Sokaogon Chippewa Community News
Lac du Flambeau Tribe Exerts Sovereignty
In light of recent events regarding the recent road closures on the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation, due to long-expired right-of-way (ROW) issues, a great deal of misinformation has circulated through a number of public media outlets. In order to correct those inaccuracies, the Tribe recently released a public statement, and we feel that an additional statement is critical to share these facts.
Over ten years ago, the Tribe became aware of multiple expired ROW easements. The Tribe communicated to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Midwest Regional office, to notify them of the expirations. The BIA responded
by drafting and sending notices of easement expiration to the affected property owners. Upon receipt of the notices, property owners reached out to their Title companies, who subsequently contacted their attorneys.
The Town of Lac du Flambeau (LdF), the BIA, and the subsequent Title companies representing property owners, have all played a contributing role, in the situation that we are responding to today. Despite statements made at the recent Town Board meeting, the Town has known about this issue. As
evident through correspondence, the attorney representing the Town of LdF, Mr. Gregory Harrold, reached out to the Tribe’s attorney, Andrew Adams III, as early as February 5th, 2018 (see attached letter), with acknowledgement that the town leadership was aware of easement expirations and trespass issues on three of the four existing tribal roads recently closed. Tribal leaders have met throughout the years with the Town of LdF Chairman, Matt Gaulke, and Town of LdF Attorney, Greg Harrold, on these issues. Our stance is that both individuals failed to give this issue the proper attention, nor have they appeared to make a genuine effort to communicate their willingness to fully understand the Tribe’s concerns.
Throughout the past ten years, the Tribe has made numerous, and ongoing attempts to the BIA’s Midwest Regional office’s administrative leaders, to work together, in good faith, to resolve the expired ROWs, to no avail. BIA representatives have made very clear, through their inactions, by failing to
respond to the requests from Tribal leadership, during this period, have demonstrated a sincere commitment to respecting the federal government’s “trust” responsibility, and an utter lack of recognition of the Lac du Flambeau Tribe, as a sovereign nation.