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Political Matters
POLITICAL MATTERS: Native Issues In The Halls of Government
Thursday, September 05 2013
 
Written by Mordecai Spektor,
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Gogebic Taconite’s scheme

Over the past three years, I’ve been sounding the alarm about the mining juggernaut rolling through the forests of northeastern Minnesota. A number of multinational corporations  – most notably, Polymet Mining and Duluth Metals – are in the exploratory stage of extracting copper-nickel and precious metals, a new type of mining in Minnesota. These projects have the potential to seriously foul surface water and groundwater with sulfate pollution from the mining process, as has happened across the western United States.

Since some of the tracts being explored fall within the 1854 Treaty Ceded Territory, the Ojibwe bands in northern Minnesota have an interest in how this industrial development proceeds. The Fond du Lac band, for example, has been involved in the environmental review process, and band environmental officials have expressed concern that effluents from sulfide mining could damage wild rice beds. In the context of the 1854 Treaty, the Ojibwe bands ceded their ancestral territory to the U.S. government, but reserved their rights to hunt, fish and gather for subsistence purposes. These reserved rights could be endangered by the detrimental environmental effects of sulfide mining.

Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Wednesday, July 24 2013
 
Written by by Mordecai Specktor,
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Ken Tilsen
I had some specific ideas about the contents for this monthly column; but as I sit down to write, I am mulling over the news that Ken Tilsen, a longtime friend and one of the great champions of American Indians is seriously ill. Ken was a mainstay of the legal defense work after the 1973 U.S. government siege at Wounded Knee. He was a member of the legal team that defended Dennis Banks and Russell Means, over the course of a lengthy federal court trial in St. Paul, which resulted in the criminal charges being thrown out because of pervasive misconduct by federal officials.


Political Matters: Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Tuesday, June 04 2013
 
Written by by Mordecai Specktor,
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Hard rock mining blues
In 1980, I attended the International Indian Treaty Conference on the Ft. Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana. I took Amtrak from St. Paul to Malta, Montana. After the scenic train trip, someone picked me up at the station and we drove about 40 miles to the AIM-sponsored conference site, which was hosted by Jim and Rose Main on their land in the rolling rez hills. It was a kind of paradise, as I recall. In the mornings I would bathe in the thermal pools of Big Warm Creek near the conference site, and then enjoy some of the abundant golden currants.

Political Matters: Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Wednesday, April 24 2013
 
Written by by Mordecai Specktor,
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Meeting the activists
In late March I motored over to the Minneapolis American Indian Center (MAIC), from the far east of the Powderhorn neighborhood, for a reception and press conference with visiting guests at a symposium on environmental issues. I was told to show up around 7 p.m. for the event, which featured some Canadian activists with the Idle No More movement; however, the visitors had left about a half hour earlier. No problem, I can be flexible.

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