by Mary Annette Pember / Indian Country Today
Residents of the LCO Harvest and Education Camp in the Penkoee Hills report that three of the Ojibwe Nation band flags posted at the entrance to the camp were torn down and stolen around 4 a.m. July 5 by unknown people in four-wheel-drive vehicles. The flags represented the Bad River, Red Cliff and LCO bands of Wisconsin Ojibwe, groups that publicly support the Camp’s mission of drawing attention to the negative impact of mining in the area. Camp residents are requesting that all Indian Nations send flags to be posted at the entrance of the camp as gestures of support. (The address is Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp c/o 8558N County Rd. Hayward, Wisconsin 54843.)
Harvest Camp residents are keen to maintain a nonviolent stance in their protest against new mining, especially after media reports of eco-terrorism by protesters allegedly associated with the Camp.
A small group of protesters wearing black head-coverings slashed tires and damaged equipment owned by GTAC at its exploratory drilling site in June. Damage was estimated at about $2,000 by the Iron County Sheriff. GTAC spokesperson Bob Seitz decried the protesters as eco-terrorists and compared them to al-Qaida.
Harvest Camp residents, however, immediately declared that the vandals were not associated with the camp. Camp director Mel Gasper said, “This is a peaceful camp, and we are going to keep it that way.”
No one has claimed responsibility for the vandalism, and no arrests have been made.