Where: UW-Madison Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., Madison WI
When: Saturday, October 8th, 11 am - 5 pm
Contact: Diane Farsetta, Executive Director, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, 608-250-9240 (office), 608-886-4757 (cell)

On October 8th, activists from across Wisconsin will gather in Madison to hear from prominent Native American activist Winona LaDuke, Bad River Tribal Chair Mike Wiggins and other experts on the threats posed by a proposed open pit iron mine in Ashland and Iron counties.  The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, a statewide coalition of more than 160 organizations, is focusing its annual member assembly and awards reception on the mining issue.  Event details can be found online at wnpj.org.

"The proposed open pit iron mine would devastate the pristine water, wild rice beds, biodiversity and sheer beauty of the Penokee Hills region," said WNPJ executive director Diane Farsetta.  "Given the Native lands that would be impacted, this is not just an environmental issue, but an environmental justice issue."

The mining issue is especially urgent, given the legislature's plans to significantly weaken Wisconsin's environmental protections to benefit Gogebic Taconite, an out-of-state company that wants to mine the Penokee Hills.  Two weeks ago, Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald announced the creation of a new "Senate Select Mining Jobs Committee" after a lobbyist-drafted mining bill introduced earlier this year was scuttled after a firestorm of public criticism.

At 12:30 pm Saturday, there will be a discussion of "Extreme Mining in Wisconsin: From Crandon to Mountaintop Removal of the Penokee Hills."  Panelists include UW-LaCrosse Sociology Professor Al Gedicks, the author of "Resource Rebels: Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations."  Mike Wiggins, the chair of the Bad River Tribal Council, will speak about the Penokee Hills, and Jessica Koski, a Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Member, will speak about mining that threatens the Eagle Rock sacred site in Michigan.

After a 2:30 pm awards reception that will honor Senator Fred Risser with a Lifetime Achievement award, the mining discussion will continue with a keynote speech by environmental activist Winona LaDuke.  Her talk, at 4 pm, is titled, "Militarism, Mining or Living?" to highlight the choices before Wisconsin.  A resident of the White Earth reservation of northern Minnesota, LaDuke is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, a project that received the 2003 International Slow Food Award for Biodiversity in recognition for work to protect wild rice from patenting and genetic engineering.  She is also the author of five books, including Recovering the Sacred, All our Relations and a novel, Last Standing Woman.

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Steve Burns
122 State St. #405
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 250-9240
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