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.

Helen Roy in Anishinaabemowin

From the Lansing State Journal:

Helen Roy MP3

MSU professor Helen Roy speaks in Ojibwe. Below is an Ojibwe/English translation:

Maanda zhigiizhiwewin nga-ke-dibaadadaan
(I’ll talk about the language for a bit)

E-bi-kwa-temigag gwa maanda aki, anishnaabeg gii-bi-anishnaabemowag.
(Ever since the world has been here, Indians spoke their language.)

Kina gwa kidowinan nango e-noondaagaadegin pane gii-bi-nakaazam.
(All the words you hear today were spoken.)

Aanind kidowag zhaazhi niibna kii-bi-maajii-anaajitoonaa maanda e-zhigiizhiweying.
(Some say that a lot of words have already been lost in the way that we speak.)

Aanind gwa eta maanda ndaa-debwetaan.
(I believe only a part of this.)

Enh, aanind gaawiin geyaabi gda-nakaazasiinaanin kidowinan zaam gaawiin geyaabi naasaab izhi-anankiisiim gaa-zhi-zhichigeng kwa gegoo kchi-mewizha.
(Yes, some words we don’t use anymore because we don’t do things like they used to be done long time ago.)

Gaawiin geyaabi gwaya memkaach naadisiin nibiish ndawabaaning – mii gwa eta biimibijiged biindig miidash nibiish bi-zaagijiwang.
(We don’t have to get water from a well anymore, all people have to do is do
a little turn inside the house and water comes pouring out [faucet, in other

Gaawiin geyaabi gwaya ‘giziibiigsaganan’ da-nakaazasiinan zaam kina
gwaya e-waasimowinikaadeg teni endaad wii-giziibiiganiged.
(No one uses the wash board anymore because everyone has the electrical [washing machine] in their homes for washing clothes.)

Miidash nindan kidowinan e-dibaadadamaanh gaawiin geyaabi e-kidosing, miidash nindan kidowinan gaawiin ge-ni-aanken’nigaadesinogin.
(So these are the words I speak about that are not spoken anymore and these are the words that won’t be passed on.)

Giishpin dash shki’ntam-zhigiizhiwewin e-ayaanzig kinoomaaged, gaawiin maaba e-kinoomaagaazod da-kikendasiinan kina kidowinan anishnaabeg gaa-bi-zhi-nakaazawaad kwa.
(If a person that doesn’t have the first language, teaches, the student won’t learn all the words that were spoken.)

Miinwaa aabdeg nindan dnawan kidowinan daa-kinoomaagem mooshkin maaba e-kinoomaagaazod wii-kikendang maanda zhigiizhiwewin.
(All these types of words should be taught in full so the one being taught will know the language [in full])

Maanda dash nango gda-zhi-ginoonin, kiin e-kinoomaazoyin, pane wii-aabadendaman weweni wii-nsostaman maanda anishnaabemowin miinwaa pane ji-g’gwejimad e-anishnaabemod wii-kinoo’amaag.
(So I say this to you, the learner, to always be determined to always try to understand the language and to always ask the speaker to teach you.)

Gaawiin ka-giisaadendasii ngoding shkweyaang naabiyin waabamadwaa g’niijaansag anishnaabemowaad miinwaa niigaan wiinwaa naabiwaad
wii-gwekwendaagwag anishnaabemowin ji-ni-aanken’nigaadeg, ni-kinoomawaawaad niijaansiwaan gewiinwaa.
(You won’t regret it when one day you’ll look back to see your children
speaking the language as they look ahead to assure that the language is passed on, as they teach their own children.)

Esanaa da-nishin pii zhiwebag wi.
(That will be so great when that happens.)

Pii kina anishnaabeg anishnaabemowaad.
(When all the Indians speak the language.)

Pii dibi’iidig gwa e-izhaang, da-noondaagaade anishnaabemowin miinwaa da-zhiwebad g’gitiziinaanig gaa-zhi-ndawendamawaad.
(When everywhere you go, the Indian language will be heard and what our
elders wanted will have been executed.)

Lansing State Journal on Anishinaabemowin Classes

From the Lansing State Journal:

Native tongue: MSU classes help Ojibwe language survive

Matthew Miller
Lansing State Journal

The Ojibwe word that Autumn Mitchell likes best is “pkwezhigaans.”

Literally, it means “little bread.” Practically, it can mean cookies, crackers or muffins. It’s the same word for all three.

It’s not a word she’s known for very long, but she sees it as a part of her history all the same or, perhaps better, a part of her heritage.