LAC DU FLAMBEAU, Wis. (WFRV) – For 30+ days and counting, some residents in Lac du Flambeau can’t leave or access their properties due to barricades set up by the Lac du Flambeau Tribe.
The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians said it has been trying to get the Town of Lac du Flambeau and Title Companies to agree to 25-year easements for a decade. In a public statement, the Tribe claimed the Town and Title Companies wants the Tribe to give them ‘right of way’ access forever.
Essentially, they are asking us to give up our land. We have given up millions of acres of land over generations. We now live on a 12-by-12 square mile piece of land known as a Reservation. This is all we have left.Public Statement from the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
The dispute stems from access through roads that travel on tribal land. Previously there was an easement in place that allowed people to use the roads to cross said tribal land. Four roads have barricades on them as the dispute continues.
Both the Town and Tribe have exchanged public comments, which are posted online, but there was no clear indication of an expected resolution date. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers traveled to Lac du Flambeau on February 4 to meet with multiple members of the Tribe.
The Tribe says it came to an asking price of $20 million by accounting for all the fees and expenses incurred trying to get an agreement to provide access for property owners using the Tribal Lands. As well as the cost of ‘illegally using Tribal Lands’ over ten years since the easements expired.
Even though there are roughly 60-70 households affected, the group has over 1,500 members on Facebook. In the group, people share their experiences of crossing a frozen lake to have access to civilization as well as other topics.
A main concern for residents that are trapped, is what will happen once the lake thaws. Residents will not be able to walk or ride a snowmobile/ATV/UTV across a once-frozen lake.
No additional information was provided. Local 5 will update this story if more details are released.