Booshoo, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Mel Gasper. I'm a Lac Courte Oreilles tribal member from Hayward, Wisconsin. I'm the administrator for the HELP project (Harvest Educational Learning Project) located on Moore Park Road near Mellen, Wisconsin. I have been here in the Penokee Mountain Range since March 3 of 2013. What am I doing here? I've been told I'm camping illegally and blocking access to the forest, littering the forest, etc...Who has told me this? Joe Vairus (Iron County forester) Gary Golonik (Iron County forester) both who serve on the Iron County board and Bill Williams (GTAC director).
I am here under my Native Treaty rights of 1842 to harvest and gather on ceded territory. I respect the land, air and water and all that our Creator has given us. We don't litter here, we don't block access to anyone, we've had approximately 5000 people come through this project and no one has been turned away. We take people on nature walks and the educate them on aspects of life and how this vast area could sustain living and income for many years to come. On the corporate level, thse people come into our beautiful parts of the country and take but don't give back. Life is more than taking. We have to give back more than we take. Mother Earth can only take so much of what's being done to her. We need to look at what's going on with Nature---the many things that aren't natural, like storms that are the worst we've seen in years, global warming, earthquakes that are happening where they never did before, extinction of plants and animals. The list goes on.
Senator Tom Tiffany says we need a 600 ft. buffer zone to keep the workers safe! Who's going to keep the thousands of people, plants and animals safe from the drastic pollution and poisons that will kill them if this law goes through? It's people like you and me, taking steps to keep our air, water and land clean and safe from disaster. Giving our all, to see the children and their children for many generations to come, will have what's left of this to cherish and know that someone wants to have that beauty live on. As I sit in my wigwam at the vast mountain I thank the Great Spirit, Creator, or whatever your belief that they've given me air with no asbestos particles flying through the country side causing drastic respiratory problems. I thank them for the clean water with no sulfuric acid in it. I thank them for the beautiful land that gives life to plants and animals.
The circle of life is coming around and we need to look at what's happening to this great land. We've been given all of this beauty to ENJOY, NOT DESTROY. I want to thank everyone for your gracious support to the HELP project and looking to future generations.
Mel Gasper HELP administrator (Harvest Educational Learning Project)