LCO Tribe Finds ‘Brand New Way’ To Protest: With A Harvest Camp

 

This article is being republished here. I am a graduate of LCO tribal college (LCOOCC). I have a great love for my Ojiwe friends and their struggle to keep traditional ways alive. The Harvest Camp is the best of this world where elders and youth can share and learn how to live traditionally.
I pray that Bad River and LCO can stave off the Iron Ore Mine which threatens fresh water feeding directly into 43 pure waterways that wander through Bad River Reservation, through other communityies out to Lake Sperior and are meant for all species. You can learn more about the Penokee Hill Iron Ore Mine in the news and on Facebook.
In 2012, I arranged for Frank Koehn to come to Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College and present a program on the Iron Ore Mines proposed for Penokee Hills. He has reached far and wide and is interviewed in the following article at http://www.uwsp.edu/pointeronline/Pages/articles/Penokee-Hills-Mine-Could-Devastate.aspx

 

Harvest Camp

Credit Jennifer Simonson
Twelve-year-old Conner Beaulieu picks wild onions at the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp in Iron County.

 

The Lac Courte Oreilles tribe is trying a unique way to help stop the proposed iron ore mine in the Penokees: gathering wild onions and mushrooms.

The new LCO Harvest Camp is set in the backwoods of Iron County, right in the middle of the proposed mine.

Connor Beaulieu of LCO says he’s almost 13 years old and proud to show off this new camp.

“Right here, we’re just building a little wigwam right there and right here is where one of our campers are staying. A little farther back is where we’re building more campsites. Pretty nice here. Peaceful. I don’t know where this leads, but let’s explore!”

The five-acre camp is tucked away in an Iron County forest. There’s no cell phone service here, but there are campsites, trails, wigwams, a community kitchen and lots of young people. Twelve-year-old Mikey DeMain of LCO likes working at the camp.

 

Harvest Camp

Credit Jennifer Simonson
One of several wigwams being built at the LCO Harvest Camp. The camp is a unique form of protesting the proposed iron ore mine in the Penokee range.

​“Yeah. I helped ‘em make some wigwams, helped collect firewood and stack it. Think I’m going to hang out there a lot this summer.”

Mikey’s grandfather Paul DeMain says this is also an educational camp.

“You can learn about mushroom gathering, plant medicines, wigwam building. There’s ironwood up there. There’s basket weaving with birch bark. There’s people fishing. There are people doing all kinds of beautiful things and it is so healing. That’s ultimately what it was: The idea of, ‘How can we help mend our communities and come together?’”

This camp is on top of the largest iron ore body in North America with the potential to create hundreds of jobs. But Wisconsin tribes say it would destroy this pristine land.

“Some of us have given our whole lives to fight for the cause and stop mining.”

So this spring, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe Governing Council voted to designate this spot as a harvest camp. They have that right under the Treaty of 1842 — to hunt, fish and gather. The treaty ceded the land to the U.S. Government in exchange for that right.

LCO Elder Melvin Gasper says Native American harvest camps date back centuries, when tribes lived off the land.

“You start out with a spring camp or maple sugar camp. You will travel next to your fishing camp. Then you travel next to your harvest camp, for harvesting wild game and stuff for your winter. And then you have your winter camp. All of these were different harvest camps.“

And Gasper says there’s another reason. It’s to stop the mine.

DeMain says the mine would poison the Lake Superior and Bad River reservation watershed, so it’s time other tribes join the fight.

“If there are people from some indigenous nation who has relationships to the land up here who want to go camping up at Mount Whittlesey at Eagle’s Peak or on the crest and occupy the range, that’s up to them. What we’ve tried to do is establish a legal framework in which we can exist here and coincide with what’s there now and monitor the situation.”

DeMain says LCO is deliberately getting in the way of Gogebic Taconite, which is currently drilling exploratory bore holes.

“Bad River seems to be taking the brunt of the battle on this mining legislation and organizing it. Frankly, people get tired and they feel beaten up, so there are other tribes who are saying ‘How can they contribute to this way?’“

So, they’ve built this harvest camp. Elder Gasper says even as they pull wild onions from the ground, they are effectively occupying this area.

