BARAGA -- New Warriors for the Earth (Oshikinawe-Ogichidaag Akiing) recently launched their new Web site. New Warriors for the Earth, is an Anishinaabe-based non-profit organization dedicated to educating and empowering communities to take positive action to protect Aki, Mother Earth. Co-founders of the group are Jessica Koski and Cory Fountaine. Both are Anishinaabe and members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC).
During the 2010 Protect the Earth Gathering last July, at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College in Baraga, Jessica Koski and Cory Fountaine, co-founders of New Warriors for the Earth, present keynote speaker Winona LaDuke -- Native American activist, environmentalist and writer -- with the gift of a blue shawl. The Women's Movement for the Water is encouraging Native women to make and wear blue shawls to symbolize protecting the world's water for future generations. Fountaine, an art student, also designed the logo for the Protect the Earth banner. (Keweenaw Now 2010 file photo)
Fountaine, an artist and the proud father of two sons, is currently attending Ojibwa Community College in Baraga and Northern Michigan University in Marquette. This month Koski completed a master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She also holds an associate's degree from Ojibwa Community College and a bachelor's degree from Michigan Technological University. Koski recently accepted a full-time position as the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s Mining Technical Assistant.
"We are grounded and guided by our Anishinaabe heritage and culture," Koski says. "Our mission is to raise awareness about mining and environmental injustices facing the Western Great Lakes region and Aki. Our initial purpose is to protect our abundant freshwater resources and traditional homelands located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from intrusive multinational mining corporations and hazardous sulfide and uranium mining."
The new Web site offers a Community Education page that gives facts about sulfide mining and its impacts on the environment. It also offers a list of links to important documents of interest to anyone concerned with Native American treaties and environmental justice. The Culture page includes songs in the Ojibwa language and a video documentary on restoring the language.
In addition to news and events updates, New Warriors for the Earth has an attractive photo page of local interest. The video page offers inspiring video clips -- from Drew Nelson's illustrated song "Eagle Rock" to Winona LaDuke speaking on climate change and food sovereignty.
The About page gives profiles of Fountaine, Koski and other leaders of the group:
- Charlotte Loonsfoot, KBIC member, who started the camp at Eagle Rock in April and May 2010 -- a mother of five children -- is committed to protecting the water for future generations. She has an associate's degree from Ojibwa Community College and plans to attend Michigan Tech for further study.
- Kalvin Hartwig, a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, a Michigan Tech graduate who has been studying at Yale University, was a fire-keeper and camper at Eagle Rock. This summer he will be interning at the United Nations Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
- Casey Snyder, who grew up in rural central Michigan alongside many Anishinaabe people and has Metis ancestry, also participated in the 2010 occupation of Eagle Rock and played an important role in the start-up of New Warriors for the Earth.
Editor's Note: See Jessica Koski's recent letter to the editor, "Gov. Snyder, halt Eagle Mine, consider long-term impacts," published in Keweenaw Now Apr. 14, 2011.