Join Stafford Rosenbaum in watching the film Bad River, in theatres from March 15-20, 2024. The movie documents the Bad River Band’s ongoing fight for sovereignty against Canadian energy company Enbridge.

The movie will play at AMC Fitchburg 18, Ashland Bay Cinema 6, and at select theatres across the country. 50% of all profits from the film will be donated to the Bad River Band. More information on the Band and the litigation is below. For more information on the film, tickets, and showtimes, visit www.badriverfilm.com.

The Bad River Band

The Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians is a federally recognized Indian Tribe with a government-to-government relationship with the United States and sovereignty over its Reservation and citizens. The Band’s Reservation is in northern Wisconsin and constitutes approximately 125,000 acres just east of the City of Ashland. The Reservation’s conservation area contains almost 500 miles of rivers and streams (including the Bad River), over 30,000 acres of wetlands, and 38 miles of Lake Superior shoreline. Based on the 1854 Treaty of Lapointe, the Band and its members have federal treaty rights to the lands, waters, and natural resources within the Reservation and ceded areas. They have protected these resources for centuries.

The Lawsuit

In 2019, the Band sued Enbridge Energy over a crude oil pipeline that Enbridge built across the Reservation in the 1950s. The Band alleged that Enbridge knowingly trespassed on the land by refusing to remove the pipeline after its easement expired in 2013. In addition, the Band alleged that changes in the path of the Bad River over the last 70 years have brought the river dangerously close to the pipeline, thereby creating conditions that pose an unacceptable risk of an oil spill on the Reservation.

After trial, the district court found that Enbridge was intentionally trespassing on the Band’s land and that its pipeline constituted a public nuisance. The court ordered Enbridge to remove the pipeline within three years and adopt certain protocols in response to the migrating river, and it entered a monetary judgment in favor of the Band. Enbridge appealed those findings, and the Band cross-appealed on the adequacy of the trial court’s remedies. The case is now in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. See Bad River Band v. Enbridge, Case No. 23-2467 (7th Cir.).

Stafford Rosenbaum’s Role

Stafford Rosenbaum had the privilege of being a small part of this legal battle. Stafford served as local counsel for the trial in October 2022, alongside Kanji & Katzen, one of the country’s leading law firms in advancing the interests of Indian tribes and nations. Stafford’s trial team included Douglas M. Poland and David P. Hollander.

About the Bad River Film, in the Filmmakers’ Words

BAD RIVER, narrated by Quannah ChasingHorse and Academy-Award nominee, Edward Norton, is produced by Grant Hill (owner of the Atlanta Hawks), Allison Abner (writer for Narcos and West Wing) and award-winning filmmaker, Mary Mazzio. The film chronicles the Wisconsin-based Bad River Band and the Band’s ongoing fight for sovereignty, which unfolds in a groundbreaking way through a series of shocking revelations, devastating losses, and a powerful legacy of defiance and resilience. This inspiring project brings us through the epic sweep of history into the present, with a David and Goliath battle over a 70-year-old pipeline on the brink of rupture into Lake Superior, the largest freshwater resource in America. As Eldred Corbine, a Bad River Tribal Elder declares in the film… “we gotta protect it… die for it, if we have to.”

Executive producer Mato Wayuhi (Reservation Dogs) wrote several hip-hop tracks for the film; Grammy-winning producer, Shep Crawford (producer/writer for Whitney Houston, Tamia, Boyz II Men) wrote and produced an original score; Executive Producer Taylor Hensel (Reservation Dogs, Reciprocity Project), worked on both the story and strategy for the project; Alec Sokolow (Toy Story) worked closely with Abner and Mazzio on all aspects of the narrative, and Bad River students created original artwork for the animation team at PunkRobot, an Academy Award winning shop (Bear Story).


Stafford Rosenbaum LLP is a full-service law firm with two convenient office locations in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 145 years of dedication to businesses, governments, nonprofits, and individuals has proven that effective client communication continues to be the heart of our practice.

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