The Midwest Treaty Network (MTN) is an alliance of Indian and non-Indian groups supporting Native American sovereignty. The MTN was founded in the context of the Wisconsin Chippewa (Ojibwe) spearfishing crisis, but got involved in backing sovereignty, treaty rights, and cultural and environmental protection of other indigenous nations throughout the region. The MTN is oriented toward carrying out regional projects which local groups feel they can accomplish only with the help of other local groups. The MTN has always emphasized public education, grassroots action, and finding common ground between Indian and non-Indian communities.

Background on Issues and Network History

For more information on background of issues:
  • Walleye Warriors: An Effective Alliance Against Racism and for the Earth
    by Walter Bresette and Rick Whaley (New Society Publishers, Philadelphia, 1994) ISBN 0-86571-257-3; $17.95 Available from or check walleye_warriors.html for latest.
  • The New Resource Wars: Native and Environmental Struggles Against Multinational Corporations
    by Al Gedicks (South End Press, Boston, 1993) ISBN 0-89608-462-0; $15.00
  • Grossman, Zolt�n. 1992. Indian Treaty Rights. Reprinted from When Hate Groups Come to Town: A Handbook of Effective Community Responses. Atlanta, GA: Center for Democratic Renewal.
    (Center for Democratic Renewal, Atlanta, 1992) ISBN 1-881320-05-7, $18.95 (with flow chart on extreme right-wing networks) an excerpt "The Anti-Indian Movement"
  • Grossman, Zolt�n. 1995. Native and Environmental Grassroots Movements. Z Magazine 8(11):42-50. Archive: NAE. "Native Environmental Movements"
  • "History of Wisconsin spearfishing conflict"
  • Chippewa Treaties: Protecting Northern Wisconsin
  • Link to article “Tailing Exxon and Rio Algom
  • "The New Terminators: A Guide to the Anti-Sovereignty Movement" by Bruce E. Johansen , July, 2000 Edited version in the Fall 2000 Native Americas.

  • Resource Rebels: Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations

    by Al Gedicks

    Native peoples throughout the globe are facing extinction due to the greed of mining and oil companies. As the energy crisis intensifies, their plight sounds the alarm to all those concerned about the prospect of global warming, genocide, and preventable eco-disasters. "Resource Rebels" traces the development of multiracial transnational movements that are countering resource extraction and creating a new environmental ethic.

    2001, 250 pages
    ISBN 0-89608-640-2 paper $18.00
    ISBN 0-89608-641-0 cloth $40.00

    o preview the contents and read an excerpt of Resource Rebels Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations:

    To order, call 1-800-553-8478 or visit the website:


    Al Gedicks
    Dept. of Sociology
    Wimberly Hall
    Univ.of Wisconsin
    La Crosse, WI 54601

    (608) 785-6782 (office)
    (608) 784-4399 (home)
    (608) 785-8486 (fax)


[::] July 4, 1989 - MTN is founded on Tom Maulson's pontoon boat in Flambeau Lake, Lac du Flambeau Chippewa Reservation. Among the founding groups are the Wa-Swa-Gon Treaty Association (Lac du Flambeau), Madison Treaty Rights Support Group, Milwaukee Witness for Nonviolence, Twin Cities Witness for Nonviolence, Citizens for Treaty Rights (Vilas County), Lake Superior Greens (Red Cliff), Indian Treaty Rights Committee (Chicago). The same weekend, Lac du Flambeau gillnetters are attacked, and Chippewa are jeered at a parade in nearby Minocqua.

[::] Fall 1989 - Gillnetting carried out on lakes around Lac du Flambeau, opposed by Project Americans' Rights and Resources (PARR) and Stop Treaty Abuse (STA).

[::] Sept. 1989 - Witness Report on Spring spearfishing season released to Wisconsin Equal Rights Council, documenting racist harassment, sniper fire, wrist rocket attacks, pipe bombs, rock-throwing, death threats, boat wakes and blockades, vehicle attacks, and other mob violence against Chippewa spearers and their families, with inadequate response from police riot squads.

