Kennecott’s Eagle Project goes to federal court

The Huron Mountain Club has asked a federal judge to grant a preliminary injunction to halt work at the Eagle Mine project on the Yellow Dog Plains, citing numerous regulatory failures by the Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior.  A hearing will be held in Grand Rapids on June 6.

For more information, please click here:

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Ho-Chunk Petitions EPA for protection of Eagle Rock

On August 31, members of the Ho-Chunk tribal court and other elders sent a letter to EPA’s Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, stating their belief that the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Assessment involving the sacred site known as Eagle Rock, omitted key considerations.

They contend that the consultation process should have involved all Chippewa tribes, not just the Lake Superior group, and that it should have taken into consideration the significance of the site to indigenous peoples who occupied the region before the Chippewa.

A December 2007  Resolution adopted by the National Council of American Indians notes that “Eagle Rock has been linked to ancient ceremonial sites in Wisconsin and Montana by local tribal history and more recently by exhaustive research and on-site surveys…”

The letter also states that the Act was not properly administered by the Michigan DEQ, since the State regulatory agency determined that Eagle Rock was not a place of worship because it did not have a building on it.

Administrative Law Judge Richard Patterson ruled in August of 2009 that both Kennecott and the MDEQ “did not properly address the impact on the sacred rock outcrop known as Eagle Rock,” further stating that “the excavation and drilling in the immediate area of Eagle Rock and fencing it off will materially affect its use as a place of worship.  This should in some manner be accommodated, and would best be done so by relocating the access to the mine to a location that will not interfere with that function.”

Ignoring both federal law and the judge’s recommendations, the DEQ decided that Eagle Rock did not constitute a place of worship and that Kennecott could retain its plan to blast beneath the outcrop.

Members of the Ho-Chunk Nation are requesting that EPA  require full compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act in regard to Eagle Rock.

The situation is urgent, since blasting may begin as soon as September 14, and the portal/tunnel for the proposed Kennecott Eagle Mine will go through the base of the Rock.

To read the letter, please click here:

NCAI Resolution #ABQ-10-078: Eagle Rock Resolution, NCAI

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A Thought for the Water

A Thought for the Water

We need to make every effort to keep the water as pure as possible, for it is the basis for all life on this planet.  People of many traditions will agree that faith must be accompanied by action, but the reverse is true, as well.  For this reason, we’re asking you to join in a daily prayer or meditation for the health and protection of the water.

Perhaps you’d like to envision one of your favorite watery places–a stream or a lake, a pond, a waterfall–or maybe you’ll want to think about the physical properties or the mysteries of water itself, its power.

We should also be mindful of the struggle many people throughout the world endure to obtain water–water that is not always clean.   Perhaps there is something you can do for the water.  Many of us, without thinking, simply take the water for granted.

Reflect on the universal importance of water, and its presence in your life.  Each time you take a drink or turn on a faucet, remember to be grateful and respectful.  Ponder its presence in your body, your food, the air you breathe, the ground you walk on.  Think of it with love.

Please take some time out of your day, every day, to focus your hearts and minds on a positive outcome for the planet, for the water.  Just before sleep might be a good time to do this, or when you awake.

Our thoughts are made manifest in the physical.  Therefore, the spirit that is in each of us literally has the power to change the world.  Its strength is greatest when we are united in our purpose.

If your heart moves you, please forward this message.

Thank you.

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Sunday was a quiet day at the Rock

Sunday was a quiet day at the Rock.  No drilling, no trucks barreling down the Triple A, just a guard vehicle parked behind the fence at the old driveway.  They seem to know when we’re coming now, and send someone to meet us—how polite!  Not so friendly, though, is the new berm pushed up across the drive, and the snow fencing with the large No Trespassing signs.

We took that as a hint that we were no longer welcome to water or otherwise tend our little gardens along the fence, and peering over the berm, we could see our roped-off vegetable patch was no longer there.  The posts were lying on the remnants of the woodpile, with our twine wrapped around them and the tiny scarecrow placed on top.  Obviously, someone had been told to get rid of the garden, and yet we sensed it had been done with some care.

The petunias and coreopsis were missing from the center of the fence, most likely taken out when the berm was pushed up.  Straw was scattered thickly around the perimeter.  We looked for survivors, and we’re happy to report that the potatoes are doing well.  Lee Sprague might still get something in exchange for his $1.00 farm share, and hey, the peas we planted recently are still growing on both sides of the gate.  A fall harvest might yet be necessary.

After a picnic on a small rise, we planted potted perennials on each side of the drive and put in some brightly colored impatiens.  We also tucked wildflower seeds in on the west side, and Cynthia installed two mullein stalks as sentinels.

As always, one of the best things about being out there is the people who stop to visit or to ask questions.  Three friendly ladies got out of their car to see our flowers, and promised to return with water and more plants.  A pick-up truck carrying husband and wife and four dogs, two tiny face-lickers and one blueberry gobbler included, paused on the road to see what we were doing.  Most who come by are sympathetic and respectful.  A few are not, but that’s okay, we wave to them as well.

Eagle Rock is in a cage.  Going there is something like visiting a friend in jail, but we must remain faithful.  Right now, there are blueberries to be picked and celebrated, and the river still runs free and clear.  And our friend, the spirit of this place, is very much alive.

Catherine Parker

Richard Sloat

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