Ojibwe Conference Will Explore Alternatives To Proposed Iron Ore Mine

Forestry, Food Production, Solar Power Will Be Discussed As Possible Job-Creating Industries

Ashland's ore dock on Lake Superior. Photo: Carol Mitchell (CC-BY-NC-ND).

Six Ojibwe tribes in northwestern Wisconsin organized a three-day conference this week that explores alternatives to mining iron in the Penokee Hills.

Red Cliff mining resource specialist Sandra Gokee said speakers at the conference will talk about the potential to create jobs around forestry, food, solar power and recycling.

“We really feel the need to protect not only the rice but all of our trees, our water, our land — everything,” Gokee said. “If this mining is going to put it in jeopardy, we need to find something else for jobs.”

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GTAC spokesman Bob Seitz said mining is necessary to provide the metals that people use in their everyday lives.

“It’s going to happen — whether it happens here, where we have the toughest environmental regulations in the world, or it happens in some country where there aren’t those kind of protections for the environment,” said Seitz.

The conference will feature panel discussions from tribal elders, tribal councils and local government.It will begin at 11 a.m. at Legendary Waters Resort in Red Cliff, and will run through Friday. The event kicks off with an overview on the effects of mining from Esteban Chiriboga and Dawn White of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, as well as a presentation from Al Gedicks, the author of “Resource Rebels: Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations.”

You can view an agenda for the conference here.