Spearfishing season for tribes in Wisconsin begins each April—and with it comes a long history of controversy and racism.
For today’s show, WORT assistant news director Nate Wegehaupt is joined by Larry Nesper, author of The Walleye War, and fishers from the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
They talk about the Ojibwe tradition of spearfishing, the legal history of spearfishing and treaty rights, and the protests and harassment faced by tribal fishers in northern Wisconsin from the 1980s and into the present day.
Larry Nesper is emeritus professor of anthropology and American Indian studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and author of the book The Walleye War: The Struggle for Ojibwe Spearfishing and Treaty Rights (University of Nebraska Press, 2002).
Brooks Big John, Scott Smith, and Lyle Chapman are members of the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
For more information on Ojibwe treaty rights or to report harvester harassment, visit the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission’s website.
Cover photo: Jason Bisonette, a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, goes fishing with his son Samuel. Screenshot from “Spearfishing: A Living History – The Ways” by PBS Wisconsin.