Points North, Ep. 15: Harassed Native harvesters

May 30, 2019

This week on Points North, Native American tribes have treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather, but many face racism and harassment when they use them. Plus hear some pet peeves of people in northern Michigan.


Tribal citizens say harassment affects how they hunt, fish
Robert Rajacic of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community says he was shot at in 2009 while spearfishing for walleye on Portage Lake near Chassell, MI. He says every year people yell at him and shine spotlights.
Credit Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

Michigan became a state after Native American tribes ceded tens of millions of acres of land to the U.S. in a series of treaties. Those treaties said the tribes kept their rights to hunt, fish and gather on that land.

But the state didn’t honor those rights until the 1970s; then there was an ugly backlash. Tribal citizens were threatened and harassed. Their fishing boats and nets were vandalized. Things have calmed down since then, but racism and harassment persist. 

Hear how continued harassment stops some tribal citizens from exercising their treaty rights.

Pet Peeves: a list

In May, 10 students took an audio boot camp with IPR. They learned how to ask questions, use recording equipment and mix sound. Jenna Mertz, who teaches writing at Iowa State University, spoke to people about their pet peeves at the farmers market in Traverse City.

We want to hear from you

A recent report from the United Nations found that more than one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction.

How far do you think people should go to protect animals and plants? Should we do more to protect species? Should we let things play out? Or are conservation efforts getting in the way of your livelihood?

Call us with a comment at 231-276-4444, email a voice memo to ipr@interlochen.org or comment below.