MAY 27, 1968

U.S. SUPREME COURT DECIDES IN FAVOR OF MENOMINEE TRIBE HUNTING & FISHING RIGHTS

Menominee Tribe v. United States, a landmark decision, allowed the tribe to retain historical hunting and fishing (H&F) rights even after the federal government ceased to recognize the tribe.  In 1961, Congress terminated the tribe’s federal recognition ending tribal rights to its land.  In 1963, tribal members were charged with violating Wisconsin’s H&F laws on what had been their reservation.  The members were acquitted, but on appeal the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the tribe’s rights ended with the termination.  The tribe sued the U.S. in the U.S. Court of Claims and won.  The conflict in rulings brought the case to the Supreme Court which ruled 6-2 that, in absence of a clear and unequivocal congressional statement removing those rights, the tribe retained its H&F rights.  The case affected subsequent legislation, e.g., Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and is cited internationally re: retention of traditional indigenous/aboriginal rights.  In 1973, Congress restored the tribe’s federal recognition.

Sources:  “Minominee Tribe v. United States, 391 U.S. 404 (1968),” Justicia.  Retrieved 4/14/2020, https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/391/404/.  Wikipedia
Seal:  Official Seal of the Supreme Court of the United States.  Public Domain.

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