An environmental justice group opposing mining at Eagle Rock near Marquette is caravanning almost 500 miles to Lansing today. They'll present a petition to Governor Granholm's office asking for greater community and tribal input in the use of the state's leased land to Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. They will also host an event featuring speakers and singers who want to promote awareness to citizens down state.
The petitioners are a group of Keweenaw Bay Indian Community members, and sympathizers, who say the site should not be mined because it's sacred to the tribe.
State law prohibits mining areas from being near places of worship. But a DEQ official ruled that Eagle Rock is not a place of worship because it's not in a building.
Tribal member Charlotte Loonsfoot was arrested last week for protesting at the site, and she disagrees with the DEQ interpretation.
"For me everything around here is our church, all nature," she says. "We don't need a building cause we're already in our environment where we were many years ago."
Today, tribal members pray, fast, leave tobacco and plates of food at the site.
The DEQ has issued all the permits for Kennecott to begin construction. Last week the company fenced the Eagle Rock site.