Representations of Michigan Indians in the Press

Nick Reo’s recent post on online posts written in response to the Inland settlement reminded me of a dissertation by Scott G. Sochay, “Newspaper Images of Native Americans: Michigan Newspaper Coverage of Treaties and Compacts Affecting Indians in the Territory and State of Michigan” (1998). The diss. covers the 1819Treaty of Saginaw, the 1836 Treaty of Washington, and the 1993 gaming compacts.

It’s a large document, but you can download it here:  Sochay Dissertation

LCC Talk — Son-Non-Quet Gould — Nov. 27




Presented by Son-Non-Quet Gould

Okema (Chief) of the Swan Creek Black River Confederated Ojibwa Tribes of Michigan

At this presentation Mr. Gould will examine the tribal policies of the 19th and 20th Centuries, and their ramifications for American Indians. He will be giving special attention to the Wheeler-Howard Act or the Indian Re-Organization Act of 1934.

Okema Son-Non-Quet (Gerald) Gould has taught American Indian Studies at Central Michigan University, Saginaw Valley State University and Lansing Community College (HUMS 225, Great Lakes Native American History and Traditions) and been a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Mott College, the National Council of Social Studies, the Michigan Council of Social Studies, the State of Michigan and a Cub Scout Pack in Grand Ledge, Michigan. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University, former Fellow at Michigan State University in Native American Studies and Visiting Fellow at Harvard University on Michigan Indian Tribal Governments and Constitutions.

Mr. Gould is of Anishnaabeg (Ojibwa) ancestry, and is currently Okema (Chief) of the Swan Creek Black River Confederated Ojibwa Tribes of Michigan, a State Historic Tribe (de Lac Ste. Claire, Anchor Bay and Lac Nipissing Tribes of Michigan). He is also the Great-Great Grand Son of Okema Pay-me-quo-ung, (1813-1888), Tribal Chief of the Swan Creek Black River Ojibwa Tribe (Signatory to the Treaties of 1855 and 1864).

In his role as Okema, Mr. Gould has testified before the United States Senate Select Committee on American Indian Affairs and the U.S. House Resources Committee on American Indian Affairs. Mr. Gould is currently a thirty-two year senior staff member with the State of Michigan.


ROOM 205 B, A&S Building, LCC

(next to the Kennedy Cafeteria)


Presented by the CIIE, Center for International and Intercultural Education Office,

Dr. Stephen Appiah-Padi, Director

For more information, call the CIIE at 517-483-9963 or 483-1006 or email

Inland Settlement Consent Decree Materials

The final documents are here


Consent Decree [sans appendices]

Sixth Circuit Opinion — Denial of Motion to Intervene by Amici

Little Traverse Bay Bands et al. v. Great Spring Waters & Engler

In 2002, the three Michigan Ottawa tribes sued Great Spring Waters & Governor Engler over the State’s granting of rights to take millions of gallons of water from mid-Michigan’s water table — a sweetheart deal if there ever was one. The tribes sued under the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, but there was no cause of action and the district court dismissed the action. The tribes did not appeal.

Here is the motion to dismiss: Motion to Dismiss

Here is the Tribes’ response, plus an exhibit: Response Brief + Exhibits

Here is the reply brief: Reply Brief

Here is the order dismissing the case: Opinion

The tribes chose not to bring claims based on the treaty rights they had established in United States v. Michigan. At some point, we expect tribes to bring treaty claims in the environmental protection context — see our MSU Law Review paper.
There has been a fair amount of scholarly commentary on the case, such as this student note in the Columbia Law Review and this paper in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law.

The Keno Case

In State of Michigan v. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians et al., the State is suing LRB and LTBB for violation of the gaming compacts requirement that the tribes share revenue from their gaming operations — LTBB Compact & LRB Compact. The tribes stopped payment when Governor Granholm authorized the state to begin keno at bars and restaurants. Senior District Court Judge Miles granted the State’s motion for summary judgment last April. The appeal to the Sixth Circuit is forthcoming. As those briefs go online, we will upload them here.

Judge Miles’ opinion is here: Opinion and Order

The State’s motion for summary judgment is here: Motion for Summary J

The tribes’ response brief is here: Tribes’ Brief

The State’s reply brief is here: Reply Brief

Tribal Exhaustion Doctrine & KBIC Tribal Court

Judge Quist in the Western District of Michigan recently remanded a tort claim back to tribal court in accordance with the tribal court exhaustion doctrine, as articulated in National Farmers Union and Iowa Mutual.

The case is called Michigan Property & Casualty Guaranty Association v. Foucault-Funke American Legion Post 444.

The motion to dismiss is here: Memorandum in Support of Motion

The response brief is here: Response Brief

Judge Quist’s opinion remanding the case to tribal court is here: Opinion

Mich. Supreme Court Justice Cavanagh Talk: Michigan Indian Judicial Association

Justice Michael Cavanagh, the Michigan Supreme Court’s liaison with Michigan’s tribal courts, is speaking before the members of the Michigan Indian Judicial Association this morning.

