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ERIC Number: EJ841556
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
Negotiating Ojibwe Treaty Rights: Toward a Critical Geopolitics of State-Tribal Relations
Silvern, Steven E.
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v32 n3 p153-176 2008
In this article the author provides a case study of how differing geographical imaginations are at the center of state-tribal relations in the United States. Specifically, he focuses on the political conflict between the state of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Ojibwe over the continuing existence and exercise of Ojibwe off-reservation hunting, fishing, and gathering treaty rights in northern Wisconsin. Beginning in 1974, the tribe and state fought a seventeen-year legal battle over the existence, definition, and exercise of off-reservation treaty rights. Extensive negotiation accompanied this litigation and led to the resolution of some contested issues outside the courtroom. Historians and legal scholars have devoted a great deal of attention to litigation, legal rhetoric, and judicial interpretation in treaty rights cases. In this article the author turns his attention to the negotiation table as a site where state-tribal geographies are constructed, debated, and contested. Settlement negotiations, also utilized in a number of Indian water-rights cases, provide a window through which to understand how political actors use the negotiating table to contest and achieve a desired geographical result. By focusing on these specific negotiations he hopes to shed light on how differing geographical imaginations structure the goals, strategies, and actions of specific state and tribal institutions and individuals. This article is organized into four parts. First, the author discusses the importance of geographical imaginations for the political identity of the state and Indian communities and for the construction of state-tribal relations. Second, he provides a historical-geographical interpretation of the Wisconsin Ojibwe treaty rights conflict. Third, he focuses on the role of geographical imaginations in attempts to reach a negotiated settlement of the conflict. He concludes with a discussion of theoretical issues raised by this article. (Contains 4 figures and 58 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin