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Mining Issues and the Back Forty Mine
Are Focus of Dec. 29 Forum at CMN


A community forum on mining is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29, in the Cultural Learning Center at the College of Menominee Nation, N172 State Hwy. 47/55 in Keshena. The forum focuses on the proposed Back Forty Mine and other mining activity that threatens the environment in tribes’ historical territory and place of origin lands.


The program is free and open to the public. It is arranged by the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin.


The keynote speaker is Dr. Al Gedicks, Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Gedicks, a longtime environmental and Native-solidarity activist, is Executive Secretary of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council and Director of the Center for Alternative Mining Development Policy. He is the author of “The New Resource Wars: Native and Environmental Struggles Against Multinational Corporations” and “Dirty Gold: Indigenous Alliances to End Global Resource Colonialism”. Gedicks is also editor of “Resource Rebels: Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations”.


The forum will include a panel comprised of tribal leaders and others providing authoritative views from environmental, archaeological and cultural perspectives. Panelists from the Menominee Tribe include Legislature Chairman Gary Besaw; Historic Preservation Director David “Nahwahquaw” Grignon, and Doug Cox of the Tribal Environmental Department. Among other panelists will be Dr. David Overstreet of Milwaukee, a noted archaeology scholar who has done extensive research in the Menominee River area, and Ron Henrickson, a representative of the environmental group Menominee River Front 40.


The Back Forty project seeks to mine gold, zinc, copper and silver on a 580-acre site west of Stephenson in Michigan. The site is 150 feet from the Menominee River, which is culturally important to the Menominee and serves as the largest drainage system in the Upper Peninsula. The mine’s investors report spending $70 million in the past decade on exploration and development in anticipation of massive open pit and underground mining operations which environmental and tribal groups are strongly opposing.