Superior National Forest officials discuss historic agreement reached with Grand Portage and other Chippewa Bands
Tribal officials from three Chippewa Bands signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Forest Service earlier this month to provide for co-stewardship and protection of “treaty-reserved rights under the 1854 Treaty” across the massive Superior National Forest.
The agreement, signed on May 2, is the first of its kind between the Chippewa Bands and the Forest Service.
The MOU recognizes the sovereign tribal nations as the original stewards of land now encompassing the 3.3-million-acre Superior National Forest. The document outlines procedures to ensure that input from the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, and Grand Portage Bands is meaningfully incorporated into Forest Service decision-making.
The document signed by the three Chippewa Bands also includes provisions for designation and protection of culturally sensitive areas across Superior National Forest, coordination on forest management objectives, and Tribal-Forest Service training. The agreement builds on the steps taken by the US Forest Service in 2021 when Superior National Forest hired its first tribal liaison.
Through this agreement, the release states, the Bands will assist the Forest Service using deep place based Tribal traditional ecological knowledge to support shared goals of protecting and enhancing the land and water for future generations.
WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Superior National Forest Supervisor Tom Hall and Tribal Liaison Juan Martinez in mid-May to learn more about the agreement.