LCO Harvest and Education Camp

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Paul de Main 07.26.13

Iron County sent out their inspectors from the health department, checked out the two porta potties, type of dish soap and went down their checklist while in the camp. We appreciate their advice in order to stay in compliance. 

Being concerned about our legal status, they suggested the tribe should fill out the following application so that we could legally exist on county public lands while harvesting plants reserved under treaties with the US Government. Here is the title of the application:


Now we know what they think the Indians are doing in the woods of Iron County.

Today's poem Notes from Camp by Rob Ganson (Posted on 07.25.13)

When the clouds align in fables
and the streams whisper
the mountain's secret,
it is not moot to ponder magic.

When the window of dreams
opens to a chorus of loons
and the wolves harmonize
with the moon's blue complexion,

when elves and amazons
show the way to Xanadu,
you have arrived in the land
of poems and grand mischief.

If you find men in circles, playing
the heartbeat of the world
on skins that were gifted with meat,
the beat of the actual universe,
and someone sings, and your spirit
flies like eagle, you may be home.

If by chance, you round a bend
to spy sky-clad celebrants
being washed by the currents
of the great divide,
you may be home.

These hills abide in the mind's eye,
and may be carried to boxes
where bills are paid, where
the tax man find's you,

but you can hide in your water,
in the 70% of yourself that cities
can't reach with their unnatural 
shapes and sounds, their poison.

Here is a secret I learned
in the arms of a camp, of a creek.
Once you have ventured through
the window of Penokee dreams,
walked the hills, bathed in the streams,
you can take that window home,
open it like a back door to real,
heal, like you did at camp.

If you should find yourself
driving a metaphorical convertible
where there are no lights to insist
and the stars mate with fireflies
in the time of red deer
and laughing children,
you have found the window
I left open just for you.

Paul DeMain 07.20 2013

Looking forward to hosting several legislators and investigative (fact-finding) authorities and additional media over the course of the next week. Melvin is doing his Honor The Earth appearance, and consulting with several groups of people about security and long term assistance at the Harvest Camp for additional treaty campers and Harvesters.

Apparently in order to stay in compliance with the 14 day camping requirement of Iron County all tents will be required to be taken down every fourteen days for at least one hour and set back up for the next fourteen day camping period.

Actually the issue of the Iron County Forest Department and/or Iron County officials working to under-MINE the issuance of the 14 day waiver is in the hands of attorneys and will be awaiting their guidance and the direction of the LCO Council in consultation with other Great Lakes Chippewa tribes.

Some deep throat in Iron County said the guidance for under-MINING the camp legally has come from the top echelons of the DNR at the insistence of the Governors office. I wouldn't blink if that turned out to be the truth.

We are scheduling birthdays, naming ceremonies, taking harvest product requests, adding additional lodges (several of the lodges by request are booked with reservations for the rest of the summer) in expectation of additional arrivals and delegations from tribal nations in the US and Canada.

Please continue to film the environmental damage GTAC has already committed. Take pictures of the out of state companies and workers and mercenaries with assault rifles, write your blogs, Senators, friends and neighbors, post, like, import, export upload and share, share, share.

Lastly, come eat fry-bread and fish on Sunday in Montreal. It should be a nice peaceful day visiting with neighbors about the rabid pro-mining advocates getting out of church services, done asking for forgiveness for the sins they have committed, or about too.

Paul DeMain 06.17.13

We are hoping that all those that did the River to Drill Site walk this last weekend go home and each one of you bring a couple of people back up this next weekend for the same good exercise. Bring your cameras and videos, sketch pads and extra shoes. (We have not outlawed throwing shoes at out of state Gtac sub-contractors if you are Muslim) But, out of respect for the law enforcement officials hired to to be paid time and half for the difficult work of standing there waiting for something to happen, we have outlawed the throwing of donuts near them, as we found out some of them sympathize with us, and we don't want to get them in trouble for chasing donuts rather then doing their job. 

This last weekend, despite our best efforts, the guides from the LCO Harvest and Education Camp were unable to find any members of Al Queda to photograph as they apparently have retired to their underground nesting areas. Camp feast the weekend of June 21/22 Friday and Saturday nites around 6ish, followed by the 2nd weekend of guitar strumming and hand drumming. Still waiting for that Hand Drum group that wants to sing a few songs from Anishinabe Lookout and the rest stop near Jokers Lodge. I encourage you to record that from in the woods somewhere below, and we will make it a record breaking CD, "Hand Drum Songs to Save the Penokee Mountains."

Other members of the Harvest Camp hope to strike out and bring in some new and interesting products this weeks, and enhance the carving opportunities as well (several nice diamond willow walking sticks have already left the camp as well as beautiful birch bark baskets), and tentative planning for next years sugar bush are taking place as strategic path planning is underway: We counted 109, 3 tap trees from the wall tent to LaPointe's Village near Camp Corbine. 

