Friday, October 09, 2015

Rozsa Center to host "Senses of Land" Gallery exhibit, Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra "Violapalooza" concert Oct. 10

Rock Run Creek Forest, by Cathleen Faubert. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- The Rozsa Center will host two events Saturday evening, Oct. 10: The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra "Violapalooza" concert at 7:30 p.m. and the reception for the art exhibit "Senses of Land" in the Rozsa Center Gallery from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Come early for the concert and enjoy the art exhibit and reception in the Rozsa Center Gallery, located in the lower level of the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at Michigan Tech.

"Senses of Land" in Rozsa Center Gallery

Senses of Land features work by three contemporary artists who focus on landscape, ecology, and our place in nature and community. Artists will feature work that explores our sensory and personal connections to diverse landscapes and how we find our ways among the places where we live.

"Senses of Land" features the artworks of Allen Morris (photography), Sage Dawson (map making), Cathleen Faubert (scent and memory) and the poetry of David Ebenbach.

Visitors can experience "scent and memory" related to Cathleen Faubert's photo of Rock Run Creek by testing the scent she provides in the blue bottle. (Her hand-crafted scent is priced at $80 an ounce and includes Wild Ginger, Limestone, Spicebush Berries, Creek Water, Bloodroot, Dwarf Iris, Rattlesnake Plantain, Elderflower, Mushroom and Blackberry.) (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The reception is come-and-go, but curator Lisa Johnson, Michigan Tech assistant professor in Visual and Performing Arts, will give a gallery talk at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.

The exhibit, free and open to the public, continues through Nov. 13, 2015.

Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra:  "Violapalooza"

What is a Violapalooza?  Lollapalooza with violas? Picture a host of young Kurt Cobains with violins. Playing classical music. And, instead of Nirvana, the concert will feature the stars of the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra and special guest artists -- along with the emerging, talented violists of the Keweenaw region --all on stage together at the Rozsa!

What is a Viola you ask? According to Wikipedia: "The viola is a bowed string instrument that is slightly larger than a violin, with a lower and deeper sound." The KSO’s Violapalooza this Saturday will feature many, many violas! Want to learn more? Come to the 4th Keweenaw Honors String Festival at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, and find out!

Guest artists include violist Pamela McConnell of the Bergonzi String Quartet and guest conductor Daniel O'Bryant. Local string musicians and the Keweenaw Youth Symphony Orchestra join together with McConnell and the KSO in a "Violapalooza" celebration of the viola.

Tickets for the 4th Keweenaw Honors String Festival concert are on sale now -- $19 for adults, $6 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at (906) 487-2073, online at, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance. Please note the Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.

(Insert photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Copper Country Community Arts Center to exhibit sculptures by Amanda Szot through October 31

Birch shrine compressed. This is part of the new exhibit in the Kerredge Gallery, "The Voices of Trees," sculptures by Amanda Szot. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

HANCOCK -- The new exhibition in the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s Kerredge Gallery is "The Voices of Trees," sculptures by Amanda Szot. The public is invited to a reception with the artist from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9.

The Ironwood artist works with wood, stones, books, wire, beadwork, cast iron, and sand to create sculptures that honor the forest and tree-bird connections. Her freestanding sculptures grace the gallery along with boxed assemblages as shrines. Szot's work addresses the life cycle of trees and the ways trees are made "useful" beyond their natural state.

"This group of sculptures depicts my thoughts about how trees have their own language, as well as the voices that other beings have given to them," Szot says. "Many of the sculptures are made from books, thus bringing the cycle of life to a full circle: tree to wood pulp to paper to book, now back to tree imagery. I have also included found pieces of lumber, firewood, driftwood, branches, and bark in many of the sculptures. I consider each of these thrown-away scraps as precious keepers of tree wisdom, each formed over many years of living growth, then transformed by human hands, taking on even more wisdom and history."

This exhibition is supported by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. The exhibition will be on display through October 31, 2015.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Nickel company seeks 320-acre metallic mineral lease on state land near Eagle Mine; comment deadline is Oct. 12

This map indicates with an M the parcels in section 35 (near northwest corner of map), Michigamme Township in Marquette County, where North American Nickel (US) Inc. has requested a direct metallic mineral lease from the State of Michigan. (Map courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

UPDATED (Oct. 8): MARQUETTE -- North American Nickel (US) Inc., of Chicago, Illinois, has requested a direct metallic mineral lease from the State of Michigan covering Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) metallic mineral rights located in Michigamme Township, Marquette County, Michigan, containing a total of 320 acres, more or less, further described as: SW1/4; N1/2 SE1/4; W1/2 NW1/4, Section 35, T51N, R29W.

Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) has expressed concern about this lease request for 320 acres of Escanaba River State Forest -- home to the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler, cultural history, and tribal resources.

Joseph Youngman of the Copper Country Audubon Club captured this rare view of a pair of endangered Kirtland's Warblers. (Photo © and courtesy Joseph Youngman)

"This parcel contains an archaeologically significant site, and is located just northwest of the Eagle Mine site," said Alexandra Maxwell, SWUP executive director.** (See below.)

The DNR's recommended lease classification is Leasable Development with Restrictions.

The restrictions, as noted in an August 2015 DNR Direct Lease Review Summary, are stated by the Wildlife Division and the lead reviewer as follows: "To protect nesting neo-tropical migrant birds and any potential Kirtland warblers during the nesting and fledging period work should be restricted from 6/1 – 7/15."

