8 thoughts on “In Penokees camp, tribes flex treaty muscles to block mine

  1. Do Republicans even THINK about what they’re saying?

    State Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, called the Chippewa hunting camp a “squatters’ village,” when this was ALL Chippewa land until invading white people physically forced the Chippewa off their land by 1837-42.

    Even then, the white invaders succeeded in their takeover only because they PROMISED, in a written legal CONTRACT, to let the Chippewa keep using the land for traditional hunting and gathering, which necessarily includes camping overnight, given that much of the ceded territory is a long distance from the small reservations where the Chippewa were forced to live.

    So who is the real squatter here?

    Senator Tiffany also said, “From what I’ve heard — I haven’t been there — there’s environmental damage being done with them building roads and trails. They’re interfering with other people’s ability to use the forest. They’re destroying the very environment they claim they want to preserve.”

    How can he NOT realize how bizarre his comment is … especially when he hadn’t even SEEN the camp?

    A huge outside corporation is trying to permanently destroy all traces of the Chippewa people’s traditional hunting and gathering landscape over an enormous area, including a MASSIVE HOLE 4.5 MILES LONG at the center of the project. It’s an undisputed fact that total environmental OBLITERATION will be unavoidable and overwhelming if mining is allowed to proceed.

    This huge land area will NEVER recover.

    Yet Republicans fuss about TINY environmental effects from the small Chippewa camp, despite the obvious fact that any camp impacts will quickly grow over and disappear a few months or a year after it closes. The camp is harmless.

    There’s no comparison.

    Republicans also ignore the fact that many social structures in that region will also be badly fractured for many decades to come. The local culture and values will change forever, and not in favor of better environmental management.

    Once an “extraction mentality” takes over in the region, favoring jobs at any cost, the flood of new invaders will soon become majority voters. They’ll push aside long-time and native residents who favor natural sustainable land and water management. The mine will start an anti-environmental domino effect in the name of “progress,” and will soon destroy much more than the mine site in that region.

    I saw an active open-pit mine of this size in Colorado a few years ago, and a former open-pit mine in the UP a year before that. In person, both were astoundingly HUGE and mind-bending … just deep, bare rock holes stretching to the far horizon, with twisted, stripped, scarred lands all around them. At the active mine, vehicles, processing equipment, power lines, mystery structures, and roads were scattered all around the area, with ugly, cheesy housing and trashy commercial developments nearby to serve the imported, temporary workers. (This “progress” was abandoned and rotting at the closed UP mine, of course.)

    Both mines were a horrible blight on formerly gorgeous lands.

    If I were Chippewa, I would be infuriated by all the betrayal and the garbage arguments being used by Republicans against them. I would feel robbed.

    If this huge amount of landscape destruction is allowed in the ceded territories for this one project, and the opposition of the Chippewa people is ignored, then it will be the end of Chippewa treaty rights.

    It’s shameful.

    • I was amused at the mine people complaining about the camp people “watching them”. If they’re not doing anything wrong, what’s the problem with being watched?
      Sound familiar?

  2. What is it with the Walker administration and their permits? The Chippewa do not need to sign a permit to exercise their treaty rights, just as the Solidarity Sing Along does not need a permit to exercise their First Amendment rights!

    Tom Tiffany’s statement is completely bizarre in the face of the environmental destruction to come with the mine!

    And Mr. Varius?

    “I bet you 90 to 95 percent of the people in Iron County are not wanting other people to occupy their forest,” Vairus said.

    How are they going to feel about that mining company occupying “their” forest as it destroys their way of life?

    Do these people even have a brain connected to their mouths, or are they just mouthpieces for the incompetent yet vastly destructive fascist regime that is at work selling off (and out) the State of Wisconsin?

    Thank you for a good article about the reality of The Harvest and Education Camp! Thank you for the other side of the story. Thank you for not using the terms environmentalist and radical in your description of these beautiful people. Every local news media release on this story has been nothing but the one-sided regurgitation of Gogebic’s PR department.

    • Actually, a federal judge has ruled that the Solidarity Singers do need a permit. Likely, a federal judge will require those who are camping/occupying/building on public forest land (as opposed to actively harvesting and returning to their own homes) will need permits as well.

  3. This is an outstanding article.
    Glen Stoddard is the best in the business, case closed. Your great-grandchildren will likely be reading about him in their history lessons. I sincerely hope he considers a political career after he cleans up this mess.

  4. I think its great that they’re having this camp, it’s educational and its a shame though it had to happen in such turmoil, folks are alway in an uproar when they think the natives are going to do something they don’t like, but imagine how they will be when that whole area is destroyed by the mining. im sure those iron county folks will think, gee all they had was a camp that was educating people on old ways of Ojibwe people, now we have a big hole in the ground that is hurting the environment

  5. And to think that this mining company would destroy our environment, our state, for a paltry $1,000 per ton of taconite…!!!!! It’s incredible.

    Way to go with educating the public about this horrible act of rape to our environment, all approved by our legislators and governor. Now let’s stop it!