Madison – In a release today, the blog Cognidissidence posted what it dubbed as a secret email to Gov. Scott Walker from Walker staffer Andrew Davis. The email depicts talking points Walker will use to justify the breaking of treaties with tribes in Northern Wisconsin by opening their lands up to iron ore mining.
To give you a brief history, The Ojibwe of Wisconsin signed three major land cession treaties with the United States in 1837, 1842, and 1854, ceding their entire homeland to the U.S. and establishing reservations for four Ojibwe bands in the state. The 1837 land cession treaty between the United States and the Ojibwe was concluded at a conference held near present-day Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota.
There, the Ojibwe traded the majority of their Wisconsin lands for a twenty-year annuity of $9500 in cash, $19,000 in goods (blankets, rifles, and cooking utensils), $2000 worth of provisions, $3000 to establish and maintain three blacksmiths’ shops, and $500 worth of tobacco. Congress appropriated another $75,000 to pay debts the tribe owed to fur traders. A final treaty provision reserved the Ojibwe’s right to hunt, fish, and gather wild rice on ceded lands.
More, President Obama Promised Tribal Leaders Help with environmental issues in November 2009 when he signed a memorandum directing every Cabinet agency to give him a detailed plan within 90 days of how they will implement an executive order signed by President Bill Clinton nine years ago that established “regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration” between tribal nations and the federal government.
The caveat to these treaties is that the tribes would have a say in happens to the land surrounding the reservations if they affect the reservations hunting or fishing grounds, that was until Scott Walker stepped into office.
Walker appears ready to ignore those who live on and around the proposed mining project as recent hearings have been packed with those opposing the iron ore mines, giving testimonies in regard as to how mining will not only destroy their land but also water quality. ashlandcurrent.com reported:
Bad River Chairman Mike Wiggins commented on the development.
“Our water quality standards are our Nation’s proud proclamation of how we value our waterways and wetlands. From just north of the Penokee Mountain area to Lake Superior, our Tribe is ready to stand up and protect Nibi (water) for all peoples and future generations,” Wiggins said in a news release.
The Bad River Reservation is located on the downstream end of the Bad River watershed.The tribe’s water quality standards contain designated uses, criteria to protect the designated uses, and an anti-degradation water policy.
Waters containing wild rice (Manoomin), such as the Kakagon/Bad River Sloughs, are classified as “Outstanding Tribal Resource Waters” (Chi minosingbii) and require the highest level of protection under the standards.
According to Chippewa beliefs, rice is sacred, partly because it was the rice that brought the tribe to the Great Lakes long ago. The fear with regard to the water quality is it would be contaminated with more sulfate than there already is in the water.
Sulfate is a naturally occurring compound in rock, but when it is freed by mining operations and released into lakes and streams, it is changed by a naturally occurring bacterium in sediment to hydrogen sulfide, a pollutant that can kill plants. Studies have also shown that the sulfide changes mercury into methyl mercury, which can collect in fish tissue and is toxic to those who eat the fish.
Mining critics In Minnesota have blamed huge nearby open-pit iron mines and their stock piles of sulfate-producing wastes for the destruction of the downriver rice beds. The $1.5 billion mine in Wisconsin is being spearheaded by Gogebic Taconite which says that scenario is unlikely. Gogebic says it would store waste from the mine so such sulfate pollution would be kept at a minimum. Although, we have heard the same thing from companies like BP and deep water drilling, let’s not forget what happened in the Gulf of Mexico.
The land has been tested by other mining companies in the past for what sort of quality product could be extracted from the land verses the expense of removing the ore, those tests found it would be a low quality product and would be depleted in a short period of time. In other words, the risk outweighed the reward.
With Gov. Scott Walker handing out interest free loans to corporations like a priest does wafers during communion, one could assume that tax payers of Wisconsin will offset that risk with a huge financial contribution. The Wisconsin government is set to invade sacred land by reneging on established treaties in order for short term economic growth. Scott Walker will be doing irreparable harm to the land and water in Bad River but also the trust between cultures established hundreds of years ago.
War with Wisconsin?
You may laugh at the thought of such a thing happening in this day and age, however, when you understand what the land and water means to the tribes around Wisconsin, then you realize the destruction of either, is an act of genocide. Unlike many people these days, the environment to the tribal population is a part of which they are, it’s how they live, it’s every fiber of their being and to put that in jeopardy would be an act of war.
The first U.S. treaty the Wisconsin Ojibwe signed was in 1825 at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and since then there has been peace and now, Walker wants more. Wisconsin needs to stand behind its’ word and listen to those who would be most affected by the mines. Here’s the secret email we will hear about later today. (The errors are Andrew’s not mine)
From: “Davis, Andrew – GOV”
Date: February 13, 2012 6:09:39 PM CST
To: “Davis, Andrew – GOV”
Subject: Ready, Set, Build!
Tomorrow afternoon the Governor will be publicly announcing his “Ready, Set, Build!” Please contact me directly if there are any questions or concerns. Please embargo any press releases or supportive statements until 2pm tomorrow.
Ready, Set, Build!
Up to 10 different site locations (minimum site size=50 acres) throughout Wisconsin will be identified annually for each of the 3 subsequent years as shovel-ready for economic developmenta) Includes comprehensive information on available sites, buildings, and demographic data
These identified sites will be reviewed and approved for pre-certification by the certifying agency (if site meets criteria)
Once a site is identified and pre-certified, the site location will be certified-ready for job creators looking to build or relocate in Wisconsin
This action is another example of how Governor Walker’s Administration and the WEDC, through its Economic and Community Development Division, is pro-actively providing the economic development tools Wisconsin needs to accelerate business start-ups and growth.
One of the keys in encouraging existing Wisconsin businesses to choose Wisconsin as the site for significant expansion, or in attracting new businesses to locate in Wisconsin, is the ready availability of developable properties that have also been pre-certified by regulators.
The “Ready, Set, Build!” program will make it easier for entrepreneurs to start a business and for existing businesses to expand by allowing job creators in Wisconsin and around the world to find the perfect pre-certified site location for expansion knowing they can begin building immediately.
No time wasted. No money lost. It is a win for our economy, a win for our families and a win for our environment.
Certified site selection, “Ready, Set, Build!”, (to be implemented in spring) will eliminate critical stumbling blocks for industries – particularly manufacturers – that are looking to expand or locate in Wisconsin.
o The site certification program will eliminate many of the delays associated with environmental and other state and local permitting processes.
Andrew Davis | Office of Governor Scott Walker
Director of External Communications
(o) 608-267.3839 | (e) email@example.com