The Midwest Treaty Network was founded in 1989 as an alliance of Indian and non-Indian groups supporting Native American sovereignty in the western Great Lakes region. The MTN coordinated the Witness for Nonviolence, which stood with Ojibwe (Chippewa) families during the Wisconsin spearfishing crisis of the late 1980s, to deter and monitor harassment and violence by white sportsmen. Using their peaceful presence, public education, and support for a federal court injunction against anti-Indian harassment, the more than 2,000 Witnesses by the early 1990s helped create a climate in which the Ojibwe could fish in peace.
Since the anti-treaty groups declined in Wisconsin, some of their ex-followers have woken up to the reality that outside mining companies, not the tribes, are the real threat to the fishery in northern Wisconsin. The MTN has worked against metallic sulfide mining projects that threaten the fishery for Indians and non-Indians alike, particularly the proposed Crandon mine next to the wild rice beds of the Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa Community and upstream from the pristine Wolf River. In 1995, the MTN started the Wolf Watershed Educational Project to organize regional speaking tours on the Crandon mine, as a way to bring together Native nations with white sportfishing groups, environmentalists with unionists, and rural residents with urban students. This alliance has helped not only to evict Exxon and other corporations, but to change the interracial climate in northern Wisconsin for the better.
At the same time, the MTN is working with numerous tribes and tribal organizations throughout the region on issues of cultural respect (such as Indian mascots and sacred site protection), environmental protection, land claims, and building cultural and economic ties between Indian and non-Indian communities. Its award-winning web site at http://www.treatyland.com serves as a touchstone for Native peoples and supporters of sovereignty throughout the country.
The MTN has no paid staff, and donations go almost exclusively toward printing, postage, and phone costs. The group has relied on its community base to meet its goals, and has stretched a little money a long way. If you want to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Midwest Treaty Network, please make out a check to "MTN/PC Foundation," and mail it to:
Midwest Treaty Network
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|Thank you for your work in defending Native sovereignty in
the western Great Lakes region.
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