‘Largest Land Deal In Michigan History’ Is 9,000 Acres Entirely Stolen From Native Americans (VIDEO)

The Detroit Free Press is calling it the “largest single public land deal in Michigan history,” but unfortunately, hardly anyone may be taking notice. Native Americans in the Mitten State are about to be robbed of some 9,000 acres of treaty land in the Upper Peninsula by a Canadian company who intends to use it to develop a limestone mine, and the Michigan state government is providing the getaway car.

The blocking bid by the opposing collective of Michigan Natives was brought forth by several tribes, including the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the Bay Mills Indian Community, according to Indian Country Today Media Network.

Plaintiff Phil Bellfy said in a statement:

“The land subject to transfer is wholly within the 1836 Treaty of Washington Ceded Territory and subject to the conditions laid out in the 2007 Inland Consent Decree. It would be unconstitutional for the MDNR Director to transfer those lands as we—American Indians—have Treaty rights to ‘the usual privileges of occupancy’ on those 11,000 acres. We are asking the Court to step in and preserve our Treaty rights and enjoin Mr. Craegh from transferring that land.”

The rightful injunction was the last hope for the opposition to prohibit the limestone mine from taking over treaty-written Native land, entirely against their will. The Detroit Free Press reports the land-grab as potentially spanning 13,000 acres when all is said and done. That’s a little more than 20 square miles, or slightly larger than New Haven, Connecticut.

The actual deal the injunction hoped, but failed, to freeze was approved in March and it stipulates that the state of Michigan agrees to sell 8,810 acres of “surface land or underground mineral rights.” The lucky winner in the deal is the Canadian mining suckfish known popularly in the waters of North America as Graymont.

The state of Michigan picked up $4.53 million for the deal, though when treaty rights go ignored in one deal to honor another, one has to wonder, “What officially makes a ‘deal,’ anyway?” If one does not keep one’s word in one deal, what makes one decide to do so in another? What’s the difference?

The difference is most obviously racism, colonialism, oppression, and arrogance.

The state of Michigan can make a deal with American Indians, and then just ignore it, pretend like it doesn’t exist when it suits its purpose (and money always suits its purpose) because American Indians in Michigan pose little to no threat. How much of that $4.53 million do you think the tribes will receive?

Treaties are fiction to the United States government, clearly, if once set down in ink they still mean nothing. They are essentially contracts the government’s privilege over a colonized people continually opts to ignore. It makes you wonder why the government even bothers issuing treaties in the first place. Treaties, as they stand now it would seem, are merely gestures used to tamp down dissent and its radical sister, direct action.

Treaties are only illusion until they are honored or fought for in order to instill honor. Just ask the Mi’kmaq. They know, and they have shown they are willing to fight for their treaties to have meaning.

And if the Michigan government is not prepared to act honorably in the agreement, what choice do the American Indians of the mitten have but to fight in order to uphold the honor and meaning of their treaties? Let us hope a physical barring from the land or other such civil disobedience takes place, if necessary, and let us hope all involved receive the support they will need in order to succeed. It sure sounds like a call to action is necessary.

The numerous tribes involved in the attempted block of the land transfer were also joined by local residents, as well as the Sierra Club, though in the end, the need for jobs in the area became a large driving factor in the deal’s closure.

You can read more about the American government’s severe lack of integrity, here and here.

Check out coverage of the local community discussing the matter, below:

H/T: indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com | Featured image: via WikiMedia