Justice Cavanagh, along with Tribal Judge Michael Petoskey, spearheaded the Court’s adoption of Michigan Court Rule 2.615, extending comity to tribal court judgments.

Justice Cavanagh wrote about the origins of the rule in an article published in the University of Detroit Law Review. Download Justice Cavanagh’s Article.

Tribal courts from numerous tribes appeared at this talk today at the MSU College of Law: Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Bay Mills Indian Community, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

Justice Michael F. Cavanagh

Justice Cavanagh received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit in 1962 and his law degree from the University of Detroit Law School in 1966. He began his career as a law clerk for the Michigan Court of Appeals. In 1967, Justice Cavanagh was hired as an assistant city attorney for the City of Lansing and thereafter was appointed as Lansing City Attorney, serving until 1969. He then became a partner in the Lansing law firm of Farhat, Burns and Story, P.C. In 1971, he was elected judge of the 54-A District Court. Justice Cavanagh was then elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals, where he served from 1975-1982. At that time, he was the youngest person ever elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Justice Cavanagh was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1982 and was re-elected in 1990, 1998, and 2006. He served as Chief Justice from 1991-95. Justice Cavanagh’s current term expires January 1, 2015.

The son of a factory worker and a teacher who moved to Detroit from Canada, Justice Cavanagh worked on Great Lakes freighters during the summers to help pay his tuition at the University of Detroit. During his years in law school, he was employed as an insurance claims adjuster and also worked for the Wayne County Friend of the Court as an investigator.

Justice Cavanagh has participated in numerous community and professional activities, including Chairman of the Board of the American Heart Association, Past President of the Incorporated Society of Irish/American Lawyers, Board of Directors of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and the Commission on the Future of the University of Detroit Mercy . He is a Member of the Institute of Judicial Administration, New York University Law School. He has served as Vice President of the Conference of Chief Justices, Chair of the National Interbranch Conference of Funding the State Courts, and member of the National Center for State Courts Court Improvement Program. Other appointments include the Michigan Justice Project, Chairman of the Judicial Planning Committee, Michigan Crime Commission, Judicial Coordinating Committee, and Chair of the Sentencing Guidelines Committee. Justice Cavanagh is the Supervising Justice of the Michigan Judicial Institute. Justice Cavanagh was instrumental in the planning, design, construction and eventual completion of the Michigan Hall of Justice. He has served as Supreme Court Liaison, Michigan Indian Tribal Courts/Michigan State Courts since 1990, and has attended many national Indian Law conferences and participated in Federal Bar Association Tribal Court symposiums.

Justice Cavanagh and his wife, Patricia, are the parents of three children, and have two grandsons. The Cavanagh family resides in East Lansing .

Michigan Gaming Compact Revenue Sharing Benefits — LTBB

From the Petoskey News Review:

Allied EMS emergency medical technician
Chris Heckman (left) and paramedic Erik Slifka are shown with an ambulance and heart monitor purchased with assistance from the Emmet County Local Revenue Sharing Board.

Revenue-sharing grants have helped Allied acquire seven ambulances as well as assorted equipment for the vehicles through the years. “They’ve been very instrumental in helping us keep our operation going,” said Allied chief executive officer Dave Slifka. (Ryan Bentley/News-Review)
Deciding how the community will share in Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians casino proceeds is not a game of chance.

Under its gaming compact with Michigan, the Odawa tribe is required to provide 2 percent of electronic gaming receipts from its Petoskey casino to nearby communities. The Local Revenue Sharing Board, a three-member appointed panel, is responsible for choosing specifically what projects and resources will receive support, reviewing grant applications twice yearly to decide which requests merit awards.

“We’re servants of the public,” said revenue board chairman Les Atchison. “We’re trying to do the best we can in our judgment to see that the money is put to best use. Frankly, we welcome the suggestions of those who appoint us.”

From its inception in 2000 through the end of 2006, the board awarded about $6 million in grants funded with casino proceeds. Since the tribe’s casino site is in federal trust status and not subject to property taxes, the board paid an additional $540,000 to local governments during those years to make up for tax revenue they would have received if the property was on the tax rolls.

Detroit News: “Manisteepee?”

From the Detroit News:

“In this tranquil beach community, the gentle lapping waves of Lake Michigan have brought ashore a brutish dispute.

Sports fishermen and charter boat operators are fighting a local American Indian tribe over its use of fishing nets in one of the top salmon spots in the nation.

The issue has led to vandalism, boycotts and charges of favoritism and racism. Some boaters refer to the town as Manisteepee.

‘It’s racial,” said Matt Stone, 28, an American Indian netter who has been called racist names. “I know it. I feel it. I see it. I hear it.'”

Jacque Leblanc hauls in chubs near Manistee. Fishermen and boat operations are at odds with a local Indian tribe over use of nets. (John L. Russell / Special to The Detroit News)

“Indian Treaties and the Survival of the Great Lakes”

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.

Other authors include without limitation Jim Olson, Austen Parrish, Dan Tarlock, and Mark Squillace. Check it out.