[::] Oct. 1989 - Lac du Flambeau and Mole Lake voters reject a lease of their treaty rights, proposed by Administration Secretary James Klauser (a former Exxon lobbyist), and opposed by MTN groups.

[::] Feb. 1990 - Minneapolis American Indian Center hosts treaty gathering and MTN strategy meeting.

[::] March 1990 - Walt Bresette, Tom Maulson and Andrew Gokee speak out for spearing security at press conference, as Witness trainings draw hundreds throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa.

[::] April 1990 - MTN coordinates Witness for Nonviolence during nighttime spearfishing season, which protesters confront with continuing gunfire, mob violence, vehicle assaults, bomb threats, and on-water harassment and blockades, particularly in Vilas and Oneida counties. Witnesses form cordons around spearing families and drums. International Days of Support for Wisconsin Indians marked by rallies in Stevens Point, and at U.S. embassies/ consulates in Vienna, London, Oslo, and Montreal. Sacred run from Pipestone, Minnesota, welcomed at Lac du Flambeau.

[::] May 1990 - MTN pro-treaty rally draws hundreds to State Capitol and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Madison.

[::] Aug. 1990 - Lac du Flambeau elder Dorothy Thoms testifies on treaty crisis at United Nations hearing in Geneva.

[::] Sept. 1990 - Intertribal spearfishing in Iron County disrupted by police, who arrest two with Indian flag.

[::] Nov. 1990 - MTN releases Witness report to legislative committee, documenting 279 acts of violence, racist acts, or police inaction during 1990 Spring spearing season, including near-riot at Star Lake.

[::] Feb. 1991 - First gathering held to oppose Lynne zinc mine, planned near Willow River fish spawning bed by Canadian company Noranda, 30 miles south of Lac du Flambeau.

[::] March 1991 - Federal Judge Crabb issues first injunction against STA harassment. MTN responds to STA pamphlet with "Wisconsin Treaties: What's the Problem," distributed throughout the ceded territory.

[::] April 1991 - MTN coordinated Witness for Nonviolence, documenting shrinkage of anti-treaty movement to hard-core militants, who escalate harassment. Largely imported PARR crowds assaults Chippewa family, African American witness and others at Sand Lake. International Day of Support includes pro-treaty rallies in Madison, London, Vienna, Brussels, and Prague. Concert with John Trudell and Floyd Westerman raises funds for Lac Courte Oreilles fight against Ladysmith mine.

[::] July 1991 - MTN helps bring people to Ladysmith rally against Kennecott/RTZ mine, on Flambeau River in Rusk County.

[::] Oct. 1991 - Pro-treaty picket greets Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson during his trade mission in Vienna, Austria.

[::] Fall 1991 - MTN works with Wisconsin 1992 Alliance to oppose renaming of Highway 151 as Columbus Quincentenary Highway.

[::] March 1992 - Public educational campaign started on David Duke and Ku Klux Klan activity in Wisconsin. MTN backs sovereign rights of tribes to regulate gaming.

[::] April 1992 - Rally against Noranda mine draws 50 people to mine site; MTN develops brochure with Wisconsin Resources Protection Council (WRPC); company withdraws under local and state pressure.

[::] May 1992 - MTN coordinates Witness for Nonviolence, opposes lessening of police security; documents evident decline of PARR/STA. First relatively peaceful spearing season since legal spearing returned in 1985.

[::] July 1992 - MTN coordinates Wisconsin support for Peace & Dignity Journeys run, on its way from Alaska to Mexico. It passes through St. Croix, Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau, Potawatomi, Menominee, and Oneida.

[::] Oct. 1992 - Peace & Dignity run arrives at Teotihuacan pyramids near Mexico City, led by 13-year-old Adrian King from Lac du Flambeau, and meets up with South American runners. Tom Maulson elected Lac du Flambeau chair.

