Band of Ojibwe begin occupation of Penokee HillsThe Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Band of Ojibwe began an occupation in the Penokee Hills this weekend, at a proposed open pit iron ore mine site.
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Band of Ojibwe began an occupation in the Penokee Hills this weekend, at a proposed open pit iron ore mine site.
The LCO harvest camp is small — five acres as compared to the four and a half miles proposed for the mine here. But LCO tribal elder Melvin Gasper says that this is not just a way to protest the mine plans, but also to get in the way by occupying part of it. Gasper says this is an exercise of their 1842 treaty rights in the Ceded Territory of northern Wisconsin to hunt, fish and gather.
Last week, they gathered wild onions and sage and cataloged wildlife and plants. Several wigwams had been erected in the harvest camp, the first of which could be many more established in the backwoods of Iron and Ashland Counties.
LCO has designated this official harvest camp, but members of several other bands from Minnesota and Wisconsin are helping build it.
The Bad River Band has taken the lead in opposing the mine, thus taking the most heat. This is one way for LCO to deflect some of that heat onto themselves.