In addition, the Wildlife Division, in a July 27, 2015, review, stated, "This parcel is also a known archaeological site; any mining exploration should be done in conjunction input with Michigan History, Arts and Libraries (HAL)."

On Aug. 14, 2015, the Forest Management Division confirmed archaeological findings, stating, "Archeological hit in this parcel. Office of the State Archaeologist must be consulted for direction."

Written comments from interested parties, relative to the request to lease the specified mineral rights, may be submitted by October 12, 2015, to Karen Maidlow, Property Specialist, Office of Minerals Management, DNR, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing MI 48909-7952, or*

Save the Wild U.P. to host walking tour of site

Save the Wild U.P. will be leading a special historical walking tour of this potentially threatened site on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. The tour will feature stories by C. Fred Rydholm; the Andersen homestead ruins (from 115 years ago) and Anderson Lake; and a discussion of Yellow Dog Plains logging, Bentley Trail, pre-European indigenous presence, treaty-protected tribal resources and the current threats from mineral exploration.

Meet at Big Bay Outfitters at 12 noon. Tickets are just $10 per person. To reserve a place on the tour email with the subject line Hike to the Andersen Homestead.

* Click here for more information on State of Michigan metallic mineral leasing.

** UPDATE: Editor's Note: Originally Save the Wild U.P. stated there were two archaeological sites. Alexandra Maxwell notified us today, Oct. 8, that there is one, so we have corrected this statement.

From the Editor: Are you viewing our blog with a smart phone?

Dear Readers,
It has been called to our attention that our right-hand column -- which now has News Briefs with important announcements at the top, links to slide shows, archives and more -- is not always visible on a smart phone screen. If you are seeing only this main news column, scroll down to the end of it and look for a link saying "View Web version." Click on it to see our full 2-column page. You can then move your screen to the right and adjust the text size to read our right-hand column. If this doesn't work, please let us know by posting a comment here or emailing us at Thanks!

Monday, October 05, 2015

Treaty Awareness Walk to D.C. to reach Lansing Oct. 6 for march near Michigan Capitol

Poster for Treaty Awareness Walk courtesy Joseph Hock.

LANSING -- Michigan Idle No More members and friends have been walking from Rexton, Mich., to Lansing since Sept. 19 and expect to arrive in Lansing tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 6, for a march near the Capitol to mark the first leg of their Treaty Awareness Walk to Washington, D.C.

Walkers from Idle No More Michigan are on their way from Rexton to Lansing and Washington, D.C. to call attention to Treaty Rights issues. Pictured here during their walk in late September are, from left, Steven Perry, LTBB (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians); Evelyn Rose, GTB (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians); Angeline OzhaashkweBiik Antoine, GTB; Terry Antoine, GTB. (Photo © and courtesy Angeline OzhaashkweBiik Antoine)

The walkers hope to raise awareness of the 1836 Treaty of Washington between the United States and representatives of the Ottawa and Chippewa nations of Michigan -- which was done to avoid forced removal of the indigenous people living in Michigan and which guaranteed rights of hunting, fishing and gathering in the ceded territories. These rights are threatened by the State of Michigan's projected land sale/exchange of about 10,000 acres to Graymont, a Canadian mining company, for limestone mining in the eastern Upper Peninsula.*

They are also marching to show their concerns about Enbridge's Line 5, a 62-year-old oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac which many have asked to be shut down because of the threat of a potential oil spill.**

Supporters of the walk are invited to join it for varied periods of time. Pictured here in northern Michigan are Angeline OzhaashkweBiik Antoine, GTB; Evelyn Rose, GTB; Lucius Antoine, GTB; and Elijah Boomer. (Photo © and courtesy Angeline OzhaashkweBiik Antoine)

Anyone who wishes to join the walkers in Lansing should meet them in front of the Lansing Center, 333 E Michigan Ave., at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 6 (see star on map below).

This map shows the route for the Treaty Awareness Walk near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. Click on map for larger version. (Map courtesy Angeline OzhaashkweBiik Antoine of Idle No More Michigan).

Supporters of the Walk can make donations on line to help the walkers with their 900-mile journey. Visit to learn more. Follow the Walk on Facebook here.

Editor's Notes:

* To learn more about the Graymont issue, see our Feb. 22, 2015, article, "DNR Chief approves mineral rights exchange with Graymont but delays decision on 10,000-acre land transaction; residents, groups express opposition to Graymont project."

** See also our most recent article on the Graymont and Line 5 protests: "Two protests near Mackinac Bridge defend Native treaty rights, oppose UP mining projects and Enbridge Line 5: Videos, photos."

Friday, October 02, 2015

First Friday in Calumet offers art, music, poetry TONIGHT, Oct. 2

Art by Patty Ouellette Watson is on exhibit through October at the Paige Wiard Gallery in Calumet. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard Gallery)

CALUMET -- Art, music and poetry are on the agenda for tonight's First Friday Art Walk in Calumet. Enjoy this weather while it lasts and take a tour of the galleries and cafés.

Calumet Art Center: Mixed media artist Jane VanEvera

Sculpture by Jane VanEvera. (Photo courtesy Calumet Art Center)

To many, corroded metals may symbolize neglect, decay, and a sense of a glory faded.  To mixed media artist Jane VanEvera rusted materials and weathered wood are the vital substances from which she assembles her artistic pieces. The members of the Calumet Art Center are delighted to have on display this month a collection of local artist Jane VanEvera's sculptures. Stop by the Center, 57055 Fifth St., between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2.

