Saturday, March 10, 2012

KBIC to host film, potluck, FOLK presentation of new mining education project March 14

BARAGA -- The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) will host two showings of the film Four Corners: A National Sacrifice Area? on Wednesday, March 14, in Baraga in conjunction with a potluck dinner with Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) and an introduction to the launch of FOLK's "Mining Education and Empowerment Project."

The schedule is as follows:

12:30 p.m. -- Film Screening at the Ojibwa Senior Citizens' Center
5 p.m. -- Potluck Dinner and presentation with Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) at Ojibwa Casino Chippewa Room
6 p.m. -- Film Screening at Ojibwa Casino Chippewa Room

Four Corners documents the cultural and ecological impacts of coal strip mining, uranium mining and oil shale development in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona -- homeland of the Hopi and Navajo. It examines Peabody Coal Company’s massive Black Mesa strip mine and the history of uranium mining on the Colorado Plateau, including the 1979 Church Rock tailings spill on the Navajo Reservation, where high levels of lung cancer and birth defects have resulted from decades of radiation exposure. The film challenges the U.S. government policy of locating destructive energy projects in remote "national sacrifice areas" and illustrates serious "environmental justice" issues ten years before that term was coined. Concluding that the extraction of coal and uranium involves huge hidden costs, Four Corners argues for development of alternative energy from solar and wind along with a major conservation initiative.

This film is part of the Mining Impacts on Native Lands Film Series hosted by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department Mining Outreach and Education Initiative. The event is free and open to the public.

FOLK's "Mining Education and Empowerment Project"

According to FOLK President Linda Rulison, FOLK has organized a two-phase campaign to enable citizens to do the following:
  • Assess the risks new mining poses to the western Upper Peninsula ecosystem, economy and society.
  • Make well-informed, effective and ethically grounded responses to proposals to undertake new mines.
  • Participate fully in the process through which new mining proposals are reviewed.
Phase one of this campaign is now underway. FOLK has formed an action research committee that has begun its investigation of the risks and benefits of new mining.

"Soon we will begin an outreach and education program to provide information about mining to our citizens," Rulison writes in FOLK's March 2012 newsletter. "We will conduct house parties, hold workshops, and make public presentations. In addition, we plan to engage our government representatives in a dialogue about the risks of new mines."

In phase two of this campaign, FOLK plans to use knowledge acquired in phase one to evaluate new mining proposals.

FOLK has received a $3,000 grant from the Western Mining Action Network (WMAN) to support this action research program.

Concerned citizens are invited to become involved in the campaign. Contact for more information or attend the potluck and presentation next Wednesday, March 12, in the Ojibwa Casino Chippewa Room.

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