Overview and History

Federal treaties exist between the United States government and tribes residing in Michigan (see map below). Although the entire State of Michigan is covered by treaties, only two treaty areas are currently subject to fishing by tribal entities. The Treaty of Washington, signed in 1836, covers the eastern Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The Treaty of La Pointe, signed in 1842, covers the western Upper Peninsula, and areas of northern Wisconsin.

Tribal Coordination Unit map

The mission of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division Tribal Coordination Unit is to lead the coordination of activities between the State of Michigan and Tribal entities with regards to fishery resources. The Tribal Coordination Unit (TCU) was formed in 2001 and is housed at the Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station.

The TCU works with researchers from the Michigan DNR to assess commercially important fish species including lake trout, lake whitefish, and bloater chubs. Research also includes assessment of inland fisheries within the 1836 and 1842 Treaty-ceded areas of Michigan. This work includes population modeling efforts, tagging studies, and evaluations of fish growth, mortality, and recruitment.