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Attorney’s office reviewing harassment case involving tribal harvesters on Mille Lacs

"Hostile and violent acts of aggression, including rock throwing, racial slurs, and threats of physical violence, occur during tribal spearfishing every year. Obstruction or harassment of individuals practicing their federally protected rights can lead to fines and even arrest," the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission reported.

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MILLE LACS LAKE — The Mille Lacs County Attorney’s Office is looking into potential criminal charges stemming from harassment of tribal harvesters on Mille Lacs Lake.

Tribal harvesters reported the harassment on the night of April 10 on Mille Lacs Lake. Conservation enforcement with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission responded to the location marked with a smartphone app, and later to a residence, along with the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office.

At least two separate spearing parties reported being subject to various types of harassment from the same source, including yelling, rock throwing, indecent exposure and threats of physical violence, the commission news release stated. Mille Lacs County Sheriff Don Lorge stated Monday, April 19, the case was forwarded to the attorney’s office for an assessment of potential charges.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission stated hostile and violent acts of aggression, including rock throwing, racial slurs, and threats of physical violence, occur during tribal spearfishing every year. Obstruction or harassment of individuals practicing their federally protected rights can lead to fines and even arrest.

Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission is an intertribal natural resource agency comprised of 11 member Ojibwe bands, located in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. The commission works with its member bands to both manage and preserve off-reservation treaty reserved rights and resources.

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“If you hear or see anything that resembles harassment of tribal harvesters, please report it to us or the State DNR immediately, “ stated Chief Conservation Enforcement Officer Adam McGeshick of the commission. “If it’s a potentially life-threatening incident, please call 911. Everyone has the right to harvest safely.”

The non-emergency response enforcement line with the commission is 716-685-2113. Visit glifwc.org for more information about the commission.

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