“Most definitely it is. They were asking us basically ‘How do you protest?’ This is a brand new way. It’s a peaceful manner in which we are using as a harvest area and showing what can be taken out of this and saved. Some of us have given our whole lives to fight for the cause and stop mining.”

Gasper says his ancestors sacrificed for him, now he’s doing the same for Mikey and Connor and future generations.

 

Read the words of wisdom by Mike Wiggins, Jr.

Reflective writing  by Tribal Chairman, Mike Wiggins, Jr., from the Bad River Reservation. The threat is the Open Pit Iron Ore mine in  the Penokee Hills. Bad River Reservation is downstream from the mine.
As I sit in a Madison Hotel tonight it’s giving me some time to reflect on things that have transpired over the course of the past twelve months. It is no secret that Bad River has been uncompromising in our opposition to mountaintop removal in the Bad River Watershed. To spend a year actively engaged in the reality of it happening has been heartbreaking, infuriating and humbling. Tonight I sit here in awe and wonder, truly humbled by some of the things I saw and heard along the way……Please bear with me…I’d like to share some of them.
I have seen rocks ride out to big water on Lake Superior waves.
I have watched babies play blissfully on the floor outside public hearings where their parents testified and begged for stewardship of the earth.
I witnessed Red Cliff leader Marvin Defoe share with everyone that he had to tell his daughter “I have three minutes to change the world.”
I have seen Northland citizens in West Allis who had rode a bus for 7.5 hours for the possibility of five minutes testimony.
I have been told “this is not a game.”
I have seen Cranes, Eagles and Herons appear and stay in places that defy reality.
I have watched Tribal Leaders I used to read about, use their gifts of speech and persuasion to help Bad River and fight for all of us.
I have watched time tested Bad River Ogitchidaa rise to the occasion.
I have watched time tested Bad River Ogitchidaa stir restlessly waiting on other fronts.
I have watched new Bad River Ogitchidaa and Ogitchidakwe rise to the occasion.
I have watched people of the four colors come together to eat, laugh and talk about their love of blue clean water.
I have been told to “show some respect.”
I listened to elders talk of babies and thunderbirds.
I listened to corporations promise millions and millions, but fail to promise the world.
I have watched our Tribal Council in consensus.
I watched Joe Rose’ arm rise in the air and hold for a tenth of second, then drop and launch the loudest drum beat I’ve ever heard through the center of the Capital Building in Madison.
I listened to Danny Powless say to the Madison Singers “no offense, but this is who we are.” Picture Rock Anishinabe
I have been taken aside by Bad River elders to have them say “I pray for you.” “I pray for us.”
I was there when George Newago told the Assembly Committee..”I live here, don’t piss in my cheerios!!”
I have listened to Jo Dan Rose and Jerome Powless stand and deliver like heroes with hand drums.
I have been told the mining company can put enough money aside to fix the aquifers under Bad River if they ruin them.
I listened to Bill Williams describe how GTAC was merely going to participate in and recreate the circle of life with their open pit mine.
I have had the pleasure of telling Bill Williams to clean up his dirt that he left on a testimonial table.
I have had a Senator say “I believe you.”
I have heard us called “The Bad Tribe”, “Bad Water”, “Bad Land” by Republican Legislators.
I have been told by the Governor that he is not driving the mining initiative.
I have told the Governor in a meeting, that if he is going to come to Indian Country and meet with Lake Superior Chippewa he may want to put mining and water issues on the agenda for our meeting.
I have seen pictures of a ceremony where a drum and Mother Earth became one at the hands of Tony Deperry and BR Vice Chair/Elder Bing Lemieux.
I have listened as Lake Superior Chippewa Tribal Leaders talked with our ancestors.
I have seen them all helping these things around us.
I have heard Bad River Elder Joe Rose tell the Creation Story.
I have drank sacred water from Midewin Water Ceremonies
I remember another Bad River Elder Sonny Smart’s talk, and I truly came to realize I know this much
.

