PAGE 1 MAZINA’IGAN FALL 2018 Published by the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission FALL 2018 Iron mining in Minnesota: a difficult time for wild rice By John Coleman GLIFWC Environmental Section Leader Omashkooz hunt returns to Wisconsin Ceded Territory By Charlie Otto Rasmussen, Editor What’s in your baashkizigan? Iron Range, Minn.—Iron mining has sustained the human economy in northeast Minnesota for several genera- tions.Unfortunately,ithasalsovastlymodifiedthelandscape inwaysthathavedamagedterrestrialandaquaticecosystems. The Iron Range mines once employed approximately 20,000 people. A transition from underground mines to open pit mines and increases in mechanization, however, reduced the demand for labor. More recently, competition from overseas has resulted in a further decline in the contribution of iron mining to the economyoftheregion.Therearenowfewerthan5,000people employed at iron mines. Most iron mines in Minnesota were started before there was a Clean WaterAct (CWA) or other regulations to protect the environment. When water quality permits were issued by the State of Minnesota to regulate the discharge of mine wastewater in the 1980s and ‘90s, those permits contained few restrictions on what pollutants could be discharged to rivers and streams. Unfortunately,thosesamepermits,whicharedesignedto be updated every five years, have not been revisited since.An Figure 1. The lakes and rivers receiving discharge water from the Minntac tailings basin. The primary receiving waters are the Sandy and Dark Rivers. (Map courtesy of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) (see Iron mining, page 14) Once abundant, wild rice has been virtually eliminated from the upper Sandy River and associated lakes. Clam Lake, Wis.—After a series of discussions that included elders and tribal leaders, GLIFWC’s Voigt Inter- tribal Task Force has configured an elk hunting season in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory that emphasizes community over individuals. Members of Ojibwe treaty tribes, paired off into five hunting groups, are slated to participate in a bulls-only omashkooz hunt this fall. Native hunters, who hail from 1837 and 1842 Treaty Ceded Territories in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, share a total of five harvest tags. “Acollective harvest by the bands stands out as a strong assertionoftribalsovereigntyandunity,”saidJasonSchlender, Voigt Intertribal Task Force chairman. “With continued cooperation between the state, tribes, and other entities, this endeavor will hopefully yield future hunting opportunities for both state and tribal hunters.” Wildlife officials announced the state’s first elk hunting season last March after a population assessment revealed that the Ceded Territory herd would exceed the benchmark figure of 200 animals in 2018. State-licensed hunters and Ojibwe treaty tribes are evenly splitting 10 bull elk tags in a hunt limited to the Clam Lake omashkooz range of northern Wisconsin.The recently-established elk herd some 150 miles south in the Black River Falls region is off limits. The return of wild elk to Wisconsin is a wildlife suc- cess story. Since Lac Courte Oreilles spiritual leader Gene Begay welcomed 25 elk translocated from Lower Michigan at a release ceremony in 1995, the herd has experienced a mostly steady—sometimes uneven—growth in the forests of northern Wisconsin. Led by the Department of Natural Resources, interagency wildlife managers have overseen the expansion of elk within a range dominated by public lands. Wisconsin’s original elk herd succumbed to unregulated huntingandhabitatlossinthelate1800s.Anattempttorestore elk in the 1930s ultimately failed. Heading to harvest camp Followingarandomdrawing,Ojibwebandsarematched up into five groups, each responsible for all aspects of the hunt including ceremonies, designating shooters, harvest, processing, and community distribution. Cultural leaders and Omashkooz. (Michigan Department of Natural Resources photo) (see Omashkooz, page 3) Onji-Akiing page 12 K Consider copper ammunition over lead for a cleaner cut of deer, elk meat lead (left) copper (right) Lead bullet fragments can be a health risk for humans and poison wildlife like migiziwag that feed on carcasses. Y copper Z lead