By Shereen Siewert

One person is facing criminal charges after allegedly opening fire on a group of Ojibwe spear fishers on Little Saint Germain Lake, officials said.

The incident happened Saturday night, according to a statement by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Officials with the commission, along with Vilas County Sheriff’s deputies, responded and one person was arrested on charges of being armed while intoxicated.

The DNR, in a formal statement Wednesday, condemned the action by the accused shooter.

“The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was disappointed to hear that once again the Ojibwe people are encountering such troubling and challenging situations when practicing their court-affirmed right to spear fish in the ceded territory,” the statement read. “We continue to support their treaty rights and will provide whatever assistance is needed to make it a safe season.”

The controversy over spearfishing in northern Wisconsin is not new.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, there were multiple violent clashes in northern Wisconsin over the issue of Ojibwe spearfishing. Violent scenes at boat landings received national and even international attention.

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While the violence has receded in recent years, it has not disappeared.

Lac du Flambeau tribal police arrested a man in May 2019 for allegedly shooting at tribal spear fishers on Gunlock Lake in Vilas County.