IdleNoMore calls on ALL people to protect our sacred lands, and our sacred waters … our future of mothers and daughters who bring us our sons who become fathers as part of the circle of life that binds us all as one are depending on us as human beings for our survival as living as Indigenous and Tribal People. - STOP THE MINES
Photo by Jenna Pope
Anishinaabe perspective of where is the mine proposed?
The Proposed GTac Taconite Mining, set forth to re-write current Wisconsin Mining Laws in a new Bill AB/SB1 goes far beyond the notion of destroying Clean Air, and Clean Water. The mine, and the new mining laws is a direct threat of human rights to sustain a life, a life of quality. In particular the proposed mine set in the Northern Woods, into the Penokee Hills, resides on Ceded Territories of the Ojibwe Treaties which is a trust agreement by and between the Federal Government before the State of Wisconsin official became a state of union.
Define Heritage to Wisconsin
How can the State of Wisconsin’s leaders and citizens define Heritage to be the Mining State while forgetting that the first nations, the tribes, inhabited and lived on these lands before the State of Union where the trust and agreements were made as settlers came into these lands? Those treaties were written to protect and preserve the right to sustain lives, and live as Indian People. How can Heritage be characterized as one being destruction of the natural resources therefore leads destruction of life compared to the Heritage of the trust and agreement to protect the resources for the future generations come to be; those not born?
Photo by Jenna Pope
The Anishinaabe people have the thought process, the way of life, as the heritage and culture way of life. Destruction of life does not exist in the language of cultural environment. Everything that is living; the plants, the trees, the animals, and the water is how Anishinaabe people think act and live which is preserving and protecting these resources as they bring Anishinaabe people, ALL people life. The rocks, the air, the moons, the stars, the sun and the clouds all is part of the cycle of life that keeps all living things connected and living. All these elements are connected to us all. Our mother earth she provides to Anishinaabe people, ALL people life, what is needed to sustain; its precious so precious. So its completely confusing on the notion why would any mining be a way to sustain a quality of live when the mine will destroy everything Mother Earth provides us to live. The money, the paper, can buy some resources to live but when the resources are all used up, where does that paper, the money leave us? Its pure destruction and devastation of life … that is the way of the first nations are thinking in contrast to the mining. It goes far beyond material, it goes within the spirit, a cultural environment; a way of life and how Anishinaabe live.
Heritage is my opinion is LIFE, people who sustain it and not the machines and mining is not a people or living substance; its a thing, that creates the destruction. Therefore, should not be related to Heritage.
Contrast Battle of Different Worlds, and Different Languages
See it about never take more than one needs; the rocks and minerals have a purpose. These Mining companies and the State agencies are setting path to destruction in false hope of economic boom and bust that merely may last 20-years; but to the Anishinaabe people, who live in the Ceded Lands where the mine is proposed, live to the moral compass of a way of living that what we do today, will effect our generations to come. We cannot take more than what we need, and take what we need with honor and respect while putting back more than taken to have in place for the future generations ability to sustain life, and live a life of quality. This is a teaching, the 7-Generations.
Photo by Jenna Pope
What is the impact that the Mine would cause the Anishinaabe people of this region?
The mine goes far beyond Clean Air, and Clean water. The mine proposes “…an imminent threat as a form of genocide,” as Chairman Mike Wiggins, Jr. explained in the public mining hearing on January 23, 2013. What this means; the catastrophic impacts of the lands, air, water, and all things surrounding them from the mines, is devastation of Cultural Environment which entails their way of life. All the resources in their region are so delicate, delicate to the air, and water quality in the balance of things. The mines will destroy that balance.