Also, we can provide seeded plants and several elders were gifted cedar and other plants to take home -- since the mining company considers it just junk and overburden, we might as well save it. Come and get your part of the Penokees. When it is declared a Heritage Park, you can bring it back and replant it if needed, otherwise for now, one elderly handicapped person can keep it safer then Gtac, WI DNR or Republican caucus all put together. The garden might need weeding, there is cooking to do, trails to blaze and trespassers to feed and the flying rabbits have actually discovered where their cage is and returned home, momentarily for some rest. The camp is staking itself down, as they say.....

Paul DeMain 06.15.13

I See that Moore Park Road, near Mellen, Wisconsin is open all the way to Tyler Forks, (aka: Root Beer River) with the chained gate about 1/4 mile before the end of the road. There is also a trail walk on the river at the end of the road on the West Bank. You can park there and walk back up to the gated entry to the railroad bed in the 1st mining phase section which will take you must of the way to the drilling site on Saturday, June 15.

According to discussions with several people, several shifts starting around 1pm will be going into the Penokee Mountains Heritage Park and walk to the active drilling site that was alleged attacked by Al Qaeda earlier this week. The Bad River bus coming from the Potato River bridge on the Rez will be there sometime in the afternoon. Several LCO families will be visiting the camp after voting in Saturday elections and several of the clans building additional wigwams will be in the camp, including several different guides that know the trails, including the Elizabeth Trudell allotment trail.

Camp feast will be in the early evening, and the 1st annual Penokee Mountain Guitar and Hand Drum session begins. We heard hand drum music that was sung the night before still echoing in the range the next day. Melvin says watch out for the little smart ass flying squirrel that is heckling him at night, tore open a bag of flour and pissed on it. Somebody said the squirrel was mad because some little kids in the camp thought the rabbits in the camp could fly better.

06.14.13 Sherrole Benton

LCO Harvest and Educational Camp (LCOHEC) 2013

Background and Mission

The Penokee Hills region may become one of the world's largest open pit mines in North America unless we act today to help preserve its pristine nature. The mining  company, Gogebic Taconite (GTAC), plans to start mining for iron ore taconite at the headwaters of the Bad River northern Wisconsin.

Bad River flows downhill through reservation of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, their wild rice beds, and into Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin.  Acid mine drainage from GTAC's mining activities would poison the environment and lead to human health and wildlife hazards in the Penokee Mountains Heritage Park. GTAC has already starting drilling, June 8th, for core samples from the Penokee hills.

The Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Band of Lake Superior Chippewa opened a treaty harvest and educational camp on public lands in the Penokee Hills.  The LCOHEC mission is to make a presence in the Penokee Hills and do research in the region.  It’s also to become a part of it -- breathe the air, partake of the water, and experience the open wilderness and natural beauty.  The main tasks of LCOHEC are to host LCO tribal members and other guests who are doing an inventory of resources, trail blazing, archaeology work and harvesting.  Visitors to the camp ought to prepare for the elements and be self-sufficient.  (See list below).  Donations to LCOHEC are accepted and greatly appreciated.  

Some LCO harvesters are overseeing the camp.  Melvin Gasper and Felina LaPointe are the contact persons in the camp and can answer all questions.  Other tribes and environmental organizations support the LCOHEC including Save the Waters Edge, the Mining Impact Coalition of Wisconsin, and dozens of others.  The Penokee Hills Education Project (PHEP) was formed to educate the public about risks to the Bad River watershed and the Penokee Hills from GTAC’s open pit drilling and mining.  The PHEP goals are to share information about the impact of mining on our economy, health, and the environment; and to connect with similar citizen-led groups locally and nationally.

The LCOHEC camp is on county land and within the Chippewa ceded territory.  The Chippewa have treaty rights in this region to hunt, fish, and harvest.  It so happens that the GTAC mining site is in the "State Forest Management Tax Credit" program making it a public space. Therefore, LCOHEC is guided by state agreements with the Chippewa tribes for harvesting of  foods, berries, herbs, medicinal plants, and other materials for baskets, shelter, etc.

Many tribal members are descendants of former land allottees in the area. The LCOHEC camp is close to the place where about 200 Indian land allotments made in the late 1800's.  Most of these land allotments were stolen outright, or deceptively removed from Indian people. Wealthy investors of the original shaft mining got their hands on the Indian land allotments.  Researchers have so far located over 150 Indian Allotments on the ore deposit issued from 1858 through 1887. For example, John B. Corbin had an 80-acre allotment near Copper Falls State Park. We want to know how this land was disenfranchised from our relatives.

