Friday, February 1, 2013

Ojibwe Chairman Wiggins Lambasts Legislature

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:


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.
Note to the commenter: That's not how it works. Abrogate the treaties, and, what...all of Northern Wisconsin reverts to the native people?

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..."


oldmoderate said...

I am always surprised at the ignorance of indigenous rights and treaties by the low information voters. The politicians and corporations are well aware of these rights and deliberately ignore or misrepresent them. The "Idle No More" international movement is a welcomed sister to the "Occupy" movement as they push back against the greed of corporations and the ignorance of the electorate.

Anonymous said...

Senator Tim Cullen has worked closely with the tribe to produce a bill which respects the rights of the tribe. Please support him and his bill.

Anonymous said...

Please plan to attend the mining bill listening session to be held Saturday, February 9th at 9:00 am at the Americinn in Ashland. We will take this opportunity to celebrate the sovereignty of Native American rights. Native people will testify and present their own unique cultural viewpoint in their own native homeland. Plan to travel to Ashland to attend and support these noble people. It will be one of the most important things you can do to ensure the survival of native peoples. Please bring your children to witness and participate in this historical event. The Anishanabe need more than your sympathy and kind words. They need your action and physical presence. Please attend and spread the word.

Anonymous said...

Honor and respect the Anishanabe by attending the mining bill listening session at the Ashland AmericInn Saturday, February 9 at 9:00 am. The time and travel you spend will be an investment in soul, not a cost which takes something away from you. We were recently honored to have them visit the capitol after making a long journey from the pristine shores of Lake Superior which they protect and worship. Let us show our support and make that journey to their homeland and oppose the mining legislation which endangers their survival. To prepare yourself for the journey, fast and meditate. When you eat and drink, eat only native natural foods and drink pure water. If you purify yourself in this way you will be more in tune with the native people as you stand with them. At the gathering greet each other with “migwetch” the Ojibwe word for thank you. Wear natural materials and give thanks to those plant and animal spirits that have given you these gifts. Think deeply, speak slowly and purposely. Migwetch.

Northern Wisconsin Liberal said...

Those of us who live in Northern Wisconsin and respect the rights and believes of the native people have always believed that they would enter the fight. And that they would bring with them their rights of a "Sovereign Nation".

Bad River Band Chairman Mike Wiggins, Jr has demonstrated he the tribal members will defend the "Sovereign Nation", of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of the Chippewa.

It's imperative that those of us who live in this region and oppose mining speak out at every opportunity. And that we support the tribes and their defense of the environment and the natural resources we share with them.

If I were a betting man my money would be with the "Sovereign Nation", of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of the Chippewa.

Anonymous said...

the multi-national corporate interests behind this have steam-rolled over other "sovereign nations" around the world to exploit and extract resources.

Yes, the native nations will put up one hell-of-a-fight and deserve our support, BUT it should never have come to this and they are not likely to win this fight alone.

Anyone that thinks our legal system is capable of ruling against the out-of-state global interests behind this are not paying attention and once they start the mining process, who's going to stop them.

It is shameful that those opposing the mine are reduced to pointing to the legal rights of others to intercede and are powerless to do anything to enforce the rule of law in a self-proclaimed "democracy" where walker, republicans, and the media propaganda network proclaim that republicans have a "mandate" to violate their oaths to serve within the letter and intent of our laws and constitution.