Crandon Mine Threatens Menominee Indian Land and Culture
The Menominee are recognized by archeologists as the longest-known residents of Wisconsin, having occupied the region for more than ten thousand years. Menominee means "good seed" or "wild rice people."
Twenty-seven miles of the Wolf River runs through the heart of the Menominee reservation - it is the 'lifeblood' of the Menominee people. The Wolf River is intricately woven in the tribe's identity and culture. The river has spiritual value to the Menominee and provides food. Many tribal ceremonies include throwing tobacco in the river as an offering. The tribe also uses trees and plants within the Wolf river basin for medicinal purposes and they still gather wild rice.
According to Ken Fish, Director of Treaty Rights and Mining Impacts, "we hold a spiritual, religious, ancestral connection with the Earth, water and air. If we cut it, then we're reliant on grocery stores and purified water. Then we've failed our responsibility given to us by our Creator to ensure the seven generations down the road have a way of life as we enjoyed and our ancestors enjoyed 1,000, 2,000, 8,000 years ago."
The Menominee are renowned and respected worldwide for their sustained yield forest management practices. Ninety-five percent of their reservation produces the finest old stands of hardwood, pine and hemlock located in the Great Lakes region. The thick forest and clean, clear rapids of the Wolf River are reminiscent fragments of the way Wisconsin was hundreds of years ago, during a time when people lived in harmony with the blessings of the natural world.
The Wolf River is host to a rainbow of trout species, sturgeon, American Bald Eagles and other critical species of flora and fauna. In the spring of each year, the Menominee gather at the Wolf River in Keshena to celebrate the return of the sturgeon. The link between the health of the sturgeon, the Menominee people, and the Wolf River is of special significance. The sturgeon is deeply ingrained in Menominee culture, spirituality, and subsistence patterns. Dams on the Wolf River already impede the natural migration of the sturgeon to the reservation. If the water quality or quantity declines because of contamination from the Crandon mine, the sturgeon would have no chance of survival. The Tribe has expressed serious doubts that the technology to be used at the mine site would protect their land, water, and culture. Indian Trust Assets include on-and off-reservation issues about Native American reserved water rights, subsistence, harvest and ceremonial use of fish and other resources and Treaty rights related to fishing, hunting and gathering,
The Crandon mine debate is more than an issue of environmental protection. It is about respecting the inalienable rights and religious beliefs of culturally distinct people. It is about dignity and respect for life and the tribe's rights to self-determination as a sovereign nation. It is about greed, self-serving political agendas, and a society's insatiable appetite for consumer goods - and the belief that more is better. It is about preserving the integrity of life's essential natural resources for future generations.
WHAT YOU CAN DO -
Please write a letters to:
Ask the Governor and Secretary Bazzell to respect the rights of Wisconsin's Indigenous Peoples and ensure that the human, aquatic and biotic communities of those who depend on the Wolf river watershed for spiritual, cultural, economic and life-sustaining qualities are protected and preserved in perpetuity for future generations.
For more information about the proposed Crandon mine, visit:
Maec Waewaenen! (thanks much)
Midwest Treaty Network Content page