Red Cliff Reclaims 15-Acre Property; Expands Food Sovereignty and Access to Treaty Rights

Red Cliff Reclaims 15-Acre Property, Continues Land Repatriation Efforts
Property will expand food sovereignty, increase tribal member access to practice treaty rights

 December 3, 2021 – The Red Cliff Band has acquired a 15.6-acre property off Hwy 13 on County Rd K as part of its continued efforts to reclaim and preserve land. The property will expand food sovereignty efforts, including harvesting of small and large game, wild edibles, and medicinal plants.

“Reacquiring Tribal land is very important to our membership and our future generations,” said Red Cliff Chairman Christopher Boyd. “We continue to work towards maintaining the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of this culturally significant area.”

The planned property use is tied directly to requests from the Tribal Membership. A large number of youth, elders, and general membership indicated the desire to increase harvesting opportunities.

“The pandemic has placed an enormous burden on the food systems we normally rely on,” said Red Cliff Planning Administrator Nicole Boyd. “By increasing access to food sovereignty, we are supporting tribal members’ rights to healthy and culturally appropriate food systems produced locally, affordably, and ecologically sound. Tribal Members will have increased access to practice their subsistence harvesting rights while staying safe and closer to home.”

The property has been purchased from Tribal Member Christina Peterson and family with a portion of CARES Act funding to help with the Tribe’s COVID-19 response. Tina Peterson and family desired to sell the land back to the Tribe in support of land base repatriation and expansion. Miskwaabikaang has experienced tremendous growth over the last 10 years, and the Tribal Council has worked to expedite its land repatriation efforts.

“We are very grateful for the Petersons’ desire to only sell back to the Tribe,” said Chairman Boyd. “This is a great help for the Tribe’s land reclamation efforts and food sovereignty expansion for our membership to practice treaty rights.”

Tribal Leadership continues to work towards reclaiming land as highlighted in the Treaty Natural Resources Division’s Wenji Bimaadiziyaang Comprehensive Plan, with the goal of fully accommodating the needs of Miskwaabikaang’s growing and thriving Tribal community.

Importance of Land Repatriation

Established by treaty, the Red Cliff Reservation now encompasses nearly 15,000 acres. However, in the years leading up to 2006, tribal aki (land) holdings within the boundary had dwindled to under 8,000 acres – which is only 55% of the original land base. The result became a “checkerboard” ownership within the boundaries, with former reservation aki being held by Bayfield County, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and in private non-member status. This mixed ownership inhibits comprehensive management and restricts tribal member use and access. Mixed ownership on the reservation also poses threats to habitat connectivity for migratory and wide-ranging species, which could lessen habitat’s resiliency to climate change.

With a growing population and limited aki base, repatriation of lands is a high priority for Miskwaabikaang. Expanded residential, municipal, agricultural, and commercial space on the Reservation is crucial for meeting the needs of the Tribal Membership.

Learn more about the Tribe’s land repatriation efforts at