Mincing no words by letter, Bad River Band Chairman Mike Wiggins, Jr. took Wisconsin legislators to task for ignoring tribal sovereignty throughout the production of a mining bill that would substantially degrade the Band's land, water and treaty rights.
The Wisconsin State Journal explains:
"As a Native Sovereign Nation, the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of the Chippewa enjoys the right to engage in government-to-government consultation on matters of law and policy that affect its interests," Wiggins wrote.
The state failed to initiate any such consultations, he wrote, adding that Bad River tribal members and other Native Americans "have been singled out for abusive treatment during the legislative process."One legislator said a year ago that shutting the tribe out of mining discussions was OK by him.
Others share the ignorance that Wiggins' letter to legislators attempts to cure.
Having written extensively on the obstacles facing an open pit iron ore mine in the Lake Superior watershed where the Bad River Band live and harvest wild rice basic to both subsistence and cultural continuation, I am shocked at the persistent misinformation posted in comments by anonymous readers who do not understand that the Ojibwe have rights stated in treaties signed by the United States government.
And I say "stated," not conferred by the US Government, because these rights are extant and were retained decades and decades ago by the Ojibwe - - rights that preceded the formation of the United States - - and which were laid out in treaties when the Ojibwe ceded to the US Government - - nation-to-nation - - massive acreage worth unimaginable wealth from which modern-day Wisconsin was created.
But this is misunderstood, or ignored, from the State Capitol to the North woods to southeastern Wisconsin.
Here is one such comment under a posting of mine that ran in Friday's Journal Sentinel as an op-ed:
Note to the commenter: That's not how it works. Abrogate the treaties, and, what...all of Northern Wisconsin reverts to the native people?I would support legislation to give the Indians the wild rice they need on an annual basis. Now can we please get this going and create much needed jobs and income to this area? I'm sure it would win on a local referendum. It's easy for us to sit down here in Southern Wisconsin and blog about a project that will not affect 95% of us.
Other comments on my personal blog when I write there about the mine issue get deleted, something I rarely do, because the racism would drip right through your computer screen.
More, here, among many website histories and explanations that make clear there is no arrangement or directive to "give the Indians the wild rice they need..."