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Reader Opinion: Treaties dictate rights

An April 14 letter writer complained that the Minnesota DNR needs to take over the Indian reservations and make its inhabitants adhere to state hunting and fishing laws. The writer believes that the Native Americans think that they deserve special rights.

The letter is wrong on both counts.

First, the Native Americans don't think that they deserve specials rights, but rather the rights that were given to them by the federal government by way of treaty in the 1800s. Second, because these were federal treaties, the DNR has no power to enforce state hunting and fishing laws against these people, as such laws do not apply to them to begin with.

This whole issue has already been litigated before. It went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which said that the treaties were valid, and that the Native Americans did have the hunting and fishing rights that were afforded to them.

If someone today doesn't like the terms of the treaty, well, that's too bad.

Brian Marsh