When the Constitution was ratified by the original colonies in 1788, it delegated to the federal government the exclusive power to regulate commerce with Native American tribes. During the next 100 years, as the colonists migrated westward, the federal government entered into many treaties with Native American nations. One such treaty was with the Ojibwe Indians in 1837, whereby the Ojibwe sold land located in the Minnesota territory to the United States. The treaty provided, “The privilege of hunting, fishing, and gathering wild rice, upon the lands, the rivers and the lakes included in the territory ceded, is guaranteed to the Indians.” The state of Minnesota was admitted into the Union in 1858.
In 1990, the Mille Lacs Band of the Ojibwe tribe sued the state of Minnesota, seeking declaratory judgment that they retained the hunting, fishing, and gathering rights provided in the 1837 treaty and an injunction to prevent Minnesota from interfering with those rights. The state of Minnesota argued that when Minnesota entered the Union in 1858, those rights were extinguished. Are the hunting, fishing, and gathering rights guaranteed to the Ojibwe in the 1837 treaty still valid and enforceable? Did the state of Minnesota act ethically when it asserted that the Ojibwe’s hunting, fishing, and gathering rights were no longer valid? Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians, 526 U.S. 172, 119 S.Ct. 1187, 1999 U.S. Lexis 2190 (Supreme Court of the United States)

Business Law – Legal Memo Formatted 1