Ceremony at bear's den in path of transmission line, March 11

You can hear the Superior Broadcasting interview of Betty Jack (broadcast Feb. 28) by downloading the mp3 file (19.5 MB) at http://www.superiorbroadcasting.org/mp3/chosabear3.mp3

Links to other coverage by Superior Broadcasting at http://www.superiorbroadcasting.org/bear.htm and http://www.superiorbroadcasting.org/bearrally.htm

Crew to skirt momma bear, cubs
February 28, 2006

Ladysmith, Wis. (AP) - Some hibernating bears can get the rest of their winter's sleep in peace after a power company decided to delay construction of a power line through the area.

A mother bear and her cubs are hibernating about 200 feet from the power line's right of way near Ladysmith in northwestern Wisconsin, said Dave Valine, project manager with Wisconsin Public Service Corp. "They are kind of nestled under a tree," Valine said Monday.

Crews had planned to do some clearing there, but Rick Moser, environmental consultant with Wisconsin Public Service, said workers will now avoid the area until late April.

The new power line, being built by American Transmission Co., which is owned in part by Wisconsin Public Service, will run about 210 miles from Duluth, Minn., to near Wausau. The $420 million line is expected to provide enough energy to power 225,000 homes. Construction already has started on some portions of the line.

Mark Schmidt, a biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources, said the mother bear could bolt if startled and not return for her cubs. Some bears can hibernate through noise, but it's impossible to tell how any bear would react, said Keith Warnke, the Department of Natural Resources' big game specialist.

"The most cautious advice is to wait until mid-April when they are gone," he said. Crews will work in other areas for now, Valine said. "Everyone agrees it is in the best interest of the bears," he said.

From: michael chosa [mailto:micho23ldf36@yahoo.com]
Tuesday, February 28, 2006



As you can see by the news stories, there has been an apparent resolution to the sleeping bear saga.  However, most of us Anishinaabeg and other humans who are protectors of the environment, know only too well how the economic interests and State/federal officials can turn the tables on us if we are not constantly vigilant.  The same is true with Makwa and her spiritual sleep-journey, her birthing, and her inherent right to survive with her offspring.

What is now required is for us, as responsible Anishinabeg, and for others who share the vision of protecting Mother Earth, is to publicly and by means of proper ceremony, honor this relative of ours and her offspring with a feast and ceremony, for in her simple act of "just being there" at just this time, is something more than coincidence.  This relative has provided us humans with the opportunity to unite over the eternal issue of taking versus giving, and we now need to fulfill our obligations to our sacred creator and our ancestors and relatives.

We must always remember, that when the little muskrat came back to the surface in the Anishinaabeg  creation history, and delivered posthumously the little clod of earth, the promise of our survival did not come without a price.  That price was, and always will be, to honor and protect our Earth and all of its resources.  This is not just an inherent right  -  it is equally an inherent duty and obligation.

It is in this spirit, that Makwaweyaan, (aka Betty Chosa Jack), and respectfully in behalf of all Native elders, hereby asks that Saturday, March 11, 2006,  be set aside so that we can journey to the site of this place where Makwa and Makoonsag are now resting, hopefully peacefully, and to conduct ceremonies and feast our Mother Earth for again drawing us together in unity for the good of all mankind.  Tobacco is now being passed to our spiritual people to seek their counsel and participation.

Makwaweyaan invites all to congregate at the MacDonald's parking lot at high noon (12:00 PM) on Saturday, March 11, 2006.  We will then journey to the "bear site" where the feast and ceremonies will take place.

If any of you have further suggestions, or can volunteer time, energy, or other resources, please contact Nick Vanderpuy, telephone No. 715-766-2725, or Betty Jack, at 715-588-1937, or her cell 715-892-2371, or Mike at 715-588-7557.  We welcome and honor your participation and presence.


Feb. 27, 2006

There's a sleeping bear and her cubs lying in the path of the Arrowhead-Weston transmission line.

Superior Broadcast Network's producer Nick Vander Puy walked into the woods with two other men, to view the bear. To hear the radio show and see photos of the bear's den:

Lac du Flambeau elder Betty Jack has vowed to protect the bear's den from the bulldozers, and is asking for help from people around the region; her number is below.

Lying in the woods, in northern Rusk County, a bear rests in her winter den. A few miles south heavy machinery operators tear up the earth for the Arrowhead Weston electric line, slicing across northwestern Wisconsin. The bear's den is near the path of the giant electric line.

