Tribal Leaders Hope to Avoid Backlash at Musky TournamentSubmitted: 03/08/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Stories about spear fishing and tribal rights generate a lot of feedback. Some of it is so negative and inflammatory we have to delete it from our Facebook page.

Lac du Flambeau leaders hope to avoid that reaction at an upcoming Musky Tournament.

Fishing tournaments are a way of life for many in the Northwoods. Sports anglers take millions of fish from the lakes each year. In comparison native spearers take a much smaller harvest, but they face extensive criticism for it.

It's likely native people have enjoyed a friendly competition since the invention of the spear thousands of years ago. They hold small tournaments often, and often their pictures end up on websites condemning them, like www.musky.com/2012Single/FisheryRape .

This weekend musky spearers will hold a tournament in Lac du Flambeau. Tribal Chairman Tom Maulson wants Native Spearers to feel the same pride as anglers who show off their catch.

"This is a time that our people can be proud of what they do. And they shouldn't have to be scrutinized by a newspaper or a musky group or any type of fishing group out there… We don't go out there and protest their tournaments," said Tom Maulson, President of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

In the 6 to 7 hours of the tournament, Maulson thinks some spearers won't catch any fish. Some others he says might catch one or two.

There will be Tribal and Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission officials monitoring the tournament.

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