Nicole Walton http://michiganradio.org en Tribe from Michigan's Upper Peninsula say mines violate rights http://michiganradio.org/post/tribe-michigans-upper-peninsula-say-mines-violate-rights <p>A Central Upper Peninsula Indian tribe is asking the United Nations to help curb sulfide mining in the Upper Great Lakes.</p><p>The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) recently sent the United Nations a document outlining how governments are locating and planning mines on Indian land without getting input from tribes.</p><p>Tribal officials say that infringes on their treaty rights.&nbsp;</p><p>KBIC member and document co-author Jessica Koski said the tribe needs to have a seat at the table.</p><p>&ldquo;This is our traditional territory.&nbsp; This is where we hunt, we fish, we gather, and those are rights that are maintained in treaties,&rdquo; said Koski.</p><p>Koski said the mines create the equivalent of battery acid, which drains into nearby watersheds.</p><p>&ldquo;That is a huge problem. There is no example in the entire world of a sulfide mine that hasn&rsquo;t polluted water resources. And this is an issue that would last for generations and centuries in the Great Lakes region,&rdquo; said Koski.</p><p>Mining company Kennecott Minerals said its design contains safety components that will keep Lake Superior from being polluted.</p><p>Supporters of the mine say the area badly needs the jobs.</p><p>But Koski said the mine currently being built in Marquette County is slated to last only five years, and the U.P. needs economic opportunities that are long-term.</p><p>&ldquo;And that could be tourism, recreation, agriculture&mdash;local sustainable economies where we can thrive into the future and not have this &lsquo;boom and bust,&rsquo; which is a very well-known phenomenon with the mining industry, which is why the U.P. is so desperate for another gasp of another mining boom,&rdquo; said Koski.</p><p>Koski also said a sacred site near the nickel and copper mine has been fenced off and degraded. Mining company Kennecott Minerals says the tribe still has access to Eagle Rock.</p><p>Koski said their U.N. document aims to educate the public about state and federal governments approving mines on Native land without consulting tribes.</p><p>It comes on the heels of the U.N.&rsquo;s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.</p><p>The U.S. approved the multi-nation &ldquo;Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People&rdquo; two years ago.&nbsp; But a U.N. human rights official who visited the U.S. last week said more needs to be done to heal historic wounds, including a return of Native American lands to tribes. Mon, 07 May 2012 15:55:47 +0000 Nicole Walton 7366 at http://michiganradio.org Tribe from Michigan's Upper Peninsula say mines violate rights