Gov. Evers, Sen. Baldwin unhappy with resolution efforts from Lac du Flambeau Tribe, Town, and title companies

Gov. Evers and Sen. Baldwin
Gov. Evers and Sen. Baldwin(none)
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 2:53 PM CDT
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LAC DU FLAMBEAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Following months of attempts to bring the parties of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Tribe, the Town of Lac du Flambeau, and the title companies, Governor Tony Evers and Senator Tammy Baldwin have voiced their frustrations with the lack of cooperation between the parties.

In a letter to the associated parties, Gov. Evers and Sen. Baldwin stated, “We remain frustrated and disappointed by the lack of collective work done to resolve this issue permanently, despite repeated and continued attempts by our offices to assist in resolving the issue. It is long past time for mediation.”

Over the past 50 years, an easement between the Lac du Flambeau Tribe and its non-native residents was held in place. However, in 2013 that easement expired and after a decade of failed negotiations, the tribe took action back in February.

That failed agreement lead to the tribe placing barricades along access roads that run through their land back in February.

On February 4, Gov. Evers stepped in and said his administration would assist in efforts to resolve the situation. He met with the Tribe, but at the time the Tribe stated they had no intentions on moving the barriers until a good-faith offer was made by the town and title companies.

In March, the Tribe removed the barricades after reaching an agreement with the people who live along the stretch of barricaded roadway.

The Tribe issued temporary access permits to those people which were good for 30 days. However, the Tribe still expected compensation for the use of unauthorized lands during the time the easement expired.

The Tribe agreed that following the first 30-day period, two additional 30-day periods would be granted as long as goodwill negotiations were conducted between all the parties involved.

Now as Gov. Evers and Sen. Baldwin have stepped in to assist in the process, they have shown signs of disappointment that not even a mediation has taken place, much less an agreement.

They said, “We are extremely disappointed that mediation has yet to occur. This delay harms the people of Wisconsin, whether they are Tribal members, impacted homeowners, or other members of our communities. A lack of action will not help tensions and are a threat to the well-being of the individuals directly involved and the greater community.”

Gov. Evers said his office has provided a list of potential mediators to the Tribe but considers the list a starting point and a resource for consideration.

In the letter, Gov. Evers and Sen. Baldwin urged the parties to immediately begin planning for mediation by selecting and scheduling with a mediator.

“What has been and continues to be the most important part of resolving this ongoing dispute is communication between the interested parties. We are again asking all of you to sit down and work toward an agreement,” they stated.

Gov. Evers and Sen. Baldwin said they remain committed to doing whatever is necessary to encourage open communication and supporting negotiations between the parties.