Learn how to protect your interests

By Paul DeMain
News From Indian Country
 
As you read this, the State of Wisconsin has been going through severe contortions in the political world.
                       
Cameras have been banned in the state  Assembly but you can carry a concealed Glock in case you need to shoot someone.
                       
Unions, women’s reproductive rights, students, state assets, minority outreach, contracts all came under attack.
                       
Huge political donations from corporations were made, political commercials with out-right lies, and a corporate mining company’s eyes on an ore deposit only miles upstream from one of the most pristine body of water left in the Great Lakes seem to carry the short term for the day and the home to the world’s largest bed of wild rice for the Ojibwe people of northern Wisconsin. It all came under attack.
                       
The mining company didn’t care. The Governor kept talking jobs, jobs, jobs. Short sighted legislators thought that poor Indians would jump at the chance of digging up the earth not far from their homeland, destroy treaty reserved food sources and comprome their convenents for protection of the earth.
                       
Tribal members, environmentalists, union supporters, pro-mining advocates traveled across the state trying to slow  down a legislative process that ended discussion not on mining, or alternative clean jobs, but the very “process” of legislative checks and balances.
                       
Bad River Ojibwe chair Mike Wiggins went to Madison, Wisconsin so often people who didn’t know who he was started recognizing him. He earned a reputation of being able to squeeze his three minutes of testimony into five by breathing deeply. Most of the politicians and observers from the mining company, including much of the mainstream media didn’t get it, never will.
                       
As of March 16th all efforts to  repeal environmental protections and produce a custom Mining Permit for Gogegic Taconite Mining Company died. It died because one Republican was tired of playing the politics of “My way or no way at all” and then the sudden resignation of another State Senator brought the majority standing of the radical Republican right to an abrubt end.
                       
There will be no mine in the Penokee Mountain Range for now, probably never, but everybody now recognizes why you have to stand up for and protect your rights, and those of our relatives of the earth who can not speak for themselves.
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