IPR Profile on American Indian Treaty Rights in Michigan

Interlochen Public Radio continues its excellent profiles of northern Michigan history with “Looking Back: The Fight For American Indian Fishing Rights,” profiling Arthur Duhamel.Arthur Duhamel

Here’s my contribution:

The urgency was about more than fish. The federal government had ignored the poverty in Peshawbestown for generations. As Matthew Fletcher puts it, the federal government just stopped returning the tribe’s phone calls in the 1870s.

Fletcher teaches indigenous law at Michigan State University and is a member of the Grand Traverse Band. Fletcher says the tribe needed some way to make the federal government recognize its existence and asserting fishing rights under a treaty signed in 1836 was the way to do that.

“The United States does not sign a treaty with counties or corporations,” says Fletcher. “They sign treaties with nations.”

More on Fletcher Talk at Traverse City History Center: Legends of the Grand Traverse Region


Legend’s Grand Opening Announcement:

Don’t miss the exciting Grand Opening of “Legends of the Grand Traverse Region: Community out of Diversity.”  This celebration is on Saturday, Sept. 22nd from 4:00pm to 6:30pm at the History Center of Traverse City.  Attendees will tour the brand new Legends’ Exhibit, listen to the featured speaker, and then socialize at an elegant reception featuring adult beverages and tasty hors d’oeuvres. Admission is free, although good will offerings will be requested and are always appreciated!

The speaker is Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Professor of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at Michigan State University College of Law, and member of the Grand Traverse Tribe of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.  He will be speaking on “The Story of the Grand Traverse Band’s Treaty Rights Fight.”

Professor Fletcher’s  talk is designed to complement our fall 2012 Legend’s Exhibit.  It highlights three of the “Legends” of the Traverse area: Art Duhamel of the Grand Traverse Band, well known for his stands regarding native fishing rights and federal recognition of the Grand Traverse Band; The Schaub family and their famous relative, Emelia Schaub, who was the first female prosecutor in Michigan; and Augusta Rosenthal-Thompson, who in 1884 arrived in northern Michigan as the first woman physician to practice in this area.

The Legends’ exhibit will be open through October 25th.  That Thursday this fall’s Legends’ activities will close with an afternoon workshop and evening presentation by Dr. Elizabeth Faue, Professor of American History and the History of Women at Wayne State University. The afternoon workshop is on genealogy and “Lost Mothers.”  The evening talk is entitled: “Barriers and Gateways:  Women, Gender, and the Professions in the United States.”

Don’t miss this opening celebration of the Legends of the Grand Traverse Region. These fall 2012 Legends events are only an introduction to continuing Legends activities.  Over the next several years we will celebrating more Legends: People and families from diverse backgrounds who came together to build the community we live in today. Our next three Legends will be celebrated starting in March of 2013, with more Legends being announced in Fall of 2013, Spring of 2014, and hopefully far into the future.

The History Center of Traverse City thanks the Michigan Humanities Council for its crucial support of the Legends’ project.  We also thank our Legends’ partners: The Grand Traverse Genealogical Society, the Northwest Lower Michigan Women’s History Project, Congregation Beth El, the Hispanic Apostolate of the Diocese of Gaylord, the Traverse City Human Rights Commission, Professor Jim Press of Northwestern Michigan College’s History Department, and Cindy Patek of the Grand Traverse Tribe’s Eyaawing Museum and Cultural Center