Letters to the Editor – Ojibwe retain a right to use the Yellow Dog Plains


Ojibwe retain a right to use the Yellow Dog Plains

First, I want to thank Alex Belz for keeping awareness on the mining issue and raising concerns about the injustice against Native American sacred sites.

I would just like to clarify one point concerning treaty rights. The Ojibwe were not sold or given this land. They were already part of this land, having lived on it for hundreds of years. With the threat of losing it all to Euro-American settlers and mining and logging interests, and being completely removed from their aboriginal homeland, the Ojibwe made a wise decision to protect it (at least in some way) for future generations.

The Ojibwe ceded this land to the federal government, with the agreement that they retain (in most cases, such as in the Treaty of 1842), the right to hunt, fish, and gather in these ceded territories.

A good source of education on treaty rights in this region is the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC). They have excellent materials, including a booklet titled “Treaty Rights.” Their website is www.glifwc.org.

Those of us who were part of the Eagle Rock stand and those of us who have been fighting to protect the U.P.’s land and water from metallic sulfide mining these past seven years (and the ones who have joined us along the way) are deeply saddened by what is happening to our wildest areas.

Going up to the Yellow Dog Plains to pick blueberries (miinan in Ojibwemowin) is not the same experience anymore. The canopy over the Triple A Road is being decimated, and a fortressed industrial site now stands, surrounding Eagle Rock.

Barb Bradley

Skandia, MI