Master potter Ed Gray and intern Jacob Thill continue to create new pieces of their extraordinary pottery -- available for sale in the gallery. Tour the Art Center studio, galleries and gardens, visit with Art Center members, sign up for upcoming art classes this fall. You can also buy a ticket for the 50/50 Raffle. $1 each or 6 for $5. Drawing at 8 p.m.

Paige Wiard Gallery: New Works by Patty Ouellette Watson

Art by Patty Ouellette Watson. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard Gallery)

The Paige Wiard Gallery, 109 Fifth St., is welcoming Patty Ouellette Watson as  featured artist for the month of October. As a native of the Keweenaw Peninsula Patty has been inspired by the beauty of this area to create her mix of representational, impressionistic and semi- abstract paintings. An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct.2. For more information email or call 906-337-5970.

Café Rosetta: Poetry Open Mic

Café Rosetta, 104 Fifth St., will host a Poetry Open Mic starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. Share your latest poem or a poem from your favorite poet. Remember, songs can be poems too! Don’t have a poem? Share a tiny story. Don’t want to share? Grab a hot beverage and listen.

Hahn Hammered Copper: "October Macabre"

Stop by Hahn Hammered Copper, 203 Fifth St., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. this First Friday, Oct. 2, for a glimpse of "October Macabre." The Hahns will have their own hand-hammered copper items as well as their new "Salvagion" pieces -- unique bits of salvaged metal and wood saved from the scrap heap and turned into art. This First Friday you'll note a hint of Victorian Gothic. Try not to disturb or be disturbed by grim Mrs. Morbid in the window next door.

Vertin Gallery Opening!

Fall in love with the Calumet Art District this First Friday at the Vertin Gallery Opening, 220 6th St. Come ready to play. They'll have authentic and reflective antiques, furniture, art, jewelry, lamps, bar cabinets and bar accessories, plus sophisticated and kitchy decor for your home. Wear your best version of your favorite character or come dressed to the nines -- MadMen style!

Cross Country Sports: Cycling photos, posters by Chris Schmidt

Photography by Chris Schmidt. (Photo © and courtesy Chris Schmidt)

For the month of October, Cross Country Sports, 507 Oak St., will feature Chris Schmidt's cycling photos and posters -- a collection cycling images captured during all four seasons over the past several years.  An open house will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2. Enjoy refreshments and a chance to talk to Chris about his work.

Chris’s obsession with bicycles began at a young age, initially, as a way to get around to see friends and commute to school and part-time jobs, later as a way to push himself, compete and escape. Gradually, his passion for bicycle racing merged with an interest in photography and graphics. As a result, he’s spent less time racing and more time shooting and chasing races over the past several years, always trying to capture the emotions, speed and sheer beauty of bike racing.

In addition to shooting races, Schmidt has been creating race posters, stickers, t-shirts and other various forms of cycling propaganda for almost as long as he’s been riding. He now offers graphic design services as well.

Galerie Bohème: "Inside Out"

Galerie Bohème and Clyde Mikkola will present "Inside Out" with the opening reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. This showing of unique art and works in progress will be exhibited at the gallery through Nov. 5, 2015.

Galerie Bohème is at 423 5th St. Gallery hours are 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information please call or text Tom Rudd at 906 369-4087.

Omphale Gallery and Eagle Café: "A Keweenaw Collective and Recollection"

The Omphale Gallery, 431 Fifth St., presents "A Keweenaw Collective and Recollection" by Stephanie Ryalls and Tom McKeever, proprietors of Artis Books.  This is a display of photography and sculpture. The show will be up through the end of November. Live music and good food are standard Eagle Café fare on First Friday in Calumet.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Two protests near Mackinac Bridge defend Native treaty rights, oppose UP mining projects and Enbridge Line 5: Videos, photos

By Michele Bourdieu
During the Sept. 6, 2015, Pipe Out! Paddle flotilla protest, canoers and kayakers near the south end of the Mackinac Bridge call for shutting down Enbridge's Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

ST. IGNACE, MACKINAW CITY -- Native and non-Native protesters spent the day before Labor Day on both sides of the Mackinac Bridge to call for shutting down Enbridge's Line 5, the 62-year-old oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac, and to call attention to treaty rights violations by state and local land deals that permit mining in the Upper Peninsula.

At the north end of the bridge, protesters gathered at the I-75 rest stop near the bridge and timed their walk to the bridge for 9:06 a.m. on 9/06/2015 in order to counter State Sen. Tom Casperson's naming the day "Michigan Mining Day" (906 is also the area code for the Upper Peninsula).

Native and non-Native participants march toward the north end of the Mackinac Bridge on Sept. 6, 2015, carrying signs calling for protection of the land and water threatened by mining projects in the Upper Peninsula, including the proposed state land deal for Graymont limestone mining. Leading the march and carrying the Tribal Education Staff is organizer Martin Reinhardt. The group chose this day to counter State Sen. Casperson's declaring the day (9/06) "Michigan Mining Day." Many in the group later joined protesters at the south end of the bridge for the Pipe Out! Paddle protest against Enbridge's Line 5.

