By Joe Morey
The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board (TGB) has retained the services of Big Fire Law and Policy Group to study current tribal resources available to initiate retrocession of Public Law 280.
The TGB passed a directive instructing the LCO Attorney General’s Office to begin the process at a special session called for that purpose on Wednesday, January 12.
Big Fire, a 100% Native-owned firm lists as one of its founding members, Sheila Corbine, an LCO tribal member.
The TGB met with the firm at the Sevenwinds Casino on Wednesday, April 13, to discuss moving forward with the plans of retrocession tasking the firm to do an assessment of tribal resources currently available to make the process possible, and to study what may still need to be done.
The TGB’s actions Wednesday were the next step in seeking to restore full tribal jurisdiction back to the Lac Courte Oreilles Government. TGB resolutions dating back as far 1971 indicate the intent of the tribe to assert proper jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters impacting the tribe.
Retrocession under PL 280 means the delegated federal authority would be reinstated to the federal government and tribal civil and criminal jurisdiction would no longer be concurrent with the state of Wisconsin.
Retrocession would require the Tribe to provide law enforcement, courts, probation/parole, public defender services to the community within the Tribal jurisdiction.