Native Woman 'Sounds Off!'
Submitted by Jean Bedell-Mashkikinabinais
Tribes are disappearing with the mixed bloods or rather more chimookman than Indian who I call just members because they do not care about preservation of anything except for government handouts and partying. This worries me and my children who are in graduate school in environmental sciences to help the Native people and give back to our earth mother.
It is sad; I had hoped that the next generations could try to assist in preservation of the lands and water and mostly the culture and language. The great lake tribes are trying their best in the management of resources and to clean up the water, land and animal populations to include Bay Mills, Michigan who are still in a conflict for fishing rights and management over treaty waters.
In an article "the Mazina'igan", they mention attorney Kathryn Tierney, who is preparing for her third major Ojibwe Treaty case. This is to concur that the 1836 inland Treaty rights are scheduled to go on trial in January 2006.
The focus of this case will be: "what did everyone understand in 1836? And based on what they understood, what does it mean today?” Tierney replied, "This is seen as a popular trend in courts today and it is the response on allot of Treaty issues today. They were written in a time where there was little comprehension of the English language so it is hard to decipher why most leaders would sign compacts with the U.S government where people didn't understand the content of those Treaties.”
Another aspect is the “with holding of rations” unless tribes conformed to agreements through state laws. These states mostly did not recognize Treaties even though they were supposed to be recognized through the federal government. Fishing rights may not be an issue for the future generations, if pollution of the great lakes continues and Indians are forced not to consume any fish from the Lakes.
Already we see animals developing illnesses unheard of 100 years ago, and foreign plants destroying natural vegetation in the Great Lakes, in agriculture, and in forest areas.
Already shorelines from Duluth to Bad River are suggesting that there is no swimming allowed or fishing because of harmful pollutants. Near the shoreline in Duluth, there bares a sign that warns people not to even put their hands in the water because this could stir up contaminants to the surface.
It reminds me of a staff of victory or a chilling resemblance of long ago when Native people used lances to signify a status and or in times of war, except now this is someone else’s war no one takes responsibility for.
"The Mazina’igan: A Chronicle of the Lake Superior Ojibwe" (1) has done an excellent job at presenting these issues through their monthly paper. They present environmental issues with supplemental illustration that is colorful and they also integrate the Ojibwe language and cultural perspective throughout. We can see how different species of plants and animals are at risk in the ceded territories and the Great Lakes region of the United States, which are the largest body fresh water lakes in the world.
(1) The Mazina’igan: A chronicle of the Lake Superior Ojibwe. (2004-2005). GLIFWC, P.O. Box 9 Odanah, WI. 54861
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