‘Occupancy’ and ‘Settlement’: Anishinaabemowin and the Interpretation of Michigan Indian Treaty Language
13 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2010
Date Written: February 23, 2010
The 2007 Consent Decree in United States v. Michigan, a major victory for the tribal interests, recognized that the lands in ownership by the state, federal, and tribal governments – vast swaths of Michigan – would stand in for the lands not yet “required for settlement.” The Michigan Indians’ “privilege” to continued “occupancy” acquired legal determinacy. This short essay examines how Michigan Indian treaty negotiators would have understood the meaning of the words “settlement” and “occupancy,” and how that understanding strongly influenced the land base in which Michigan Indians can continue to exercise their inland treaty rights in accordance with the 1836 Treaty.
Keywords: Anishinaabemowin, American Indian treaty rights, 1836 Treaty of Washington, Michigan Indian, Grand Traverse Band, Little Traverse Bay Bands, Odawa
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