November 01, 2016

Michigan’s Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum Attempting Great Things

By Justice Bridget M. McCormack

When basketball player Michael Jordan was a freshman at the University of North Carolina, head coach Dean Smith reportedly said to him, “Michael, if you can’t pass, you can’t play.” The oft-repeated claim that we can accomplish more working together than alone might be trite if not so plainly true.

Consider the Lake Sturgeon, the only species of sturgeon unique to Michigan, and the elder statesman of Great Lakes fish.

Historically, the Lake Sturgeon was an important member of the Great Lakes fish community. It was especially relevant to Great Lakes tribes that revered it and relied on it for spring sustenance. But centuries of overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss, together with the species’ unique maturation and reproduction cycle, resulted in its steep decline in Michigan by the turn of the century. By that time, the sturgeon was almost wiped out.

But after 135 million years of existence, it is having a comeback.

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