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Your Views: Wisconsin mine would obliterate Indians’ way of life

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September 24, 2013

When the Anishinaabe (Chippewa/Ojibwa Indians) were driven from the eastern part of our country, legend says that they were promised by Manitou (Great Spirit) a new food for their people called manoomin (wild rice), the “food that grows on water.”

Now Gogebic Taconite plans to blast a 4-mile long open-pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills of northern Wisconsin. The mine area is at the headwaters of the Tyler Forks and Bad River, which flow north into the Bad River Indian Reservation and empty into Lake Superior at the Kagan Sloughs, the largest wetlands on Lake Superior and source of wild rice for the Bad River Anishinaabe.

Historically, the Native American Reservations in the upper Midwest were often geographically placed near the wild rice beds, a food considered sacred to all Native peoples. Now those beds are in harm’s way and will not likely survive the proposed mine project that will, if built, be the largest open-pit taconite mine in the world. For example, in Minnesota downstream from the Mesabi Iron Range, the St. Louis River is contaminated with high levels of mercury and sulfates resulting in fish consumption advisories and a 100-mile long wild rice “dead zone.”

Do we as Euro-Americans have the right to obliterate the food source and culture of the Bad River native peoples? For me, the answer is no! Please join the movement to stop this mine and protect the beautiful Penokee Hills and waters of northern Wisconsin.

JIM KLEIN

Edgerton



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