Special Interest Mining Bill Passes Assembly, DOA In Senate
The Wisconsin Assembly disgraced itself Thursday by passing an industry-written mining bill that would trash the Bad River watershed and undo hundreds of years of water conservation work, plus state, constitutional and Native American sovereignty in Wisconsin.
Fearing a public opinion backlash, and recall elections that have already claimed two members and threaten four more, Republican State Senators will go more more slowly; their first order of business will be to shelve the Assembly's toxic, anti-democratic action.
An excellent, ongoing source of information about this issue is the open Facebook page:
Citizens Concerned about the proposed Penokee Mine
Well, looks like the Indians will have to sue. Do we know what wording the treaties between Bad River and the US Government have regarding wild rice ?
The only aspect I am aware of myself is this - They have a large area of the state, most of the north from around CF Bloomer or so, that is called the "ceded land" or maybe ceded territory, which means, they gave up actual ownership of the land but kept hunting fishing gathering rights. In a huge area. THye aren't supposed to be denied access to reasonable use. What constitutes "reasonable" is a point of contention, as in the past when an anti-tribe group of white guys lead by Dean Crist began a rage campaign saying the tribes were over-spearing and leaving too few fish for regualr (white) anglers.
There were a lot of fights at boat landings etc.
Crist made up t-shirts that said "Save a Fish, Spear an Indian" etc. etc. It got ugly. Eventually it all died down. I'm not sure how that was achieved, it was some years ago. So other than pressing a case that the tribes ability to rice in the ceded territory will be compromised I don't know.
I myself am not pleased to see Non-tribal Wisconsinites hoping that some mysterious tribal powers will save our bacon. These are guys that WE (the good old whiteys) elected. To hope for some native cavalry to save the day is tacky as hell IMO. These are our guys and we are powerless to stop them? Let's not leave it at the native door. Our government is known for crapping out on deals with tribes, it's a given. To assume that The BR Band has huge leverage legally is just not good. Or fair. Why should the tribe "have to sue"? Are they our clean-up crew? Our culture, our mess, our way of conducting business. And when it gets too much to handle, all this macho free-enterprise, we ask the "Red Guy" to save our scalps?
THen even if they did, which I'd be amazed at, will "we" go back to bitchin about casinos making "too much money", and bitchin about their excessive spearing, and bitchin about wind power and getting all enraged over requests not to use Indian mascot names for our sports teams?
Hey Tonto, save my butt?
It's time to realize we can't stop our own guys, not the banks, not Wall st, not BP, not our out-of-control legislators, not any of them. It's crazy to look to a conquered people when the greed and aggression in our own culture is now finally and uncontrollably turning in on ourselves and it's really beginning to hurt. Like they say, Reality Bites.
To Me said:
Oh how true, how sadly, profoundly true. And how well you said it.
An additional point: the tribes (and the regular folk who live in the area as well) will bear the cost either way. Clean-up of the land, air and water when mining companies move on to the next exploitation opportunity, or the cost of cleaner resources and fewer jobs.
The tribes know all too well that "white man speak with forked tongue." Too bad the white folks haven't learned that lesson as well.
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