Martin Reinhardt, Anishinaabe Ojibway citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and assistant professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University, who organized the gathering at the north end of the Mackinac Bridge, said he considered the event a "protect" rather than a "protest" -- to protect the Great Lakes and treaty-ceded territory:

Martin Reinhardt, Anishinaabe Ojibway citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and assistant professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University, addresses participants in a protest/protect event on Sept. 6, 2015, at the north end of the Mackinac Bridge. He enumerates several land and water issues of concern. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Antoinette (Toni) Biron of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., who happens to be Reinhardt's mother, attended the event and participated in the walk to the bridge.

"I'm glad this is happening," Biron said. "I lack understanding (about the issues) and I'm sure other people do too. I don't see it as a fight. I see it as a re-education."

Reinhardt's brother Scott was also on hand to lead the singing and drumming that preceded the walk:

Following the Native drum and song, the walk to the north end of the Mackinac Bridge begins.

Hundreds of cyclists happened to be crossing the Mackinac Bridge at the same time as the "9/06" event. Some joined the march when they learned the reason for it.

Joining the walk to the north end of the bridge was Zoe Jackson of Lansing, a member of MICATS (Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands), who said she originally came up to support the flotilla protest at the south end of the bridge.

"I heard about the flotilla and I also heard about this event (on the north side) in conjunction with that," Jackson said.

Zoe Jackson of Lansing, a recent Michigan State University graduate, holds a sign showing her solidarity with Upper Peninsula residents opposed to the Graymont and other U.P. mining issues. Jackson, a member of MICATS, originally traveled to the bridge to protest the Enbridge Line 5 and ended up participating in both events.

Sault Ste. Marie (Mich.) residents Nancy and Ryan Nichols and Jennifer Payment also attended both events.

"I'm speaking for the environment that doesn't have a voice," said Payment. "These waters don't have a voice without us."

Payment also commented on Graymont's proposed limestone mine in the U.P.

"The chemicals that they use get into our surface water, our ground water," she said. "They also leave limestone deposits in the ground water. Leave that where it belongs. Leave Nature as Nature."

Displaying signs at the north end of the Mackinac Bridge are, from left, Nancy Nichols, Jennifer Payment and Ryan Nichols -- all of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Later they joined the Pipe Out! Paddle event at the south end (Mackinaw City).

Displaying a "Shut Down Line 5 Pipeline" sign, Nancy Nichols said, "They definitely should fix the aging pipeline before an extreme disaster happens."

Ryan Nichols held a sign saying "Stop Ecocide!"

"That's pretty much what we're doing to planet Earth," Ryan said. "We could reach a tipping point with climate change. We've overshot the earth's carrying capacity."

Nancy and Jim Haun of Skanee said, "We came from Skanee because we feel it's important to show our support for Mother Earth and the other people who are here."

Nancy and Jim Haun, center, of Skanee are pictured here with Phil Bellfy of Idle No More, left, and Horst Schmidt of Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) during the event at the north end of the bridge. They also attended the flotilla protest at the south end.

Phil Bellfy of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., a citizen of the White Earth Nation (of Minnesota), who is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against DNR Director Keith Creagh over the Graymont issue, also participated in the walk to the north end of the bridge. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are asking for an injunction against Graymont, based on treaty rights guaranteed by the 1836 Treaty of Washington.

"Keith Creagh has no right to negotiate with Graymont over the exercise of our treaty rights," Bellfy said.

In the most recent ruling, the judge dismissed the case for lack of standing. Bellfy said one problem is they are trying to do the lawsuit without the aid of attorneys because of prohibitive costs, but they would welcome help from an attorney willing to work pro bono.

"We haven't given up," he added.*

Kathy English and her husband, Al English, of Trout Lake, Mich., have been fighting the Graymont limestone mining proposal and state land deal (sale and land exchange of more than 10,000 acres) also participated in the two protests.

"The protests seemed to be well attended, however, we encountered much complacency when trying to talk to people about what the legislators and politicians are trying to take from the people!" Kathy commented in an email to Keweenaw Now. "It is very disconcerting to see how they are trampling on Treaty Rights and Consent Decrees agreed to in good faith hundreds of years ago! Does anybody's word and signature mean nothing anymore?"

Kathy and Al English of Trout Lake walk toward the north end of the Mackinac Bridge with an inspiring message from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"It is time for the People to look around and see actually see what is happening!" Kathy added. "They need to become involved in any way they can! They need to look at their 'representatives' who really are not 'representing' the People, and work for wide sweeping change!"

Margaret Comfort of Michigamme made this sign expressing her own love of the U.P.

Miguel and Anita Levy of Chassell show support for both land and water issues with signs they carried in the walk to the bridge. They also participated in the Pipe Out! Paddle event in Mackinaw City.

More drumming and song follow the walk to the north end of the bridge.

Pipe Out! Paddle Protest's message: "Shut Down Line 5!"

Shortly after 10 a.m. many of the participants drove across the Mackinac Bridge to join the Pipe Out! Paddle protest against Enbridge's Line 5, which took place in Colonial Michilimackinac Park, Mackinaw City. The paddlers were calling on Gov. Snyder and Attorney General Schuette to shut down Line 5 in order to prevent a catastrophic Great Lakes oil spill.

Protesters against Enbridge's Line 5 under the Mackinac Bridge, canoe and kayak in a flotilla near the bridge during the Sept. 6, 2015, Pipe Out! Paddle event as supporters on the beach shout cheers of protest against Enbridge. (Videos and photos by Keweenaw Now)

Participants in the Sunday morning flotilla return to shore. Another group went out in the afternoon.

