The hunting and fishing magazine, Outdoor Life, offers an interesting critique of the American Lands Council’s use of maps to misrepresent the nature of federal and tribal lands. OL’s Ben Long describes that the ALC map depicts federal lands “in blood red ink,” a color equated with “danger, risk and warnings.” In being unicolor, the ALC map also “gives a grossly simplistic picture of the how that landscape is managed.” In contrast, a multi-colored U.S. Geological Survey map depicts land managed as “military bases, wildlife refuges, Indian Reservations and national parks and forests.” Long continues that, “The brown, tan and light green of Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Forest land tend to be of highest consequence for hunters and anglers, and are also the lands first targeted by ALC.”
“So if you’re researching the debate around public land transfer and see the red map,” Long concludes, “take it with a grain of salt.”
The American Land’s Council specific erasure of treaty-reserved indigenous lands also visually vanishes the unique and sovereign status of Indian Nations. This distortion is particularly troubling given the ALC’s relationship with Elaine Willman and the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance. Willman and CERA have long mobilized to terminate Indian Nations and abrogate treaties signed between tribes and the U.S. government.
The ALC, it seems, produces a map that echoes CERA’s goals across the continent.
In the end, a vital lesson is that public land users and Indian Nations should be natural allies. Tribes are leading the struggle for clean water from Standing Rock to the Salish Sea. In the Pacific Northwest tribes have long been at the forefront of reviving salmon populations by restoring the region’s ecological health. Tribal treaty rights have been critical in these struggles, tribes’ standing up for treaties to press states to raise water standards, fight for clean air and restore habitat.
If you like to hunt and fish, you should really like treaty rights!