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Harassment Of Tribal Spearfishers In Vilas County Reportedly Involved Gunshots

GLIFWC Facebook Page

An incident reportedly involving gunshots led to one person being taken into custody in Vilas County as tribal members were spearfishing. 

In a press release on Facebook, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission or GLIFWC says it happened Saturday evening, May 2,  on Little St. Germain Lake.  Around 10:00 p.m. that night, the press release says tribal harvesters reported harassment and eventually gunshots. 

Local law enforcement and GLIFWC personnel responded to a boat landing and a local residence.  One person was reportedly taken into custody for being armed while intoxicated.  The GLIFWC release says the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department is investigating.

GLIFWC says hostile and violent acts of aggression occur during spearfishing every year.  Obstruction of those practicing their treaty rights can lead to fines or arrest.

GLIFWC Executive Administrator Michael Isham called it a sign that continued education is needed about federally protected treaty rights.  He says tribal subsistence harvesting has been a tradition for generations, and these tribal fisherman were simply out harvesting to feed their communities.

John Burton is the WXPR Morning Edition Host.
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