Danny Fox and Scott Kelley of the Little Traverse Bay tribal group helped bring to shore the large Jiiman (tribal canoe, pictured above right and below), which holds about a dozen people. The Jiiman is used on inland lakes in the summer to give tribal youth experience with water activities, they said.

Helping to bring in one of the largest tribal canoes, called a Jiiman, are Little Traverse Bay members Danny Fox, left, of Alanson, Mich., and Scott Kelley, right, of Petoskey. Joining them (in hat) is Ellis Boal, active Green Party member, of Charlevoix County, who holds an anti-fracking sign.

Ellis Boal, Green Party activist, displayed his anti-fracking sign on the beach and collected petition signatures against fracking in the Lower Peninsula.

"I'm here for the fracking, which is a separate issue, but a related issue," Boal said.

He added he is also concerned about the pipelines under the Straits.

Matt Kern, left, and Sairy Franks of Traverse City display signs expressing their concern for the Great Lakes, treaty rights and land issues such as Graymont.

Matt Kern and Sairy Franks of Traverse City expressed their support for Native groups defending treaty rights.

"I think it's important that the U.S. stick to its agreements that it made with Native nations," Kern said. "I think that if we're going to seriously work toward healing the Great Lakes we need to follow the leadership of Native people."

Sairy noted she sees obvious concern that an oil spill from the pipeline is going to affect everyone, but first and foremost these are Native waters.

"We want it gone," she said of Enbridge's Line 5.

Native people are guaranteed fishing rights in the Great Lakes through treaties, Kern added.

"There should be no threat to Native fishing," Kern said, "and the pipeline could wipe out those fisheries."

Daabii Reinhardt, Martin Reinhardt's daughter, right, of Marquette, joined kayaker friend Wayland Willis-Carroll of Elk Rapids after the morning flotilla.

Kayaker Wayland Willis-Carroll of Elk Rapids, representing the Little Traverse Bay Band and the Grand Traverse Bay Band, said he participated in the flotilla especially because of the pipeline.

"It could burst and our whole ecosystem would be destroyed," he said.

Joining him on the beach was his friend Daabii Reinhardt, Martin Reinhardt's daughter and a student in physics at Northern Michigan University. Daabii said she believes all the issues of concern at the protest are equally important.

"I think it's important to shut the pipeline down and end the Graymont sale," Daabii said. "There are other ways we can get energy without destroying our environment."

Martin Reinhardt (standing) joins protesters on the beach during the Pipe Out! Paddle flotilla at the south end of the Mackinac Bridge (which can be seen at left).

Following the first flotilla, several tribal and environmental leaders spoke at a press conference in Colonial Michilimackinac Park.

Here are some video clips of their presentations:

At the press conference during the Sept. 6, 2015, Pipe Out! Paddle Protest against Enbridge's Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac, Jim Lively of the Oil and Water Don't Mix campaign and Jannan Cornstalk, Kayak Flotilla organizer and citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, speak about reasons for the protest.

Aaron Payment, Tribal chairperson for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (representing himself as an Anishinaabe individual) comments on the need for tribal representation on Michigan Governor Snyder's Task Force and Committee dealing with pipeline issues in the Great Lakes.**

Marci Reyes, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, reads a tribal resolution (excerpted here) calling for decommissioning Enbridge's Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac. She is followed by Maria Urueta of Food and Water Watch, who helped organize this event along with tribal groups and Oil and Water Don't Mix.**

Since the protest, some progress has been made on the pipeline issue, though not to the point of shutting down Line 5. On Sept. 23, 2015, US Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow (MI) introduced the Pipeline Improvement and Preventing Spills Act to ban shipping of crude oil by vessel on the Great Lakes and require a comprehensive, top-to-bottom review of hazardous pipelines in the region. This legislation would also assess the current status of oil spill response and cleanup plans, require ice cover be part of worst-case scenarios in response plans, increase public information about pipelines for local communities, and require the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to consider new criteria for identifying areas at high risk for a pipeline spill.***


* See Phil Bellfy's Idle No More Web site for details and updates on this lawsuit. See also our March 18, 2015, article, "Native American groups seek injunction against MDNR on Graymont land transfer proposal."

** While Enbridge conducted an emergency response drill in the Straits of Mackinac on Sept. 24, 2015, Aaron Payment and other tribal and environmental representatives spoke at a protest in Bridge View Park (on the north side of the Mackinac Bridge) again calling for Line 5 to be shut down. The protest was organized by Food and Water Watch. See the  Sault Ste Marie Evening News Sept. 25, 2015 article, "What if there was an oil spill?"
See also the Oil and Water Don't Mix Facebook page

*** Click here to read more about this proposed legislation on Sen. Gary Peters' Web site. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Celebrate French-Canadian Heritage Week with dance, song, stories Sept. 30-Oct.3

Maple Sugar Folk will perform French Canadian folk and response songs on Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Chassell Heritage Center as part of this week's French-Canadian Heritage Week. Here, led by musician/ vocalist Dave Bezotte, left, the group is pictured during a concert at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton last May. Singers include, from left, Barbara Lide, Nanno Rose (back row), Karin Schlenker, Marcia Goodrich (standing for a solo), Amanda Binoniemi, Barry Pegg, Elizabeth Murrell, Bill Francis and Janet Wieber. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HANCOCK, CHASSELL, HOUGHTON -- French-Canadian Heritage will be celebrated this week with dance, music and stories. Here is the schedule:

DANCE: From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, dance to French-Canadian fiddle tunes and songs by the Thimbleberry Band (Oren Tikkanen, Libby Meyer, Matthew Durocher, and David Bezotte) with caller Jill VanderMeer at the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy, Hancock. $6 admission.