[::] Nov. 1992 - "Stop the Plunder of Native Lands" conference held at Treehaven Center near Tomahawk to unite anti-mining groups, to protect Flambeau, Willow and Wolf rivers. Infiltrator later spreads false anonymous accounts of conference to newspapers.

[::] Feb. 1993 - MTN sponsors anti-mining alliance gathering at Lac du Flambeau.

[::] April 1993 - Anishinabe Liberation Front and 37-55 Treaty Alliance invites MTN to Mille Lacs Lake, where DNR cites three elders for attempted spearfishing. Witnesses come from the Twin Cities, Madison, and elsewhere.

[::] July 1993 - MTN coordinates 8th annual Protect the Earth Gathering at Lac du Flambeau, bringing hundred to workshops, discussions, concert, and Gathering of the Waters. Ladysmith mine opens the same weekend in torrential downpour.

[::] Feb. 1994 - MTN produces brochure with WRPC on Crandon zinc-copper mine proposed by Exxon/Rio Algom near Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa Reservation; about 60,000 printed by Oneida Nation.

[::] April 1994 - MTN hosts emergency statewide rally against Exxon mine at State Capitol; 400 marchers follow drum to DNR, and circle-dance around Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) headquarters. Native Americans, environmentalists, and sportfishers unite to oppose Exxon mine near Wolf River.

[::] June 1994 - MTN coordinates 9th annual Protecting Mother Earth Conference at Mole Lake, in conjunction with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) Protect the Earth Gathering, bringing 1000 attendees in all. A spiritual walk goes to mine site, children hold their own protest, and people mix water in a ceremony. The Wisconsin Review Commission (WRC) holds a citizens' hearing on the track records of Exxon and Rio Algom, with testifiers from Alaska, Colombia, Ontario, and New Mexico.

[::] July 1994 - Religious leaders question Wisconsin DNR's confiscation of eagle feathers from a Native American man.

[::] Aug. 1994 - MTN endorses protest at nuclear plant at Prairie Island Dakota reservation, on Minnesota side of Mississippi River, to oppose nuclear waste storage.

[::] Jan. 1995 - MTN launches public education campaign on Menominee treaty rights, as PARR/STA tries to mobilize sportfishers against Menominee treaty suit in Wolf River watershed region.

[::] March 1995 - WRC panel, chaired by Wisconsin Secretary of State, Douglas LaFollette, releases its "Report on Track Records of Exxon and Rio Algom," on the sixth anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

[::] May 1995 - Kids for Clean Water hold Youth Intercultural Environmental Awareness Gathering at Keshena, along Wolf River in Menominee Nation. MTN works with Menominee, Mining Impact Coalition, and Milwaukee vets on planning.

[::] July 1995 - Healing of Nations Gathering at Lac du Flambeau against Colorado developer's plans to build homes on Strawberry Island burial site of a Chippewa-Dakota battle. MTN assists with public outreach on Strawberry Island protection.

[::] April -May 1996 - MTN initiates Wolf Watershed Educational Project (WWEP) speaking tour on Exxon mine, goes to 22 towns along Wolf and Wisconsin rivers, drawing 1,000 to Rhinelander rally on May 4 at proposed site of mine pipeline discharge into Wisconsin River.

[::] June 1996 - Witness for Nonviolence monitors dispute on Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa reservation in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

[::] July 1996 - MTN Northwest Wisconsin office aids Bad River blockade of train carrying sulfuric acid to White Pine Mine in U.P.

[::] Sept. 1996 - WWEP skills training weekend was held Sept. 13-15 on Menominee Reservation.

[::] Dec. 1996 - Crandon mine opponents try to stop Local Agreements between Exxon and Forest County local governments.

[::] March 1997 - WWEP counters Exxon PR campaign with radio ads, information on anti-union track records. Wisconsin State Senate passes Sulfide Mining Moratorium Bill.

