Tue September 3, 2013
Native Americans Raise Funds To Protest Mine; GOP Moves To Block Access
Native Americans spent part of the weekend fundraising to protest the proposed iron ore mine near Hurley. Meanwhile, Republicans in the state legislature are gearing up to block protests at the mine site.
The fundraiser was held at Tom's Burned Down Cafe on Madeline Island; a tribal drum circle provided some of the music.
The money raised will go to the Native-led environmental justice organization “Honor the Earth.” Group Director Winona LaDuke is from the White Earth Nation in Minnesota. She says Honor the Earth is helping some of the Wisconsin protests against the proposed Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties.
LaDuke urged the crowd at the fundraiser to pace themselves. “Hang around longer than GTAC. How about that? We [will] hang around longer than the mining companies; let's let them go bankrupt while we're still here, OK?”
LaDuke acknowledges the mining industry and pro-business groups usually have very deep pockets. “They have a lot more money than we do. What we've got going for us is, first of all, we're on the right side. We're really resilient. These mining companies, a lot of them have been around 20 years, 50 years. A few of them have been around a few more years than that, but the Anishanabe people, we've been around 10,000 [years].”
Honor the Earth plans another fundraiser this Friday in Madison. GTAC and its supporters in the state legislature plan an active week too. A hearing will be held Wednesday on a Republican-sponsored state Senate bill that would allow GTAC to prevent public access to its potential mine site until a state permit is approved. A Senate committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday, less than a week after details of the bill were made public.