As part of the Michigan State Law Review Symposium, The Great Lakes Compact, we (Profs. Singel & Fletcher) published a short paper, “Indian Treaties and the Survival of the Great Lakes.” The paper and symposium are now online.
From the NYTs:
The water levels in all five Great Lakes — Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario — are below long-term averages and are likely to stay that way until at least March, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. (The same is true at Lake St. Clair, which straddles the border between the state of Michigan and the province of Ontario and is between Lake Huron and Lake Erie; it is not considered one of the Great Lakes, although it is part of the Great Lakes system.)
“Most environmental researchers say that low precipitation, mild winters and high evaporation, due largely to a lack of heavy ice covers to shield cold lake waters from the warmer air above, are depleting the lakes. The Great Lakes follow a natural cycle, their levels rising in the spring, peaking in the summer and reaching a low in the winter, as the evaporation rate rises.”
- Overall, drought affected 46 percent of the nation, including the Upper Midwest, where persistently dry and warmer than average conditions have helped bring Lake Superior’s water level to its lowest point on record for this time of year, according to NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
- Levels of all the Great Lakes, which together make up about 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water, have been in decline since the late 1990s. Lakes Huron and Michigan were about two feet below their long-term average levels, while Lake Superior was about 20 inches off, Lake Ontario seven inches below, and Lake Erie three inches below normal in September.
Ettawageshik is known for his efforts locally and nationally. He has testified nationally before a house committee in Washington, D.C., on aquatic invasive species. In 2006, he testified in front of a senate committee, requesting funding for the implementation of the strategic plan for the restoration and conservation of the Great Lakes.
Ettawageshik also led 140 tribes and Canadian First Nations to sign the historic Tribal and First National Great Lakes Water Accord, urging Canadian provincial and Great Lakes state governments with boundaries on the Great Lakes to prevent diversion of the waters.
Ettawageshik said he was humbled by the honor but more work needs to be done.
“People look around and see so much water and they don’t understand how fragile our Great Lakes ecosystem is,” Ettawageshik said. “ I have tried to sum up what were doing. The answers that came to me is if it’s harmful don’t do it and if we’re already doing it stop and if we’ve already made a problem clean it up.”
Frank will be our keynote speaker at this year’s conference, “American Indian Law & Literature.”