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Bad River Band of Ojibwe announces new camp in protest of proposed mine

The Bad River Band of Ojibwe says it will start a camp of its own also in the Penokee Hills.

The announcement comes as Iron County seeks criminal and civil charges to evict people at the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Harvest Camp at a meeting today.

This camp would be about the same size as the LCO Harvest Camp -- about five acres -- and Bad River Tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins says it would be a spiritual camp run by tribal elders.

"When our elders get into those ceremonies, what comes with that is a humbleness recognizing that we are included and a part of an eco-system that flows through our homeland," says Wiggins.

"It also includes the humbleness that helps us understand that as human beings we need nature," he says. "We need those eco-systems. Nature and eco-systems don't need us."

Wiggins says the spiritual camp is not in reaction to a move by Iron County to evict people from the LCO Harvest Camp, but it is in opposition to the proposed 4.5-mile-long open-pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Range.

"Those elders are doing all of our people a service by helping us all slow down and think about what's really at stake," says Wiggins.

Wiggins hopes to open the spiritual camp later this week. He says they're negotiating with private landowners and the Nature Conservancy for a location near Caroline Lake. That lake is significant because it's at the headwaters of the Bad River, which the band says would be polluted by an open-pit mine.