CONCERT: From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, enjoy lively fiddle tunes and step dancing by Emma and Susan Dlutkowski and French-Canadian folk and response songs lead by Maple Sugar Folk at the Chassell Heritage Center, 42373 Hancock Ave, Chassell. MI. Doors open at 6 p.m., so come early to view the exhibits. Free admission -- donations appreciated.

CHILDREN’S STORYTIME: at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, and Thursday, Oct. 1, and at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, Storytime will feature French-Canadian stories and crafts at the Portage Lake District Library, 58 Huron St., Houghton. Kids will take an imaginary journey from France to Canada, clap their hands to the rhythm of a recorded song sung in French, listen to stories about the north, learn how to count in French, make a voyageur canoe, and take home some maple sugar treats.

CANCELLATION of Oct. 3 event:  Since the Lake Linden Farmers Market ended on Sept. 26, the previously scheduled Oct. 3 musical performance for the market has been cancelled.

For more information, contact Dave Bezotte at or 906-482-4956.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Guest Letter: Groups, concerned citizens, landowners, tribal leaders request DNR deny Eagle Mine mineral lease request, protect wetlands

This photo is a northwest view from wetlands in the southwest corner of the 40-acre parcel requested for a metallic mineral lease by Eagle Mine LLC. (Photo © and courtesy Jeremiah Eagle Eye. Reprinted with permission.)

[Editor's Note: This group letter was sent by Save the Wild U.P. (and signed by many individuals and groups) to Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agency officials on Sept. 22, 2015, as a comment on the Eagle Mine's request for a metallic mineral lease for 40 acres of State-owned land (NE 1/4 of the NE1/4 of Section 8, T50N, R29W, Michigamme Township, Marquette County). It is reprinted here with permission from Save the Wild U.P. The deadline for comments is Sept. 25, 2015.]

Dr. Susan Hedman, Regional Administrator
US EPA Region 5
77 West Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604-3590

Benita Best-Wong, Director
Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Waters
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460

Keith Creagh, DNR Director
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 30028
Lansing, MI 48909

Karen Maidlow, Property Analyst, Minerals Management
Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 30452
Lansing, MI 48909

Dear Ms. Maidlow,

On behalf of our collective members and supporters, including property owners, environmentalists and concerned citizens, tribal organizations, and on behalf of the watersheds we seek to protect, we strongly urge you to deny the proposed mineral lease sought by Eagle Mine LLC for 40 acres of State-owned land (NE 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of Section 8, T50N, R29W, Michigamme Township, Marquette County).

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) is entrusted with managing and conserving lands under the public interest doctrine. This lease proposes to sacrifice the use and integrity of public lands for the benefit of a foreign mining company.

The parcel in question is located in an intact watershed and contains an undisturbed headwater wetland ecosystem of over 1,000 acres (in a state that has lost 50 percent of its wetlands).* Wetland functions include benefits to fisheries and recreation; with tourism playing a major role in Michigan, it is unwise to despoil areas valued by our visitors.

Critically, these 40 acres contain headwaters of the Yellow Dog River, a federally-designated Wild and Scenic River. Mining is incompatible with the values espoused by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which specifies additional "regulations for minimizing surface disturbance, water sedimentation, pollution and visual impairment." Headwaters and wetlands, once polluted, would negatively affect downstream users and ultimately damage the Lake Superior watershed. The State of Michigan should not allow mineral exploration on headwater wetlands. Andersen Creek flows through this land, identified as headwaters of the Yellow Dog River.

● The Superior Watershed Partnership published the Salmon Trout River WatershedManagement Plan (2006), which included a recommendation to "prohibit sulfide-based mining" (p.41). Since the Salmon Trout River and the Yellow Dog River share common watershed boundaries at this critical headwaters site, the sulfide mining recommended prohibition applies to both watersheds.

● The State's mineral rights on this parcel are currently unsevered.

● The MDNR departmental lease review acknowledges the headwaters of the Yellow Dog (Andersen Creek) and noted the possible presence of endangered species and a Special Conservation Area, protecting the "wet willow marsh and its unique lowland wildlife habitat." MDNR Fisheries staff recommended that a "Stipulation 15" be included, minimizing surface disruption, but the lead agency reviewer removed Stipulation 15, which would have required proper drilling and exploration protocol. Multiple MDNR reviewers identified this land as headwaters, but (ultimately) recommended a "development with restrictions" classification.

● After reviewing comments from MDNR staff, we request that further review of the site be done in a timely manner by third party consultants.

● Additionally, we request a Public Hearing, in order to discuss concerns about the site of the proposed mineral lease, and review hydrologic data.

In announcing the Clean Water Rule, the Environmental Protection Agency has recently clarified the scope of protections intended by the Clean Water Act; in their analysis of peer-reviewed studies of watersheds, there was overwhelming consensus: "All ephemeral and intermittent streams, and the wetlands that are connected or next to them, will be subject to federal oversight under the proposed rule."**

The State of Michigan has delegated authority from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for protecting wetlands, especially headwater wetlands and other waters of the United States, from degradation, pollution and destruction. The state-administered 404 program must be consistent with all requirements of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and associated regulations set forth in the Section 404 guidelines, including the Clean Water Rule (effective August 28, 2015).***

In order to meet its responsibility to protect "waters of the United States," the State of Michigan needs to recognize that sulfide mining and associated mineral exploration is wholly incompatible with the protection of valuable headwaters. In accordance with new federal guidance, the State of Michigan must now act to provide enhanced protections for rivers, wetlands, headwaters and their aquatic resources -- or risk revocation of delegated authority.

