Tribal communities strive to protect water quality

Capital News Service
LANSING — Water warriors from tribes across the Great Lakes region are preserving an important relative. It’s water – a resource so important that tribes refer to it in such personal terms.
“Water is a living resource, and we share an interdependent relationship with it,” said Daugherty Johnson III, environmental services manager at the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, in Harbor Springs. Native Americans in the U.S. and First Nations in Canada believe water plays an important role historically, economically, politically, geographically and culturally. Tribal and non-tribal governments in Canada and the U.S. share responsibility for preserving the Great Lakes through various agreements. A major one, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, is a binational understanding of roles they contribute to Great Lakes protection.

Northern Michigan to offer state's first Native American studies major

Capital News Service
LANSING — Northern Michigan University will provide the state’s first university-level Native American studies major in beginning next fall, an action that may draw attention to a long-overlooked academic area that has been thriving in recent years, according to a professor at Central Michigan University. “The education of Native American studies has been neglected far too long,” said Timothy D. Hall, the associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences at Central. “It is always a good thing when new programs are developed to offer students the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of Native American history and culture.”

Hall said Native American studies is thriving in Michigan. Most colleges and universities in the state offer at least some courses in the field, and the larger research universities all have positions dedicated to Native American history, culture and literature across a variety of departments. Hall said the field is “robust” and generating extensive scholarly research each year.

U.P. mine project faces sacred site claims

Capital News Service
LANSING – The Eagle Project mine is facing opposition from the local Native American community which says the mine is being blasted directly into a sacred site. Local tribes and environmental organizations, including the Keewenaw Bay Indian Community and the National Wildlife Federation, are challenging the project in court. They claim the operation threatens Eagle Rock, a sacred site for Anishinaabe people, according to Jessica Koski, the mining technical assistant for the community. “Sacred sites like Eagle Rock were usually used for fasting and for vision quests. They are isolated, usually higher places and a distinct landscape feature,” Koski said.