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Update: Town of Lac du Flambeau makes offer to Lac du Flambeau Tribe

Wednesday's emergency Town Board meeting in Lac du Flambeau. The board voted to send another letter to Tribal President John Johnson.
Katie Thoresen
Wednesday's emergency Town Board meeting in Lac du Flambeau. The board voted to send another letter to Tribal President John Johnson.

Updated 2/9/23 12:05 p.m.: The Town of Lac du Flambeau has posted the letter it sent to Lac du Flambeau Tribal President John Johnson.

You can view the letter here.

It does offers a potential solution to the issue of right-a-ways.
It says the Town Board could "enter into a renewable government to government maintenance agreement with the Tribe whereby the Tribe would contracted to perform all necessary maintenance, snowplowing, and other duties with respect to the roads."

It goes on to say that in exchange for that agreement. The Town of Lac du Flambeau would give the Tribe the entire amount it receives in gas taxes for their maintenance. The town also offered back payment its received in gas taxes on those roads which amounts to $64,289.60.

Town Chairman Matt Gaulke also said the town board would meet face to face to discuss any other proposals.

Original Post: The Town of Lac du Flambeau will try again to communicate with the Lac du Flambeau Tribal Government, though what that message is wasn’t made public at yesterday’s Town Board meeting.

It’s been more than a week since private homeowners within the Lac du Flambeau reservation boundaries have had road access to their homes.

As WXPR previously reported, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa have put barriers down on four roads on tribal land because of failed right-of-way negotiations.

At an emergency meeting last week, the Lac du Flambeau Town Board voted to send a message to the Tribal Government asking for a 60-day moratorium on the roadblocks while the town, tribe, and involved title companies come up with a resolution.

The tribe responded to that request saying it had no intention of removing the barriers until a good faith offer had been made.

That led to Wednesday’s emergency meeting.

After public comment, the town board went into closed session with legal counsel to discuss the issue.

Back in the public portion of the meeting, they voted on its decision.

Supervisor Gloria Cobb made a motion to direct Chairman Matt Gaulke to write a response letter to Tribal President John Johnson to be hand delivered after the meeting.

The board approved the motion that also included not sharing the contents of the letter until is has been shared with Tribal Counsel.

That decision was met with disbelief by people in attendance, mostly at the lack of information on what the letter would be about.

Sally Fermanich owns property where her and her husband are trying to build a house that she currently can’t access because the road closures.

“Construction has completely stopped. It’s costing us money every day that we don’t have it done,” she said.”

She’s frustrated by the town board’s actions.

“It’s hard to believe that they’re working for us. I think they’re looking for a quick solution so that they town can get out of the mix of this, but really they need to be working for us. I’m concerned about what potential solutions they made have come up with that they’re not willing to share until [the letter] is public,” said Fermanich.

Also at the meeting, Chairman Matt Gaulke read a letter from Senator Tammy Baldwin and Governor Tony Evers that was sent to the Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland over why the Bureau of Indian Affairs hasn’t gotten involved.

You can read the letter here.

WXPR has not gotten a response from the BIA on its involvement in this situation.

The letter Gaulke gave to Lac du Flambeau Tribal President John Johnson will be posted to thetown’s website.

WXPR will keep you updated on the Town Chairman’s letter after it’s made public as well as any response from Tribal Government.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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