Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Public invited to May 15 teaching on treaty rights, sacred sites at Eagle Rock

MARQUETTE -- A teaching on treaty rights and sacred sites will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 15, at Eagle Rock (migi zii wa sin), in Michigamme Township. The teaching is open to the public.

Eagle Rock (migi zii wa sin) has been assessed as a sacred place by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s Tribal Historic Preservation Office and is eligible for listing on the National Historic Register as a traditional cultural property.

Tribal members and treaty rights speakers will discuss the importance of preserving Native American sacred places and explain First Amendment rights to religious freedom. An overview of the Treaty of 1842, in which the United States government ceded the area to the Ojibwa, will be also given. The public and mine supporters are encouraged to attend.

One of the speakers will be Jessica Koski, a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) and graduate student at Yale University, who recently went to London, England, to address Rio Tinto at their Annual General Meeting concerning the sacredness of Eagle Rock. Koski calls this event on Saturday a very important educational opportunity.

Jessica Koski speaks at the 2009 Protect the Earth event at Eagle Rock. Koski graduated from Michigan Tech University in 2009 and is now a candidate for a Masters of Environmental Management at Yale University. (File photo by Keweenaw Now)

"Our struggle for the land and Eagle Rock is one of many. Native Americans and indigenous peoples throughout the world face similar struggles to protect their homelands, sacred places and cultures," Koski says.

"The Constitution of the United States of America embraces the concept of liberty, freedom and justice for all; but Native Americans have been repeatedly denied this widespread democratic belief," she adds.

"Our stand at Eagle Rock is an important one," says Koski. "This is a time of global environmental destruction and also a time of cultural revitalization for our people. We need to protect our last remaining sacred places and assert our rights and values for the land, water, plants and wildlife. Our desire and right to continue our cultural traditions depends upon the protection of our land bases and natural resources. Asserting our Treaty Rights will continue to be an extremely important strategy and will challenge the privileges afforded multinational corporations and the state."

Kennecott withdraws Woodland Road plan

According to Stand for the Land, The Marquette County Board, Marquette City Commission and Marquette Township Board all lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve Kennecott’s Woodland Road plan. Oversight from the EPA has caused Kennecott to withdraw its Woodland Road permit application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE).

The Marquette Mining Journal cites wetlands mitigation and route alternatives analysis as EPA concerns that Kennecott plans to address before re-submitting the application.

Click below to read the official withdrawal request.* Keep in mind Woodland Road LLC is really Kennecott/Rio Tinto.

*Kennecott's May 7, 2010, withdrawal request.

See Stand For the Land for updates on the occupation of Eagle Rock and directions for getting there.

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