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DNR Moves To Defuse Chippewa Plan To Test Treaty Rights

NISSWA, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has moved to defuse a treaty rights challenge by issuing a group of Chippewa Indians a special permit to harvest wild rice on Hole-in-the-Day Lake.

Members of the 1855 Treaty Authority had planned to harvest wild rice on the lake in Nisswa on Thursday without state licenses to try to assert rights they contend they hold under an 1855 treaty.

While the DNR disputes that, it issued a one-day permit Thursday, citing its authority to do so for educational purposes.

That means conservation officers won't issue citations that could lead to a court challenge.

Frank Bibeau, a lawyer for the group, welcomed the special permit but says DNR threats of prosecution won't stop them from harvesting wild rice without a permit in the future.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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