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Memorandum of Understanding between the Superior National Forest and three northern Minnesota Bands is now available on-line

May 29, 2023 10:04AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Superior National Forest 

From the Superior National Forest - May 29, 2023

The Superior National Forest has uploaded the Memorandum of Understanding to our website Tribal Relations page, along with a Frequently Asked Questions to help answer questions our partners, cooperators, and the public may have about the impact the MOU will have on the Forests operations. 

“The framework that this MOU lays out is a meaningful step for the Superior National Forest to meet our tribal trust responsibilities and make sure we are protecting the Bands’ Tribal Treaty Rights under the 1854 Treaty,” said Tom Hall, Forest Supervisor, Superior National Forest, “we are working to strengthen the relationship with the Bands as well as remain committed to engaging all of the public through NEPA comment periods, public meetings, social media and our web presence.”
A few of the key Questions from the FAQ document include:

What is the intent of the MOU between the SNF and Tribes?
The co-stewardship MOU between the SNF and the Tribe’s is intended to outline the relationship and level of engagement for natural resource management, Ojibwe cultural life-ways (living cultural resources and Tribal Cultural properties), enhance opportunities for economic development (education, training and employment), Tribe’s right to self-governance, advancement of Environmental Justice, and issuance of special use permit or land exchange within the Superior National Forest and trust lands within the 1854 Treaty boundaries. 

What are the areas of focus, or provisions of the MOU?
There are three provisions in the MOU focused on Tribal Resource Management, Tribal Access, and Tribal Special Designation areas. Resource management priorities address the culturally important habitats, species, plants, vegetation, connectivity, and climate change as defined by tribes.  Tribal access priorities address maintaining and enhancing access, ensuring land exchanges, special use permits, and Tribal identification processes do not detract from the ability to exercise Treaty-Reserved Rights, and developing clear processes for personal and commercial harvest purposes.

Will the MOU affect any public, partner, cooperator, or industry engagement?
Public, partner, cooperator, and industry involvement in the NEPA process, including opportunities for comment and objection, is unaffected by the MOU.

Why weren’t external groups included in the Forest Service and Band dialogue?
Tribal Governments are afforded special rights as domestic dependent nations that are recognized by Treaties signed with the federal government. The Forest Service engages in a special government to government consultation with the Band to fulfill its legal trust duty. The legal status held by tribes’ means the rights of tribal governments are different from the public and our agency partners.

For more FAQs, please see the full document located on the forests Tribal Relations web page

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