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Wyoming is considering creating a framework for tribal hunting outside of reservation land

Wyoming Hunger Initiative

The Wyoming House floor will consider a bill that would give the Wyoming governor the right to strike an agreement with tribes on treaty based hunting, fishing and gathering rights.

House Bill 83 is based off of the U.S. Supreme Court decisionback in 2019 which said a Crow tribal member had the right to hunt during Wyoming’s off-season in the Bighorn National Forest.

That decision means that a federal 1868 treaty which gave certain tribal members the right to hunt on unoccupied lands outside its reservation is still valid. What this bill tries to do is create an agreement between Wyoming and tribes with these treaty rights ahead of time rather than deal with the details in potential litigation. The details of how the tribal hunting rights would work would be negotiated between Wyoming’s governor and the tribes.

Rep. Bob Nicholas (R-Cheyenne) said the final agreement needs to be approved by the state legislature.

“We will then, we being the legislature, will say we approve or disapprove of this,” said Nicholas. “And we will enact this into law rather than it being an agreement through the governor which typically he doesn't have the authority to do unless we give it to him.”

But Micheal Ute, Eastern Shoshone Business Council’s vice-chairman, said that there is no need to create a new law.

“We have to remember that this is a federal treaty right that was there before the state of Wyoming even existed,” said Ute. “If we add more things to this process of the agreement are you putting roadblocks so that the tribe cannot exercise its treaty right effectively and I fear that would lead to immediate litigation.”

The bill did pass the committee, and now will be heard by the House.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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