Blog Entry

North American Indigenous Mining Summit held at Mole Lake, Wisconsin, June 12-15

Jamie Kneen

National Program Co-Lead

June 12-15 saw MiningWatch Canada staff participating in the North American Indigenous Mining Summit in Mole Lake, Wisconsin. The Summit brought together indigenous and non-indigenous people from across North America to share information and experience. Some of the most heavily-affected communities could not be represented due to immediate crises, such as the Western Shoshone, whose cattle were being seized by the US Government.

Nevertheless, the Summit succeeded in bringing people together to support the struggles of the Sokaogan Anishnabe (Wisconsin), who had recently won (in the Federal Appeals Court) the right to define their own water standards, and the Hopi and Diné (Arizona), represented by the Black Mesa Trust and the Black Mesa Water Coalition, who are trying to end Peabody's use of vast quantities of scarce water to pipe coal to market as a slurry.

Information and ideas were shared on topics ranging from dealing with contaminated sites and health disasters to education to youth organising to the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development. Strategy sessions using a "Power Map" methodology, facilitated by Albuquerque's SAGE Council, helped participants get a better handle on situations around coal, uranium, and hard-rock (sulphide) metal mining.

The Summit was co-sponsored by the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, the Indigenous Mining Campaign Project (a partnership between the Indigenous Environmental Network and Project Underground), with a Spirit Run sponsored by the Lac Vieux Desert Community.