Anti-Mining Activists Gather In Penokee Hills This Weekend


Native and non-native people will join tomorrow at a river downstream from a proposed open-pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Range.

They will have a drum ceremony, prayers, a feast, and talk about fighting the mine.

Red Cliff Tribal Elder Tony DePerry will be playing a special drum he and fellow elder Bing Lemieux made. They will play it at the Potato River Bridge deep in the woods of Ashland County. DePerry’s hoping to make a statement: “I don’t know if society really understands the consequences or the devastation of trying to manipulate nature.”

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The planned four-mile-long iron ore mine would be one of the largest in North America. DePerry says even exploratory drilling proposed for this summer by Gogebic Taconite would violate the land.

Bad River Tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins will also be there. He posted on Facebook about the ceremony that “This is war”. Wiggins says many non-Native people are rallying around the tribes because of the new iron ore mining law passed this year.

“And they’re scared. So the comment ‘This is war’ highlights how important this whole issue is to us. An open pit mine in the Penokee Hills amounts to genocidal activities on our eco-system, our waterways and ultimately the health and welfare of the Bad River tribal people.”

Wiggins says they are preparing for all kinds of resistance, legal and even peaceful civil disobedience: “We love this place. We utilize it. And you’re going to have to essentially come through us.”

In fact, a group called the Central Wisconsin Action Camp will train people in civil disobedience this weekend. A news release says peaceful resistance will be used to stop a mine in the Penokee Hills.