I see a great disconnect between the tribal nations and the Wisconsin in terms of the worldivew of Mother Earth herself. I have participated in the Native American science fair for 8 years through the American Science Indian Science and Engineering Society and University of Wisconsin of Milwaukee. I won 8 gold medals at the state level. I was studying to be an Environmental Engineer. I had an internship at the Center for Great Lakes studies. I went with great interest because I was passionate about the study of water. I remember receiving a tour and an explanation of what they do. They said they study the lake by studying the fish. He then took a very large test tube and loaded it up with fish and then gleefully grinding the fish and while maniacally laughing. Total disregard for life, no sacredness for the spirit of the fish. It’s then I saw the truth that the Western world of science sees Mother Earth as inanimate and dead and that is why there is such total disregard for life. That was the day I stopped pursuing Western science. For I was raised in the native traditions that Mother Earth is alive and can feel. That is why the Wisconsin Legislators won’t understand the Native American point of view because the Wisconsin Legislators come from a world view where they think Mother Earth is dead and they can do whatever they want.
Here’s a scary story…if native people don’t rise up and stop that mining bill if it passes it gives mining companies the right to mine anywhere in Wisconsin including ALL the reservations not just Ojibway reservations. I am enrolled in the Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohicans tribe and I was a witness and I signed up to testify at the state hearing in Madison Capitol Jan. 23, 2013
On Wednesday Jan 23, 2013 I went to testify at the one and only hearing on the mining bill at the capitol in Madison, WI. I was overjoyed to meet a Mohican-8 member for the first time. This was the first time I was ever inside the state capitol as well as part of a state hearing. It was a momentous occasion marked by the fact I learned what my Indian name in Munsee is Wapaan Alaangwee. Anushiik Roxanne and Jeremy Mohawk of the Language and Culture board. I am officially on record that I am against the mine bill. I printed out the Four Crow prophecy of the Pennsylvannia Lenape and I was going to testify the Four Crow prophecy of the Lenape, that we are the rightful caretakers of Mother Earth, and we need the treaties to be honored for the caretakers in Bad River because the treaties are the supreme law of the land. I have never testified in a hearing on this kind of matter before.
I witnessed the testimonies including the testimonies of the Ojibway people. What broke my heart was that delegation of Ojibwe tribal nations showed up and the group was told the group had only 2 minutes to testify for the whole group which I found shocking! Where was the nation to nation partnership laid out in the treaties? This bill violates international law! One legislator stated he sent one tribal nation a single letter. Another legislator stated he paid one visit to one tribe. However, an Ojibwe member testified that the Wisconsin state government treated the Ojibwe as second class citizens. I totally could see that at this hearing. There should have been a formal meeting with the tribal nations in a nation to nation conference or summit to properly discuss this mining bill which the Ojibwe I heard were against it stating tribal sovereignty and protection of the environment. I heard and saw a real disconnect between the tribal nations and Wisconsin government. I strongly believe that a talking circle is needed so that everybody is on equal playing field to promote real cooperation and partnership among the nations. I believe anything involving tribal lands should involve the direct input of the tribal nations every step of the way.
There were over 150 people signed up to speak and I was there for 8 hours since 10 am and most from Waukesha or Milwaukee were not called because they decided to have all those from up north speak first since they traveled for 6 hours to be at this one and only hearing. It was appalling and an oversight that they did not have a hearing for the people in the north and that the hearing they did have in Madison was so last minute many testified they barely had the chance to act because of such little notice. There were repeated testimonies calling for a meeting up north to properly address this issue.
Another thing that was disheartening was where were the rest of the Wisconsin tribal councils? Where was the Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohicans tribal council at this hearing? It was stated at the hearing that this bill will affect the entire state so why didn’t Stockbrige-Munsee band of Mohicans tribal council stand in solidarity with the Ojibwe at the hearing? Where was my people? This isn’t just an Ojibwe problem. This is everybody’s problem. With this bill that they could mine in any part of the state of Wisconsin including our Mohican reservation. However, I clearly see this is only the beginning of the healing journey. When you think of the Idle No More movement I hope you don’t see this is just some problem for the Canadians, but we are going through our own tribal sovereignty issues here such as the mining bill. It hits home here. I hope Mohican-8 can be a part of the discussion on the topic as we help each other to learn and act. Cause as the Four Crow Prophecy says we are the Caretakers and together we can learn what that means.
Wenona Morning Star Gardner
Today I went to a Peace March in Milwaukee, WI for a deeply spiritual and powerful movement for protecting tribal sovereignty and the environment. Here are the pictures of my day.
Chief Robert Red Hawk Ruth of Pennsylvania Lenape Nation carrying the Four Crow Prophecy Drum with Wenona “Buffy” Gardner, Wabun anung (Morning Star) of the Stockbridge Munsee band of Mohicans tribe of Wisconsin. At Grand Ave Mall in Milwaukee Wisconsin for the Idle No More Peace Rally.
The beginning of the Idle No More Peace March starting at Grand Ave Mall in Milwaukee, WI
Wenona “Buffy” Gardner, Wabun anung (Morning Star) of the Stockbridge Munsee band of Mohicans tribe of Wisconsin. with Alfreda Young former WE Indians Counselor of the Potawatomi tribe. At Grand Ave Mall in Milwaukee for the Idle No More Peace Rally
The beginning of the Idle No More Peace March starting at Grand Ave Mall.
The beginning of the Idle No More Peace March starting at Grand Ave Mall in Milwaukee, WI. IdleNoMore Organizer Dona Yahola of the Bad River Ojibwe.
Idle No More Peace March at Veterans Park Milwaukee, Wisconsin