Clearly, the decision to proceed with a mineral lease to Eagle Mine LLC, a company with active mineral exploration and mining in the immediate vicinity, may cause irreparable harms to headwaters of the Yellow Dog River and Salmon Trout River. While mineral leases in themselves do not guarantee successful exploration, it is widely understood that if a viable mineral product is discovered, political and financial collaboratives will join until extraction becomes possible.

We collectively voice our unified opposition to this proposed mineral lease and urge the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to take this opportunity to immediately reclassify the 40 acre parcel as non-leasable, in light of significant headwater protection concerns.

Mineral exploration on this fragile property will threaten unspoiled wetlands and the headwaters of two watersheds. The State of Michigan cannot afford to be reckless in regulating the vital water systems that feed our Great Lakes.


Alexandra Maxwell, Executive Director, Save the WIld U.P.; Save the Wild U.P. Board of Directors; Save the Wild U.P. Advisory Board; Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve Board of Directors; Carl Lindquist, Executive Director, Superior Watersheds Partnership; The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition Board of Directors; Friends of the Land of Keweenaw Board of Directors; Central Upper Peninsula Group of the Sierra Club for the Michigan Sierra Club, Chair John Rebers; Social Action Committee, Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Megan Foulks; Rev. Jon Magnuson, Concerned Clergy of Marquette; Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, Concerned Clergy of Marquette; Charles West, Concerned Clergy of Marquette; Gene Champagne, Spokesperson for Concerned Citizens of Big Bay; Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, Jane A. TenEyck, Executive Director; Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, KBIC Tribal Council, Warren C. Swartz, President; Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Charlotte Jameson, Policy Manager; Amy Conover, President of Superior Sustainability; Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, Al Gedicks, Executive Secretary; Front 40, Ron and Carol Henriksen; June Rydholm, adjacent landowner; Daniel C. Rydholm, adjacent landowner; Catherine Parker; Edie Farwell; William F. Ogden Jr.; Kippy Isham Phelps; Laura Farwell; Maddie Dugan; Marianne Pyott; Mary H. Campbell; Jeffery Loman; Kathleen Scutchfield; M. Comfort, Physician Assistant; Dave and Beverly Stromquist, Laurie Serchak, Allan Stromquist, adjacent landowners; Kurt Stromquist, adjacent landowner; Andy Cocallas, President of Chicago Whitewater Association; Tom Hafner, kayaker with Chicago Whitewater Association; Steve LaPorte, member of Illinois Paddling Council, Prairie State Canoeists; Mari Denby; Pamela McClelland; J. Kevin Hunter; Steve Washburne; Tom Mountz; Judith Bosma; Dick Huey; Tracy Heenan Walklet; Justine Yglesias; Erin Bozek-Jarvis; David Kallio; Nancy Olsen; Jennifer Brown; Marian Gram Laughlin; Louis V. Galdieri; Luke Mountz; Allyson Dale; Martin J. Reinhardt; Gerry Stromquist.


* "According to a 1991 United States Fish and Wildlife Service Wetland Status and Trends report, over 50 percent of Michigan's original wetlands have been drained or filled, thereby making the protection of remaining wetlands that much more important." SOURCE:,4561,71353313_3687141296,00.html



Guest article: Letter to DNR on Eagle Mine's proposed mineral lease near headwaters of Yellow Dog River

By Gene Champagne*

[Editor's Note: This letter was sent to the Dept. of Natural Resources as a comment on Eagle Mine's request for a metallic mineral lease from the State of Michigan for 40 acres of public land (NE 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of Section 8, T50N, R29W, Michigamme Township, Marquette County) in the Escanaba River State Forest. The deadline for public comments is Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.** The letter is reprinted here with the author's permission.]

Karen Maidlow
Property Analyst, Minerals Management
Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 30452
Lansing, MI 48909

September 23, 2015

Dear Ms. Maidlow:
I strongly urge you to deny the proposed mineral lease sought by Eagle Mine LLC for 40 acres of State-owned land (NE 1/4 of the NE1/4 of Section 8, T50N, R29W, Michigamme Township, Marquette County). Short of outright rejection of this mineral lease, I request a Public Hearing in this matter. I understand from the form letters you send out in such matters that Public Hearings are not routinely called for or done.

The DNR, as well as the DEQ, need to realize that these issues surrounding mineral leases and mining permits, in this part of the UP with this type of mineral exploration, cannot be conducted as business as usual. The issues at hand will impact an area that has historically, socially, and culturally been one of sustainability containing a wide range of public uses that will be negatively impacted far into the future just by the mere presence of exploration and mining. I understand that mineral leases in themselves do not guarantee that a mining operation will follow. I also understand that a mining permit application may not, in theory, automatically be granted. The reality however is that if minerals are economically feasible for extraction, a mining permit no matter how flawed and risky will be granted. Over-weighted and unduly influential political and financial interests will join until extraction becomes a done deal.

The parcel in question is located in an intact watershed and contains an undisturbed headwater wetland ecosystem of over 1,000 acres. Wetlands have been greatly depleted in our state due to fragmentation of land areas with negative consequences for long-term sustainability. Andersen Creek, identified as headwaters of the Yellow Dog River, flows through this land. The Yellow Dog River has been designated as a Scenic and Wild River.

