Sunday, December 30, 2012

IDLE NO MORE: Returning To Our Sacred Places - Migizii wa sin

Atop Eagle Rock, December 28, 2012. Photo courtesy Kathleen Heideman.

“Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty and which protects the land and water. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water. We must repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work towards justice in action, and protect Mother Earth." ~Idle No More

In solidarity with indigenous peoples seeking to protect and reclaim their sacred places around the world and the Idle No More movement, we gathered at Migizii wa sin, Eagle Rock, on December 28, 2012. We gathered in support of Chief Theresa Spence and our brothers and sisters in Canada, across Turtle Island, and down to South America. We prepared a fire and shared prayers, blessings, songs, and inspiration for our lands, waters, sacred places, Mother Earth, and the future. 

Idle No More arose from grassroots and First Nations people across Canada in response to Bill C-45 which aims to gain access to natural resources on First Nation lands by removing environmental protections. Over the past two weeks, Flash Mobs and Round Dances have occurred throughout Canada, the U.S. - from the Mall of America to Times Square, and even Europe, New Zealand and the Ukraine. Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence approaches week three of a fast/hunger strike protest. She is courageously willing to die for her people as she waits for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a representative of Queen Elizabeth to accept her request to simply meet with her and other indigenous leaders to address the issues facing their communities.

On December 28, the day of the full moon - Manidoo-Giizisoons (Little Spirit Moon) - indigenous peoples were asked to gather at their sacred places in solidarity. Eagle Rock, also known as the Home of the White Wolf and the High Place, has been a sacred place to the Anishinaabe and other peoples for centuries. It is located on 1842 Treaty territory in the presently occupied territory of the State of Michigan in the Upper Peninsula near the town of Big Bay. In 2010, Keweenaw Bay Anishinaabe Ogichidaag were arrested at our sacred site to make way for a sulfide mine. Known as the "Eagle Mine," one of the world's largest mining company's, Rio Tinto, blasted a mine portal directly into Eagle Rock.

Despite grassroots efforts and legal challenges, the company has constructed a mile long tunnel to a highly reactive sulfide copper/nickel ore body they plan to begin exploiting by 2014 beneath a river of Lake Superior. The effects would ripple to groundwater discharges to freshwater springs, a potential new 21-mile haul road through our pristine wetland and medicinal plant areas, processing and permanent disposal of 2.5 million tons of sulfide-bearing tailings at a lake at Humboldt in the Escanaba River Watershed of Lake Michigan, about 45,000+ acres of mineral rights claimed or leased by Rio Tinto, and a half dozen more sulfide mine target sites.

The Anishinaabe and their supporters who care for this land and do not wish to see the threshold of the world's fresh water poisoned, have continued to gather and pray at and near Eagle Rock - amidst its strength and in the face of greed and destruction. We gathered again at Eagle Rock at this important time of solidarity with our brothers and sisters across Canada. We are inspired by the revitalization and strength of indigenous peoples, and we pray for the healing of our people and the protection of our lands and waters across Turtle Island.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Eagle Rock (Song for the People) by Drew Nelson

Sun breaks over the Yellow Dog, call the thunder down. 
Feel the wind rush against my face. 

Sound of the children, break the stillness of the morning.
Red-tail rises not a mile from this place. 

All through the night, they kept the fire burning. 
All through the night, they sang. 

Call the directions, put tobacco down.
Prayers and smoke, dancing on the wind. 

Here at Eagle Rock, we will take our stand.
Here at Eagle Rock, we will pray.

For the healing of our people.
The redemption of our land.

There's a fire burning in our hearts.
Ishkode, Ishkode.

Four thousand years, this place has been sacred.
It will be for a thousand more.

All those who love her, we cry all our relations.
See the old ones sing, see the young ones grow.

Here at Eagle Rock, we will take our stand.
Here at Eagle Rock, we will pray.

For the healing of our people.
The redemption of our land.

There's a fire burning in our hearts.
Ishkode, Ishkode.

There is a law, that is higher than any government.
Places more important than a mine.

A love that is greater, than any corporation.
Ask the Eagle, ask the Bear, ask the Pines.

Here at Eagle Rock, we will take our stand.
Here at Eagle Rock, we will pray.

For the healing of our people.
The redemption of our land.

There's a fire burning.

Here at Eagle Rock, we will take our stand.
Here at Eagle Rock, we will pray.

For the healing of our people.

The redemption of our land.

There's a fire burning in our hearts.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Miigwech Gitchi Gummi ~ Lake Superior

I am thankful for Gitchi Gummi and the beauty reflected on the waters each day. I am grateful for the privelege to live here and have ancestral roots here. May we restore and protect these life giving waters of the Great Lakes, and always take a long view to prevent irreversible negative impacts to the largest surface freshwater system on Earth.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Poem: A Prayer for Life

With the hearts of our women,
Strength of our community,
Help of the spirit,
Thoughts of our children,
Compassion for those coming,
And courage to accept our responsibility,
May we protect our way of life, and life itself.

Image source: 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Reconsider Columbus Day

Today, across America, people are celebrating Columbus Day. They are remembering a man who supposedly "discovered" America and brought great havoc and disease to America's first peoples. You can reconsider Columbus Day. Let's instead celebrate the survival and resilience of America's first peoples and honor this day as Indigenous Peoples Day.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Reclaiming Our Great Lakes Commons

Artist Ricardo Levins Morales

South Bend, Indiana - On September 30 through October 2, an inspiring gathering of indigenous leaders, environmentalists, social justice organizers, cultural workers and artists, students, youth, policy advocates, public trust lawyers, and academics engaged together to envision and begin advancing a multicultural trans-border movement for the stewardship of our shared bioregion, the Great Lakes.

We talked about the need to realign human laws with the laws of nature. The fundamental basis of the public trust doctrine and how treaty rights weave significantly into this framework. Our common narrative, starting within our stregnthening communities, not the top down. Realizing not only our rights, but responsibilities to care for these waters.


Welcome to my new blog site. I look forward to using this new space for sharing personal experiences, reflections and awareness on indigenous issues and perspectives, environmental justice, mining, and the Great Lakes.