[::] April 1997 - Witness for Nonviolence reactivated for spearing/netting around Mille Lacs in 1837 Ojibwe-ceded territory, east-central Minnesota. Witness trainings in Minneapolis, Duluth, Ashland, Madison, and Eau Claire. In Wisconsin, Nashville voters choose a new Town Board critical of the Local Agreement for Exxon's Crandon mine.

[::] May 1997 - MTN calls for peaceful resolution of occupation of Mole Lake tribal offices.
White Pine acid mining project cancelled in U.P. Michigan.

[::] June 1997 - WWEP holds rally for Illinois tourists against sulfide mining at the Wisconsin Tourism Bureau in Chicago. Circle Tour against sulfide mining launched around Wisconsin. Unionists form Committee of Labor Against Sulfide Pollution (CLASP)

[::] July -Sept. 1997 - WWEP Circle Tour reaches over 20 communities around Wisconsin. Pro-mining Wise Use groups People for Wisconsin (PFW) and Coalition for Fair Regulation (CFR) formed. PFW/CFR lead industry backlash against grassroots environmental movement.

[::] Aug. 1997 - Anti-treaty federal court appeal fails in Minnesota.

[::] Oct. 1997 - Over 1000 attend Mining Moratorium bill hearing in Milwaukee--two-thirds for a Moratorium. CLASP leaflets mining equipment factories and visits union locals in city to counter industry propaganda.

[::] Nov. 1997 - MTN co-sponsors Native Health and Sovereignty Symposium in Milwaukee, with the Committee on Women, Population, and the Environment (CWPE).

[::] Dec. 1997 - MTN calls for Governor Thompson to drop demand that tribes weaken their environmental standards and treaty rights in exchange for gaming compact renewal.

[::] Jan. 1998 - Exxon turns over Crandon mine project to Rio Algom partner. Rio Algom's Nicolet Minerals Co. replaces Crandon Mining Co.

[::] Feb. 1998 - Wisconsin Senate and Assembly overwhelming pass a strengthened Mining Moratorium Bill after nearly successful attempts to gut it.

[::] April 1998 - Witnesses for Nonviolence go to Mille Lacs, Minnesota to monitor intertribal spearfishing; only one incident of rock-throwing reported. Wisconsin Governor Thompson signs Moratorium bill.

[::] June 1998 - Protect The Earth Journey walks 320 miles from Red Cliff Reservation on Lake Superior to the State Capitol in Madison, to back a "Seventh Generation Amendment." Nashville town chairman Chuck Sleeter beats back recall challenge from pro-mining candidate.

[::] July 1998 - MTN backs Wisconsin Ho-Chunk claim to part of former Badger Army Ammunition Plant in Sauk County.

[::] Oct. 1998 - Over 200 attend WWEP Capitol rally in a downpour, to demand DNR enforcement of the Mining Moratorium Law. MTN co-sponsors Midwestern CWPE conference "Dangerous Intersections: Women's Perspectives on Population, Immigration, Prisons, and the Environment."

[::] Nov. 1998 - Treaty Run from Lac du Flambeau to the Supreme Court in Washington D.C., which hears the Mille Lacs treaty case December 2.

[::] Dec. 1998 - Police raid and destroy protest camp that for four months had occupied a Mdewakanton Dakota sacred site threatened by a Minneapolis highway expansion.

[::] Jan. 1999 - WWEP opposes new Rio Algom plans to keep and process wastes at the Crandon mine site, and to submit three "example mines" to meet criteria of the Moratorium law.

[::] Feb. 1999 - WWEP supports Nashville lawsuit to overturn Local Agreement, and opposes state lawsuit to overturn federal Clean Water Act authority for Mole Lake.
MTN co-founder Walt Bresette pases on.

[::] Mar. 1999 - Menominee tribal member Ingrid Washinawatok, two other indigenous rights supporters assassinated by Colombian gunmen. Mille Lacs Ojibwe win treaty case in Supreme Court.

[::] April 1999 - Nashville town board wins another election against pro-mine candidates. Wisconsin loses suit against Mole Lake water authority.

