Sunday, August 30, 2015

Citizen protests to address land, water issues at north, south ends of Mackinac Bridge Sept. 6

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge in March 2015. While the Bridge will be the scene of large crowds of walkers on Sept. 7 for the Labor Day Bridge Walk, two protests will take place -- one at the north and one at the south end of the Bridge -- on Sept. 6. Concerned citizens will address several issues calling for land and water protection. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

MARQUETTE -- In response to the recent proposal for "Michigan Mining Day" on Sept. 6 (906, corresponding to the Upper Peninsula area code), proposed by State Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), and many issues surrounding the State of Michigan’s proposed sale / exchange of over 10,000 acres of ceded treaty territory (aka "public lands") to Graymont, a Canadian mining corporation, Dr. Martin Reinhardt, an Anishinaabe Ojibway citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and associate professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University, has called for a "906" protest, "We Protect Mother Earth" (WPME), on Sept. 6, 2015, at the Mackinac Bridge.

The protesters will meet at the Mackinac Bridge Welcome Center (UP side of the Bridge on the right side heading north) at about 8 a.m. and march to the Bridge before 9:06 a.m.

Reinhardt is also one of six plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the State of Michigan regarding the proposed sale of land to Graymont. Reinhardt led a similar protest at the Bridge in March 2015.*

Carrying the Eagle Staff, at left, Martin Reinhardt leads a protest just north of the Mackinac Bridge on March 28, 2015. Native and non-Native protesters carry signs expressing concerns about Michigan environmental issues -- including the state's approval of a land and mineral rights exchange and sale involving more than 10,000 acres of public land for the Graymont limestone mining project, the proposed CR 595 wilderness road near Marquette, the aging Enbridge pipeline threatening the Straits of Mackinac, and fracking. The three-day protest attracted a total of about 100 participants from both sides of the bridge. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Reinhardt asserts that "if people are concerned about treaty rights violations, selling off public lands, dangerous pipelines, deforestation, fracking, intensive mining, destroying wetlands, and nuclear waste dumps, it is time to take a stand and tell the State of Michigan that we will be IDLE NO MORE!"

He encourages protesters to bring staffs, flags, banners, signs, hand drums, and shakers to the event.

This protest coincides with another protest, which will  take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 6 on the south side of the Bridge -- the "Pipe Out Paddle Protest" (POPP). Jannan Cornstalk is the event organizer for that event. It will include guest speakers representing various organizations and a flotilla of canoes and kayaks. The POPP is focused on the removal of the Enbridge oil pipelines running under the Mackinac Bridge.**

On May 26, 2015, members of the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) of Traverse City and other groups from "Oil and Water Don’t Mix" -- a coalition of businesses, municipalities, Native American tribes and environmental and conservation groups -- gathered at Conkling Park, Mackinaw City, for a Great Lakes Call to Action -- to shut down Enbridge's Line 5 aging pipelines under the Mackinac Straits. Their protest coincided with the Mackinac Policy Conference held on Mackinac Island May 27-29. (File photo by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)**

"These are two great opportunities to show your displeasure with the way the State of Michigan is treating Mother Earth," Reinhardt said. "Let’s join in protest against the State’s mismanagement on both land and water and on both peninsulas of Michigan."

For more information on the "We Protect Mother Earth" event, contact Dr. Martin Reinhardt at or click here to visit the Facebook site.

For more information about the Pipe Out Paddle Protest, contact Jannan Cornstalk at or click here to visit their Facebook site.

* Click here for our April 2015 article on the March protest.

** Click here for our article on the May 2015 protest and press conference on the Enbridge Line 5 issue.

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