This 40 acre parcel may be the only piece of land that the DNR is required to look at, but the negative impacts of  a mineral lease permit to surrounding  parcels is so overly intrusive as to negate the enjoyment and usefulness of the multi-faceted activities enjoyed by a broader range of the general public.

These lands are used for gathering blueberries (of which there are an abundance on this 40 acres being scrutinized), hiking, biking, camping, mental recreation that comes from solitude, and many other uses that benefit a far larger public. This 40 acre parcel lies west of the current Eagle Mine operation and thus is given relief from the noise, truck traffic, light pollution, and other incursions that have interrupted and interfered with the quality of life enjoyed by area residents, camp owners, and tourists alike. The public should not suffer further erosion of enjoyable activities on state (public) owned land for the benefit of such a few.

I have personally set foot on this 40 acre parcel. It is a place of immense beauty and solitude. I have found moss there so thick that sitting on the ground rivals the comfort experienced from sitting on the deepest most comfortable couch available. As mentioned, blueberries are in abundance. Walking along one feels as if walking on a sponge, as the area is that wet; this despite the area being 4.5 inches below average for precipitation so far this year. The southern half of the 40 acres is wet/swamp land. No drilling can be performed on these 40 acres without negatively impacting and degrading the watershed to some degree. I have witnessed the impact of exploratory drilling in the area and the weak to nonexistent oversights that accompany it.

Holding a Public Hearing on this permit request will allow the DNR to witness firsthand the passion that people of this state, and particularly the people who live closest to the affected land, have for the quality of life activities afforded by our land. Fragmentation of land and land use is what has led to the scourge of urban sprawl and diminishing of wetlands that accompanied it. This situation of allowing such an overbearing effect of other area land and activity use through fragmentation will amount to the same negative future for our children and grandchildren.

Respectfully Submitted,
Gene Champagne
Big Bay, Michigan

Editor's Notes:

* Guest author Gene Champagne is a spokesperson for Concerned Citizens of Big Bay.

** See our Sept. 21, 2015, article, "Environmental, conservation groups question Eagle Mine's request to lease 40 acres of state land near Yellow Dog River headwaters."

Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry Pollack to present "A World Without Ice" lecture, multimedia installation, film at Michigan Tech

Iceberg Drums. Part of the installation "A World Without Ice," opening at Michigan Tech's McArdle Theatre Friday, Sept. 25. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Technological University’s Rozsa Center in collaboration with The Department of Visual and Performing Arts, The Provost’s Office, and The Great Lakes Research Center present Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry Pollack’s lecture and multimedia installation "A World Without Ice." The lecture will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. The lecture is free, but due to limited seating reserved tickets are required.

The multimedia installation will take place in the McArdle Theatre, on the second floor of the Walker Center, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from Friday, Sept. 25, to Tuesday, Sept. 29. The installation is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required. A variety of additional lectures, classes, and campus forums will also take place as a part of this event, including a panel lecture and discussion at the Forestry Friday Forum from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, in the Forestry Building G002.

Emeritus Professor of Geophysics Henry Pollack -- co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) colleagues and Al Gore -- musicians and composers Michael Gould and Steven Rush, and multimedia artist Marion Traenkle, have collaborated to create a multimedia exhibit that captures our planet’s precarious moment in global warming.

Part science, part music, part art, the collaboration is a groundbreaking, multi-sensory experience that is thought provoking and compelling. Using photographs taken at both poles of our planet by Dr. Pollack and his team, an original composition written by Dr. Rush whose patterns and structure are derived from 120 years of climate data, and an ice-melt actuated rhythm created by ten ice domes melting onto drums created by Dr. Gould, the exhibit creates a different space in which visitors can contemplate a warming planet. Using Pollack’s climate data, the music allows the listener to hear the large leaps in temperature, and the melting ice provides an immersive, beautiful, random companion sound. A film by Traenkle used photographs of both poles by Pollack and his team to provide a stunning backdrop for the installation.

Tickets for the lecture are available by phone at (906) 487-2073, online at, or in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex. Click here for a full schedule of related events.

Film: PROJECT: ICE by William Kleinert

Michigan Tech's Rozsa Center in collaboration with The Department of Visual and Performing Arts, The Provost’s Office, and The Great Lakes Research Center will present the film PROJECT: ICE by Director and Executive Producer William Kleinert at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27, at the Rozsa Center. Immediately following the screening, Kleinert will join Emeritus Professor of Geophysics Henry Pollack (co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with IPCC colleagues and Al Gore), and Dr. Guy Meadows, Great Lakes Research Center director and Robbins Professor of Sustainable Marine Engineering, in a panel discussion of the film and the ongoing "World Without Ice" multimedia installation. The movie and panel discussion are free. No tickets will be required.

PROJECT: ICE views North America’s fresh water inland ocean through the prism of ice, from the crossroads of history, science and climate change. North America’s five Great Lakes contain a staggering twenty percent of all the fresh surface water on the planet. Lake Superior by itself holds ten percent of Earth’s fresh water at the surface. The cast and crew of PROJECT: ICE explore this shared Canadian-American resource that holds a timely and telling story of geology, human movement, population growth, industrialization, cultural development, recreation and the profound impact people have had on the very environment they cherish and depend upon. Kleinert is a committed environmentalist, avid student of history and a 40-year veteran of the media business.

The "World Without Ice" presentation is supported by the Van Evera Distinguished Lecture Series.