[::] May 1999 - Mining company sues Town of Nashville.

[::] June 1999 - MTN supports Lakota/Dakota stand at White Clay, Nebraska (against murders and alcohol sales) and La Framboise Island, South Dakota (against the Mitigation Act's transfer of Missouri River treaty lands to the state).

[::] July 1999 - Lake Superior defenders demand clean-up of coal tar in Ashland. Milton, Wisc. drops Redmen mascot after years of struggle. Minneapolis police again attack Dakota protesters against Highway 55.

[::] Aug. 1999 - Federation of Fly Fishers declares Wolf River the #1 endangered U.S. river.

[::] Sept. 1999 - MTN opposes construction of Duluth-Wausau powerline, using hydro electricity from Manitoba Cree lands, crossing Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe lands, and powering the proposed Crandon mine next to Mole Lake Ojibwe lands. WI Natural Resources Board holds Sturgeon Bay hearing on Mining Moratorium rules.

[::] Nov. 1999 - WWEP rally against proposed transmission line to the Crandon mine draws 100 in Monico, on proposed line route.

[::] Oct. 1999 - Forest County Potawatomi win federal Clean Air status.

[::] Nov. 1999 - WWEP rally against proposed transmission line to the Crandon mine draws 100 in Monico, on proposed line route.

[::] Dec. 1999 - Indigenous peoples join Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO). Natural Resources Board refuses to order rules for Wisconsin mining moratorium. Court rules in favor of Nashville suit against mine local agreement. Police raid and destroy Mendota Dakota spiritual camp on Hwy. 55 route in Minneapolis.

[::] Jan. 2000 - Voters in Milton, WI, reject recall of school board that changed "Redmen" school team name to "Red Hawks."

[::] Feb. 2000 - After European mine disaster, WWEP and four other groups call for cyanide ban at Crandon.
Wisconsin Assembly hearing held on AB 217 to ban school mascots.

[::] April 2000 - 100 rally in Keshena (Menominee Nation) to protect the Wolf River from mining. 750 attend student-led rally at State Capitol in Madison to stop proposed Crandon mine, transmission lines, and Perrier water mining; rally culminates WWEP schools speaking tour.

[::] May 2000 - St. Cloud police raid Native studies student protest in Minnesota.

[::] July 2000 - MTN joins other groups in asking Wisconsin to change derogatory "squaw" place names.

[::] Aug. 2000 - "Walk to Remember" completes 57-day, 1,200-mile sacred journey around Lake Superior, following vision of the late Walt Bresette. MTN backs Ho-Chunk opposition to Perrier springwater pumping plans near sacred sites in Big Springs, Adams County WI.

[::] Sept. 2000 - MTN holds rally at Canadian Consulate in Chicago, opposing Canadian attacks on Mikmaq treaty fishing rights, and Canadian mining plans in Wisconsin.
MTN supports Mi�kmaq fishing rights struggle in New Brunswick, holds Chicago rally at Canadian Consulate.

[::] Oct. 2000 London-based South African company Billiton buys out Rio Algom, owner of Crandon mine site. State court hearing on Nashville local agreement, attended by vice presidential candidate Winona La Duke and the Indigo Girls.

[::] Nox. 2000 WWEP/SOUL rally against mine/transmission line at PSC hearing 11/28 noon, Rhinelander Holiday Inn.

[::] Jan. 2001 President Clinton denies clemency to Leonard Peltier. President Bush names Gale Norton as Interior Secretary.

[::] Feb. 2001 Scott McCallum becomes new WI governor. WI Assembly Bill 95 introduced to ban cyanide in mining. Senate Bill 24 introduced to ban "squaw" in WI place names.

[::] March 2001 Citizens' Assembly held in Madison to unite opponents of corporate rule in WI.
March 2001 State Judge Janine Geske overturns Nashville recession of Crandon mine local agreement. Billiton merges with Australian mining giant BHP. Citizens' Assembly held in Madison to unite opponents of corporate rule in WI, draws over 150.