For example. The sacred surroundings provided by our Creator, our Mother Earth is the water, the plants, the trees, the wildlife and lands that sustain the growth. The delicate sacred manoomin (wildrice) is a way of sustainable food, nutrition and ceremony; which the minerals and pollutants from the mine will bleed from the lands through the rivers into the Bad River Wild-rice bed for which the Kakagon Sloughs played the role as a filtration system that purifies the water as it bleeds into Lake Superior. That balance is what keeps Lake Superior clean. The Bad River itself runs through their Reservation and their Ground Water supply for drinking water is part of their reservation. The Bad River reservation is the basket of the Penokee Hills that collects and holds all minerals, materials and remnants that flow down the hill tops of the lands into the Bad River. Bad River is the source of the basket that holds all the collections to which their natural surroundings play a balanced role in the acts of nature to protect and preserve everything and everyone around them. If a mine were to happen, Bad River would get all the pollutants and toxics that would come from the mine which would indeed lead to genocide; a cultural genocide.
Other ways of Sustained Life on the Reservation
The Bad River, hunts, gathers and fishes off their lands, and on the Ceded Lands. Bad River has the fish hatchery which they delicately care for to put back the perch, walleye and trouts into the streams and rivers for all to have access to fishing. Bad River cares for the sacred and ancient Sturgeon that exists in the Bad River. They have all the herbs that they grow for ceremony prayer and eating. There are trees which maple is harvested every year. The delicate birch trees that needs clean air, and water and wetlands to sustain healthy growth that provides materials to make and create Anishinaabe traditional crafts and needs.
All of these elements explained in this opinion written piece is the Anishinaabe / Ojibwe Heritage which goes far and beyond any Mining Heritage. Wisconsin’s Heritage should not be identified as the Mining Badger State; as does our State want to be noted as the State of Mass Destruction to its natural resources? The contrast between the two has two complete different languages. One protects and preserves life and the other destroys the life. We have a choice … as Anishinaabe people, we choose life.
As an Anishinaabe / Ojibwe woman, we believe we are the keepers of the water; for water is life. Water is Life is the circle that connects us all as human beings. As Anishinaabe / Ojibwe woman, we are the barer’s of life; we are mothers for which we grow and nurture life in our wombs; with the very first breathe of a child; a child comes from the water in our wombs and into this world. For Anishinaabe / Ojibwe women; we understand as we are mothers that we protect our Mother Earth for she gives everything we need to live; and the main ingredient to keeping the elements provided by Mother Earth is our sacred nibi; water. Water is life and everything that lives needs water to live. That mine proposed in the Penokee Hills will poison the waters of Lake Superior which effects the entire world; and the lakes and streams connected will destroy not just Bad River’s life; but the lives all around us. Its genocide.
Opinion written by Sarah “LittleRedfeather” Kalmanson, a graphic designer of LittleRedfeather Design and We Live Native Collection, Administrator behind the I Stand With Bad River Tribe page and active player in the core group of IdleNoMore Wisconsin/Milwaukee. I am a decent of the Anishinaabe / Ojibwe of the Minnesota Chippewa Band of White Earth, and ancestry of the Anishinaabe goes back to Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau (ancestors are buried there) and St. Croix. - this opinion piece was written based upon an understanding some of the thoughts and knowledge of the Anishinaabe where I do not speak for any tribal members nor any tribe, and as a concerned citizen that we must strive to protect the lands, and water while honoring our Mother Earth and the Tribal Treaties of the Sovereign Nations. For decades Indigenous Peoples have been mis-understood and mis-treated by communities and the government. I am personally active as through out my life I have watched and experienced this mis-treatment of human beings our tribal nations; as I am a human being. I think in that process first foremost. We are all human beings, and we are all connected. The mines destroys lives; the ignorance and greed destroys lives; and the laws being written for the essence of partisan gain and money that destroys life. This is why I have been involved and active with Wisconsin’s, Minnesota’s, Michigan’s and Canada’s and more struggles.
WATER has FACES, its our Children, all our Children - its not a partisan race or creed card, its life as we want for our Children. It is our duty, to care for our children and prepare for their children’s children of the future generations in preserving their resources to have life - its the WATER … Protect them.