Menominee tribe voices opposition to mine

GREEN BAY, Wis. -
Hundreds of Menominee Indian Tribal members and supporters of their cause are delivering a message of unity.

"We need to be visible, we need to be heard, we need to have our place at the table," Menominee Tribe community organizer Guy Reiter said.

Members are opposing a proposed gold mine near the Michigan-Wisconsin border and next to the Menominee River.

"We're not just going to roll over and say that it's okay," Reiter said.

So while together, the message is unity, one-by-one opponents of the mine also voiced their own concerns. Speaking to Michigan's environmental agency, some say the Back 40 Mine would hurt the river's environment.

"I don't want to gamble with the earth beneath my feet," one speaker said.

Other's expressed a cultural concern, saying the river is a key part of the tribe's history.

"We always strive to do whatever we can to protect the things that we hold so dear to us," Reiter said.

The Menominee Tribe is not just using this public hearing in their efforts to block the mine, they're also suing the federal government.

The lawsuit alleges that Michigan doesn't have jurisdiction to issue a permit on the mine. The company, Aquila Resources, tells us they're aware of the lawsuit and reviewing the complaint.

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