MN Bar Association: Wild Rice Goes to Court as the Rights of Nature Movement Hits Minnesota

While it is exciting that the mainstream legal world is beginning to take notice of the rights of nature movement, this particular case of manoomin vs. the MN DNR was thrown out in the tribal appellate court level (the article was written before the decision). The tribal court ruled that they did not have the jurisdiction in the case, which was a disheartening turn in the White Earth tribe’s push to legally protect manoomin (wild rice) which began with legislation in 2018.

The Niibi Center’s Rights of Nature program, under the leadership of Lakota lawyer Terry Janis, has been working diligently to help the WET to codify the rights of manoomin under the existing tribal legal system. The Niibi Center will also be hosting an Anishinaabe Law Conference in June 2023 to begin delving more deeply into natural law here on White Earth and beyond.

Excerpt from article:

“One appeal of the Rights of Nature movement is that it may readily provide standing for environmental protection lawsuits, which can otherwise be difficult to prove absent an economic injury. By acknowledging inherent rights of nature, entities such as streams, mountains, or forests could claim a legally sufficient injury more easily than a nonprofit or advocacy group seeking to prevent the same harm. Represented by a guardian, the natural entity could seek compensation for its own damages and relief from activity harming it in a way advocacy groups may not otherwise be able to because of their own limited interests.”

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Find out more about the Niibi Center’s Rights of Nature program here.

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