Eagle Rock (Migisi Wa Sin)

by February 26, 2011

Timeless Media Productions and Michigan State Environmental Journalism Students present “Eagle Rock”, a mini-documentary about a sacred site as old and as valuable as Stonehenge; and the Sulfide Mining controversy that surrounds it.

The London-based company Rio Tinto and its subsidiary Kennecott Minerals, wants to blast through Eagle Rock with dynamite so they can have direct access to vast deposits of nickel, copper and other metals that lie beneath Salmon Trout River within the Yellow Dog Plains in northern Michigan.

In order to extract the metals, Kennecott wants to use the destructive sulfide mining process, which creates large quantities of sulphuric acid (battery acid) as a byproduct. According to the US EPA, sulphuric acid from sulfide mining has already polluted more than 180,000 acres of lakes and over 12,000 miles of rivers and streams throughout the United States.

“There is no example of a successful sulfide mine with similar design and location as Kennecott proposes. The potential for mine collapse and irreversible acid mine drainage makes the proposed Eagle Mine especially controversial due to its location within a delicate watershed and underneath the Salmon Trout River, which flows directly into Lake Superior,” says Jessica Koski, a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC)

In addition to environmental concerns, Eagle Rock itself is located on Treaty territory. The treaties of 1842 and 1856 secured Eagle Rosk and guaranteed that KBIC had priority rights to gather, hunt, and fish within their territory. However, in January 2010, The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) bypassed KBIC’s Treaty Rights in order to give Kennecott final approval for the mine. The MDEQ further dismissed a key 2009 ruling by Administrative Law Judge Richard Patterson, which found that Eagle Rock was a place of spiritual importance to KBIC and should be protected. The MDEQ decided (without any authority to do so) that the ruling was irrelevant because it didn’t consider Eagle Rock to be a place of worship. “They believe that a place of worship must be a building and therefore negates comments that were not in favor of the mining company,” explains the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, who has been working alongside KBIC and others opposed to the mine.

Four months after their January 2010 decision, indigenous and non-indigenous protesters set up a peaceful camp at base of Eagle Rock to raise public awareness about the situation. Just four weeks later, the camp was raided by dozens of heavily armed Police officers and State Troopers. Ultimately, two people were arrested and the camp was destroyed.

If all goes according to plan, the Ojibwa sacred site will suffer the same fate as the camp, sometime this spring.

Watch Eagle Rock on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwKV681Khgo

Sign a petition to Stop the proposed Eagle Rock Sulfide mine! Visit http://www.change.org/petitions/stop_the_proposed_eagle_rock_sulfide_mine

For updates and more information, see Stand for the Land and, Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve

Thanks to Anishinaabekwe for mentioning this doc on her website.