I have been told that 1.5 million was earmarked in Legislation for Bad River but it was never made public. I was asked “did you know that Mike?”
I have said that our wild rice and Kakagon Sloughs are worth a penny.
I have said that without our wild rice and Kakagon Sloughs, we won’t live.
I have seen a warrior dancing in the antlers of a big buck, in my fire.
I have seen mothers, babies and wolves in my fire.
I have come to completely understand the dreams that were given in Vision about this stuff.
I have come to understand and accept that there is a spectrum of people reading this right now and some understand what I’m saying and some think I’m nuts. But it’s all true. And it’s been a hell of a long year. With everythin…I’ll end my self disclosure with this……….I have been moved to tears of gratitude with the thought of all your hard work and the roles that all of you stepped up to fulfill. All of you.

These are words that each of us need take to heart. It is in protecting the water, living sustainably, and standing up for our rights, that we are able to protect the environment from Corporate America, that would devour us.

Ho-Chunk tribal president stands up to Iron Ore Mining Bill

This is a beautiful testimony on Ho-Chunk tribe honoring the drum and standing up for the Earth. Ho-Chunk President Jon Greendeer delivered the 2012 State of the Tribes speech in front of the Wisconsin legislature. We are still strong. Many of us understand the risks that would be in our own backyards if this Iron Ore Mining Bill goes through.

Watch the video to learn that at least in Wisconsin tribes stand up for the Earth.  Many Wisconsinites are standing up to this dangerous mining situation also. I have been at it so long that I can’t even repeat the words anymore, “NO Iron Ore Mine at Bad River.” Many tribes have stepped forward to speak their words and chant their prayers through out this long dragged out battle to protect the water and earth from further contamination. The mine will speed up Climate Change factors with unintended consequences of polluted chemicals that will be exposed if the mine were to become a reality. An open pit mine that would be a desecration of the Earth most not happen.

http://wcmcoop.com/members/tribes-everything-about-our-earth-is-sacred/

Wisconsin GOP Votes To Break Native American Treaties January 27, 2012

This news come from Segway Jeremy Ryan

This [Iron Ore Min

Iron Ore Mine would leave NW WI with this destruction

Iron Ore Mine would leave NW WI with this destruction

ing] bill is far too broad and allows for a $12 billion mine that would destroy Northern Wisconsin. Northern Wisconsin currently has a lot of natural beauty. There are also several tribes in this area, all of which have Federal peace treaties. Many of the tribes showed up today as the Assembly debated the bill. They worry for their land, their air, and their water. Smaller mines than this one have caused major issues. But rather than work with the tribes and local people, Republican Representative Jeff Stone said it was not his job to provide a seat at the table for tribes. They kept the bill as is.

Tribal land is considered its own sovereign nation. As with every sovereign nation, we have treaties so that we can keep the peace. It was agreed, by treaty, that these tribes would not have their resources infringed upon. This mine, however, would destroy their water and air, breaking the Federal treaty and declaring war on a sovereign nation. Treaties are not optional. The passage of this bill literally and legally declares war on the tribes of the north.

One day longer. One day stronger.

Happy Tonics, Inc., an environmental education organization and public charity,  is standing with the Bad River Reservation to stop the Iron Ore Mine near Bad River Reservation. Personally, I am standing with the tribe because Northwest Wisconsin is my home. I want Northwest Wisconsin to stay pristine for future generations. I do not want the water to become contaminated. I say NO to the Iron Ore Mine. I am a graduate of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College in Hayward, WI.

Read the full article at http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/01/27/wisconsin-gop-votes-to-break-native-american-treaties/

 

 

Bad River is having a difficult time defending their rights

against the mining companies. I speak most specifically about the Iron Ore Mine that will be an open pit mine. The mining company will remove the face of the mountain. This is disrespectful and an insult not only to tribal people but to many of us that make Northwest Wisconsin our home.

We live here to be part of the Earth. Now the mining companies and natural gas/oil companies are moving into WI as if we were the new Third World. We have been fighting against the mines for months now.

Still the State Assembly passed the mining bill. There was no regard to tribal treaties which makes me believe that Indigenous lawyers need to respond. I believe that tribes have the right to stop a mine from being build on land above the tribe. Bad River Reservation has 43 waterways that run though the tribe and out to Lake Superior. Bad River watershed needs to be protected.

Listen to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and what the agency is responsible for. It appears that they better help the tribe resolve the mining issue because most assuredly, it will affect the tribe and all others in this part of Northwestern Wisconsin.

YouTube at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oCHVdR2nYg&feature=youtu.be

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