Comments from the American Indian Advisory Committee, Science Museum of Minnesota

Minnesota’s water quality depends on people and institutions protecting our rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands. The spread of large animal feedlots, the proposed oil pipeline from Canada to Lake Superior, a proposed coal gasification plant in northern Minnesota—decisions made by government in our name will affect the health of our waters for years and centuries to come.

Along with other Minnesotans, we are concerned about
• The loss of wild rice beds because of changing flow plans on the Mississippi River
• Frequent fish advisories because of mercury levels on Minnesota lakes and dioxin levels in fish.
• The dramatic drop in the Lake Superior water level.

Last fall, the Clean Water, Land and Legacy amendment passed with 56% of the vote. Minnesotans voted to dedicate $300 million dollars a year to clean water, habitat and wild land, parks and trails, arts and culture for the next 25 years.

We invite exhibit visitors to watch the 9-minute interview with Josephine Mandamin. She is an Ojibwe grandmother and one of the Mother Earth Water Walkers who walked around all five Great Lakes.

We urge great-grandparents and grandparents, both Indian and non-Indian, to tell their grandchildren the story of how, when they were very young, they could still dip a cup into a Minnesota lake and drink the water without fear. We all need to tell stories of how much has changed in the last century. The Ojibwe on the White Earth Reservation are hoping to build a water research and learning center that will give their children the tools to preserve the shared environment and their tribal culture. We encourage non-Indians: Take care to pass on your heritage as well.

What happens to any of our lakes and streams happens to all of us. Write your state representative, know what is happening with the funds collected through the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment. Work together for change.

We all need to honor Mother Earth, and we need each other to do it.

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