Indian legal expert Matthew Fletcher Thursday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. In his talk, he will explain how a 2007 decree finally ended a 170-year-old dispute regarding Michigan Indians’ land rights. The lecture is part of SVSU’s Barstow Humanities Seminar series.

Fletcher says the delay owes its origins to miscommunication. In 1836, five Michigan Indian tribes entered into a treaty with the state and federal governments over “inland rights” – a treaty in which the Indians ceded their land in exchange for defined areas where they could fish, hunt and gather. The problem was that two of the treaty’s key words – “occupancy” and “settlement” – had vastly different meanings in the local Indian language. Relying on their understanding, the Indians agreed to the treaty.

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Anishinaabemowin and the Interpretation of Michigan Indian Treaties

I just posted a draft of my paper, “‘Occupancy’ and ‘Settlement’: Anishinaabemowin and the Interpretation of Michigan Indian Treaties” on SSRN. Any constructive feedback would be helpful.

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.

LRB and State of Michigan Enter into Agreement re: Authority of Tribal COs

From the Ludington Daily News:

Any confusion over whether tribal conservation officers have the right to stop state-licensed hunters has been removed.

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the State of Michigan have entered into an agreement that satisfies a provision in the 2007 Inland Consent Decree regarding enforcement of conservation regulations, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The issue came to light locally when Ed Haik, a retired Manistee County sheriff and the deputy chair of the Manistee County Board of Commissioners, noted that there was no legal mechanism for tribal conservation officers to stop state-licensed hunters or anglers. Last month, the county board sent a letter to Gov. Jennifer Granholm opposing any cross-deputization measures and asking for a public hearing on the issue.

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