Another week or so and the bulldozers working on the American Transmission Company's giant electric line could knock down the bear's winter lodge...unless something is done. This story goes back to last deer hunting season. Gary Miller was hunting on his neighbor's land. Poking around the woods, next to a windfall, Miller stumbled.

"And I was ready to step over a downed tree and something rubbed my leg. He was half asleep, he was moving his head back and forth, scared the you- know- what out of me. And I really didn't know what to do. I came close to protecting myself, but when I seen his eyes were closed I backed off the bear."

Gary Miller didn't shoot the bear. He told his neighbor Rick Palmer about the bear. Palmer's been looking after the bear all winter, trying not to disturb the creature.

"What are we looking at today. A bear my neighbor found during deer season, deer hunting season, maybe once a week, to me it's an amazing thing to see something like that, and I'm an outdoorsman, I'm very enthusiastic about the outdoors, and I enjoy, and I enjoy just looking at and seeing it."

Across northern Wisconsin bears hibernate from fall until late spring. During the winter their heart beat slows down to around eight beats a minute. The bears live on reserves from eating berries and acorns in the late summer and fall.

Bears have fascinated us for thousands and thousands of years. Bears are still regarded in a sacred manner by some members of the Ojibwa tribe and well as ancient European tribes.

After trudging into the woods we approach the bear's den. The animal is curled up...asleep underneath a fallen poplar tree. We're standing about thirty yards from her. She's the size of a small couch.

"If you get much closer than this she'll pick up her head and look at ya."

"It must be a female. She's got babies I bet ya."

"Was that? Yeah, that's a cub, squealing like a little pig would, ya hear that? It is a female like I thought."

"She's big, really big, I just hope nothing happens to her. It would really upset me."

"Gary, what did you just hear? Squealing like a little baby. I knew it had to be a female. But gotta hear that squeaking, you know at least there's one or maybe two underneath, but I don't want to find out."

We walk out of the woods.

Hanging around the truck we talk about protecting the bear.

Earlier last week Bob Ringstad from Ladysmith, a landowner and opponent of ATC's giant transmission line contacted the DNR, both in Ladysmith and Madison for help. Ringstad wanted the local game manager and warden to accompany us seeing the bear. Instead, Ringstad says he got the run around from the DNR.

"It just shows you our system has been corrupted. Our DNR has no authority, period. You can't get an answer, you can't get a response, and I didn't get the call back from Dave Siebert that I asked for. I said please call me back. He never did call me back."

Last spring landowners and citizen groups took the DNR to court. They were concerned that the DNR was not looking closely at specific wetland and forest locations along the proposed line route. They felt the process was being "rubber stamped".

Bob Ringstad wonders who's speaking for the land.

"We can't have this going on because somebody has to speak for these animals, somebody has to speak for the birds, somebody has to speak for the whole environment, and this is the issue, something has to change."

And the guy who stumbled onto the bear last deer season...how does Gary Miller feel today.

"Happy that, that animal is still alive. Like I said before I don't want to see that animal get hurt, by any private corporation, doing their dirty work."

"I'd just like to see this stuff that they're doing stopped, because I don't know how many animals, like I said before, because you've animals that burrow in the ground, and hibernate, besides the bear do, I just think it's sad."

After we recorded this story the DNR and Public Service Commission got more involved in protecting the bears. The DNR and PSC are attempting to prevent the American Transmission Company from cutting trees near the bear and her cubs.

I'm Nick Vander Puy for the Superior Broadcast Network

This sleeping mother bear and her cubs are in the path of the Arrowhead 345,000 high voltage transmission line. She lies sleeping at the beginning of the great northern woods of Wisconsin. There are hundreds of miles yet to go and the ATC has just begun. One has to wonder just how many more bears lie sleeping in the path of the bulldozers? How many more wetlands and forests are to be crossed by this company? How will they be protected.

To learn more about the Duluth-to-Wausau high-voltage line, and the resistance to the line, visit the web site for Save Our Unique Lands (SOUL): http://www.wakeupwisconsin.com

To help stop the bulldozers, contact Betty Jack at home, 715-588-7937 or cell 715-892-2379.

To contact the DNR wildlife biologist about the sleeping bear and her cubs:

Mark Schmidt
N4103 Hwy 27
Ladysmith, WI 54848
715-532-4369 ex. 3527