As Oneida county is moving toward state-mandated changes in its metallic mining ordinance, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has made it clear they don't want mining here and want to talk.
Oneida county is scheduling a public hearing early next month on the revisions suggested by consulting attorney William Scott.
During the public comment period of Tuesday's board meeting, Lac du Flambeau tribal council member Brooks Big John read a resolution the tribal council passed. The packet also contained a letter to Chairman David Hintz from tribal President Joseph Wildcat, Sr. requesting a meeting between the tribe and county about the proposed mining revisions. Tribal lands include a portion of Oneida county.
Big John detailed the treaty rights guaranteed to the tribe and the federal status they have to guarantee clean air and water...
"...that the six Chippewa bands that were signatories to the 1836 and '42 treaties to this day have the treaty-protected rights to hunt, fish, trap and gather and other user rights of occupancy ceded by the tribes and the United States...."
Big John says those treaties say the environment has to be good enough to support those activities.
He also says the Lac du Flambeau tribe has historic reasons to keep the land protected in the town of Lynne, where a large sulfide deposit is located...
"...and whereas the tribe can trace a significant historical nexus in the town of Lynne related to grave sites, historic fishing activities, and past residential communities to name a few...."
Big John says they didn't hear back from the county after they sent a letter in April. He says the tribe wants a dialogue with Oneida county on the issue, noting they are already working together on the opioid crisis.