[::] April 2001 Student Mine Summit held at Mole Lake Reservation near Crandon mine site.

[::] May 2001 WI Senate Environment Committee votes for cyanide ban in mining. BHP merges with Billiton; Australians rally against Crandon mine at BHP shareholders' meeting.

[::] July 2001 Majority of Wisconsinites in poll oppose Crandon mine, cyanide in mining.

[::] August 2001 Public Service Commission approves Wausau-Duluth transmission line, but not feeder line to Rhinelander/Crandon. MTN backs proposal for "Walt Bresette Memorial Highway" in Iron County, WI, on stretch of Hwy. 122 "adopted" by KKK.

[::] Sept. 2001 WWEP launches Wisconsin speaking tour on cyanide in mining.

[::] Nov. 2001 WI Senate passes SB-160 to ban cyanide in mining, and SB-271 to end special treatment for mining industry.  "Native Voices for the Wolf River" benefit in Madison for the Town of Nashville.

[::] March 2002 Statewide rally at State Capitol for mining bills draws 100, WI Assembly Environment Committee Chairman blocks bills.

[::] June 2002 BHP Billiton approaches the State of Wisconsin about purchasing the Crandon mine site. Environmental and conservation groups and tribes proposed public acquisition and joint state-tribal-local management of the 4,800-acre site, as a permanent and inclusive solution to the minng threat.

[::] Sept. 2002 Gov. McCallum pulls out of site purchase talks with company, which lays off staff at NMC subsidiary in Crandon. Mine permit process continues.

[::] Nov. 2002 Governor-elect James Doyle promises to reopen mine acquisition negotiations.

[::] March 2003 Cyanide Ban and No Special Treatment bills reintroduced in Republican-led Wisconsin Legislature.

[::] April 2003 Nicolet Minerals Co. sold to Northern Wisconsin Resource Group, owned by Connor logging family that originally sold much of the mine site land to Exxon in 1970s.

[::] Oct. 2003 Forest County Potawatomi and Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa purchase and divide the Crandon mine site for $16.5 million, take control of mining company, and drop the mine permit application. 28-year Crandon mine battle comes to an end, in a way that protects the 5,000-acre site's natural and cultural resources.

[::] Nov. 2003 Native and student groups protest racist school play "Little Mary Sunshine" in Viroqua, Wis.

[::] Dec. 2003 MTN among groups honored by Mole Lake and Potawatomi at Celebration Powwow in Green Bay.
Mole Lake forms Wolf River Protection Fund to help pay off its $8 million debt from the Crandon mine site purchase.

[::] Feb. 2004 Madison referendum defeats Ho-Chunk proposal to expand its DeJope bingo hall into a casino, after local movement organizes against tribal gaming (without similarly criticizing non-Indian or state gaming).

[::] Feb. 2004 Menominee Nation and Trout Unlimited defeat proposal for springwater bottling plant in Polar, Wis., in Langlade County upstream from the Little Wolf River.

[::] March 2004 Osseo-Fairchild school board votes to revamp its Indian logo to specify a Ho-Chunk image, despite opposition from a Ho-Chunk Nation resolution and many local Indian and non-Indian residents and students.

[::] April 2004 MTN receives the "Allies for Justice Award" from the Headwaters Foundation for Justice in Minneapolis, for its role in defeating the Crandon mine.

[::] Sept. 2004 Lake Superior Ojibwe mark the 150th anniversary of the LaPointe Treaty of 1854 with a "Treaty Gathering" on sacred Madeline Island.

[::] Sept. 2004 WWEP begins educational work on the possible revival of proposals for an underground nuclear waste repository in the granite bedrock of the Wolf River Batholith.

[::] June 2005 MTN holds Nationhood Gathering at Sokaogon Chippewa Community in Mole Lake, WI.

To contact MTN:
P.O. Box 43, Oneida, WI 54155

(Make tax-deductible contributions
to "MTN/PC Foundation")

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