Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Donald Moore Sr., Chairman
P.O. Box 39
Odanah, WI 54861
The Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians (hereinafter referred to as Band) live on the shores of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. The Chippewa, or Anishinabe, migrated from the east and settled on Madeline Island in the early 1600's. In 1825, the Treaty of Prairie du Chien recognized the ownership of northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan by the Chippewa. By 1842, the Chippewa had ceded a large portion of this land base to the United States. Today there are 6291 Bad River Band members; 1199 reside on the reservation and 5092 live off-reservation. Approximately 87 non-members also live within reservation boundaries. The Band manages social services, natural resources, education, health, housing, administration and legal departments as well as a lodge and gaming facility. The members elect a six-person Tribal Council and a Tribal Chairman to govern the Band.
The Bad River Reservation, established by the Treaty of 1854, includes over 124,000 acres in Wisconsin's Ashland and Iron Counties and is a highly valued ecological region. Bordering the shores of Lake Superior, the reservation, which is closed, is the mouth of a large watershed that drains much of northern Wisconsin. The rivers and wetland areas found throughout the reservation are important spawning grounds for lake-run trout, salmon and walleye as well as many other fish and wildlife which make up a significant subsistence resource for tribal members. In addition, the unique drainage area known as the Kakagon Slough provides abundant wild rice habitat that is a significant contribution to the Band's cultural and economic health. The sloughs are the cultural and spiritual center of the Bad River Band. They host the only remaining extensive coastal wild rice marsh in the Great Lakes Basin. This area is also well-sheltered, providing excellent habitat for a variety of wildlife.
The Band's Natural Resources Department is staffed by 19 people and includes a department manager, a forestry technician, a GIS specialist, a fisheries biologist, a fish hatchery foreman, a Lake Superior fisheries specialist, a wildlife biologist, a wildlife technician, an environmental specialist, a lease administrator, a realty specialist, a wetlands specialist, a watershed coordinator, a water resources specialist, a water resources technician and two conservation wardens. The challenge to preserve and enhance the natural resources of the reservation is a daily concern of the Natural Resources Department and the entire Bad River Band. A significant portion of the land within the reservation borders is owned privately and subject to intensive timbering which causes severe sedimentation in the erosion-sensitive waterways. The larger rivers that flow through the reservation extend well beyond the reservation boundary and are exposed to upstream contamination sources. The encroachment of development threatens the protection of nesting sites, rare and endangered vegetation species, and cultural and historic features. To protect its resources, the Band is using a watershed approach to resource management which will hopefully guide land management practices throughout the 690,000 acre Kakagon/Bad River watershed. Currently, the Band is producing a comprehensive Integrated Resources Management Plan based on watershed management and continuing to build cooperation with off-reservation stakeholders. A significant portion of land within the reservation bounders is owned privately and subject to intensive logging. This logging leads to a loss of habitat as well as severe sedimentation in the erosion-sensitive waterways.