The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians is a federally recognized Indian tribe. The Red Lake Reservation encompasses over 840,000 acres of land and water which spans across eight Northern Minnesota counties. The reservation completely surrounds Lower Red Lake, the states largest lake, and includes a major portion of Upper Red Lake. The Red Lake Reservation retains the only contiguous, unalloted reservation in Minnesota. Red Lake is one of only a few tribes in the U.S. that resisted allotment, and the Tribe holds all land in common for the benefit of its members.
The Red Lake Reservation is home to 75 percent of the Tribe’s 10,000 Band members. The primary sources of livelihood include hunting, fishing, and subsistence natural resource harvesting. Natural resources historically represented the most important source of employment to the Band members, with commercial fishing and logging representing the two most important industries. These two industries affect every member on the Reservation. Therefore, preserving and restoring its rich aquatic ecosystem and abundance of other natural resources is critical to Band members’ health, welfare, traditional ways of life, economic viability, and is a high priority for the Band.
Natural resources programs for the Reservation have been productively operating since the 1980’s. Base programs such as forestry, fisheries, wildlife, waters, and environmental protection have created a strong foundation allowing expansions in recent years to create specialized programs such as wetlands, GIS, air quality, and fire prevention to name a few.