In 2005, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community tried to lease the sacred Eagle Rock site from the State of Michigan for ceremonial use. Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near Marquette, Eagle Rock and the surrounding Yellow Dog Plains are part of lands ceded to the tribe for hunting and fishing by an 1842 government treaty upheld by the courts again in 1983. The DNR declined to lease them the land because of concerns about how ceremonial use might impact this pristine wildlife habitat.
In 2007, the State of Michigan leased the land to Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Mining Company. Today, the lofty trees, endangered animal habitats and celebrated blueberry bushes surrounding Eagle Rock are just a memory. Kennecott bulldozed them, erected chain-link and razor wire fence and prepares to drill its entryway to the new mine, directly through the sacred rock. This destruction will seem miniscule when compared to the environmental devastation that will soon follow—damage that will lay waste the Yellow Dog plains, poison the Salmon Trout River, kill wildlife and impact one of the world’s most important sources of fresh drinking water, the Great Lakes.