January 10, 2014 by Maureen Matusewic
The Penokee Hills stand tall above Lake Superior, and cradle the rivers and streams of the Bad River Watershed. These waters, sacred and pure, are rare in our industrialized society. We, the Penokee People, are connected through our common belief that the future for all people is dependent on clean water.
We believe all mothers—be they four-legged, two-legged, or winged—have the right to raise their children in fresh air and clean waters. We honor our grandparents and reject the notion that we need to destroy the Earth to live with more goods than our forefathers.
We are by nature a peaceful people who desire to honor the Earth. We want to continue seeking refuge in the hills and waters of Wisconsin without hearing explosives and earth movers sifting through what billionaires are selling off at our expense.
These billionaires promise that they can destroy the Earth and then recreate it using modern technology. They make promises only a creator can make. They have been shaped by greed and want. They are related to those who proudly wiped out the buffalo, and the ones who are now slaughtering the wolves.
Our politicians have changed many laws to serve those who wish to destroy our homeland. There is no honor in this. They align themselves with mining companies and corporations by crying about their sad state of financial affairs.
The Penokee People raise our voices with leaders who reflect that the most important things in life are found in nature:
Here is your country. Cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
A good deal of our material progress is a progress for which succeeding generations may have to pay dearly. ~ ts eliot
No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself. ~ John Muir
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
All things superceded in our progress of innovations, whatever their value might have been, were discounted as of no value at all. ~ Wendell Berry
In the love and the spirit of the waters that flow from the Penokee streams into the Bad River and onward out to Superior, we ask our fellow citizens to seek beyond their desires for things that rust, and look to the connections with their neighbor that go before and after this generation.
We join with our neighbors across the state who are losing their hills to sand mining and their waters to industrial farms in a cry for justice. We, the Penokee People, call for a repeal of Act 1, Wisconsin’s unjust ferrous mining law, and Act 118, the wetlands destruction law.
Those who changed the laws in Wisconsin can never change the laws of nature. They refuse to protect the Earth for even their own children. This will not stand.