Full interview to be released later this month.
We received a phone call mid afternoon on July 2 that Mr. Wiggins had time for a brief interview the following day. We jumped at the chance, cleared our calendars and planned logistics for the 3 hour drive further north in Wisconsin. Like most people, we were interested in his views on the proposed mine near the reservation. The fast track mining legislation failed in a slim 17-16 margin in March; however there are indications that this battle is far from over. We were also interested in his views about the environment, tribal sovereignty and treaties, and other public policy choices that affect the Bad River people.
Mike Wiggins Jr.,Tribal Chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.
A brief introductory interview before hitting the field.
Wiggins shows us the topographical map outlining the many tributaries that run through the Bad River Reservation on their way to Lake Superior. Of all the wetlands on the Great Lake, 40% of them are on the Bad River Reservation located 6 miles down wind and down stream from the proposed open-pit iron-ore mine in the Penokee Hills.
This photo was taken on the boat in one of the many small canals, which all lead to the big waters of Lake Superior. It was a smoldering hot day, near 100 degrees with humidity, and the mosquitoes seemingly grow an inch for every hour traveled further north in Wisconsin. So needless to say, we didn’t sit still like this for long. The wind on our faces felt wondrous.
“A blue heron!”
“Yeah, that’s a buoy Heidi.”
Thankfully a heron made the scene later on, but I didn’t hear the end of that one.
One of the several deer we saw that day…
The little red bits are the wild rice, not yet ready to be harvested…
Videographer Art Juchno captured this breathtaking photo of Lake Superior that evening. Earlier in the day, I kicked off my sandals onto the light sandy beach. When I waded in up to my knees, I turned on my digital recorder and captured the voice of Lake Superior HERE.
Even though the mining bill was defeated a few months ago, citizens and legislators alike share the concern that this might just be the beginning of a much longer fight. There are indications at the state level that this issue is far from over.
Help fund this story HERE ~ Check back later this month for his full interview.