Judge: NW Lower Peninsula is not an Indian reservation

Associated Press

Petoskey – A federal judge has rejected an effort to have portions of the northwestern Lower Peninsula declared an American Indian reservation.

In a 51-page decision, Judge Paul Maloney says an 1855 treaty placed in historical context can’t “plausibly be read” to have created a reservation for the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.

The lawsuit against Michigan targeted more than 300 square miles in Emmet and Charlevoix counties. Representatives of the tribe have said they want to end legal conflicts between members and state and local governments.

Opponents feared that a reservation declaration would scramble zoning rules, law enforcement and taxation in many communities.

Attorney Lance Boldrey tells the Detroit Free Press that a victory by the Little Traverse Bay Band could have set a precedent in other parts of Michigan.