The LCOHEC camp is open for hunting, fishing, harvesting and public recreational use.  Several people have already requested harvesting permits for birch bark, ironwood, ginseng and other products they’re identifying.  LCO has declared its intent to harvest walleye from the nearby Lake Galilee.  Deer and other hunting permits are available.

Non-tribal people can also harvest on public lands.  Anyone who wants to pick berries, collect maple syrup, wild onions, or other harvestable products can do so.  Some people may be interested in volunteering to remove exotic species from the land like garlic mustard, and etc.

LCOHEC organizers are looking to include elders and youth, schools, colleges, AODA programs, language immersion, rehab and business development programs — all asking the questions:

1.) What can we learn from the ancient Cahokia history of the range, Ojibwe village and burial locations, and the mining that has occurred over the course of 1,200 years including the geography and topography?  

2.) What can be harvested, from berries to iron wood and items that can be used or bartered to assist in making a moderate living as defined by courts under treaties with the Chippewa?

They also ask camp visitors to be self-sufficient and bring their own supplies, trail food, and water with them. The camp organizers provides one evening meal in the evening for everyone in the camp.  Items for campers to pack include:


Tent and sleeping bags

personal camp dishes, cups, and utensils

first-aid kit, personal toiletries, prescription meds

bug repellant

dry trail food, snacks

drinking water

hiking boots or mud boots

flashlight and batteries

dress appropriately for rough campings and weather

tools for gardening, trail blazing, or improving rough campsites

The LCOHEC provides one meal for everyone in the evening. Contributions to the meal are accepted.

Donations of supplies to the camp needed include: non-perishable goods, snacks, cookies, tents, shovels, hatchets, axes, lighting, screening, carving knives, camping bowls, beans, rice, drinking water, and etc.  Supplies can be dropped off at the Trading Post, 8558N Cty Rd K, Hayward, WI, 54843; or the PHEP 212 W. Main St, Ashland, WI, 54806.

LCOHEC camp organizers are requesting monetary donations to support the camp.  Monetary donations can be made online at:  

LCOHEC Donations

PHEP Donations    

Bad River Defense Fund

Online Resources for more info:

Recent LCOHEC Updates:

Maps of the Penokee Hills

Directions to LCOHEC (scroll to the bottom of this article to find directions)

Contact: Frank Koehn

PH: (218) 341-8822, Email:


06.13.13 Biskakone Greg Johnson

Boozhoo! Here is one section of river from our visit to the Penokee Hills today. It's hard to grasp the idea that someone with resources and money would like to dig up what is hidden away here, as if it belongs to them to distribute and sell. After we visited, we all agreed that in this place ALL the medicines can be found. Where there are traditional medicines there is life for the sick. Therefore, as a member of the Ojibwe Nation, I strongly oppose any type of change to the Great Spirit's Pharmacy in those hills. — with Charles G. Theobald, Leonc Valliere and Steve Johnson Sr..

06.10.13 Paul DeMain

The four eagle feathers were tied to the cedar pole that was prepared to be used as an entry flagstaff to the LCO Harvest Camp in the Penokee Mountains Heritage Park this weekend. It was talked for by elder Joe Rose of the Bad River Ojibwe with the help of his son Joe Dan, Gary Quarderer and Paul DeMain with Joe's grandson Jackson running around in the camp and woods nearby. Several neighbors who had stopped in for a cup of coffee and talk to find out who was living in these woods were invited to observe the ceremony conducted in a traditional way to open the gates of the camp with the symbol of a nearby family, clan, tribe living there now. Everybody gathered to ask the spirit of all living things to watch over everybody, everybody..... even William (Bill) Williams the guy that wants to destroy the Heritage Park who needs the most help of all. Everybody, including our neighbors put their hands on the pole as it was raised with a roar of shouts to announce we were here to stay, a moment, none of us will forget for some time. — 

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06.01.13Paul DeMain 

 It even has some newly named trails, and sites renamed not far from the Root Beer River. One of them is Uncle Rod's Rock by the Tyler Gorge. The LCO Harvest Camp at the old village of Plummer is 5 acres overseen by several Ojibwe elders, LCO Conservation Dept. and guests in an agreement between the LCO Ojibwe Tribe and Iron County. 

The LCO Harvest Camp is comprised of a 5 acre square on county lands, and 1 acre educational facility named in honor to the discoverer now called Skulan University. Actually it was just in plain site the day I was there, just covered with snow, so the name goes to Joe, who is an educator and who took the first contemporary picture there since the Ojibwe returned to open the site up.

On top of the crest is the Ancient Trail and in order to get to it you have to go thru Elizabeth Trudell's Allotment. (off to the east a short cut trail back to Moore Park Road cuts across Trudell's Creek. Somewhere out there south of Trudell's Creek I was thinking I would open a fry-bread stand and call it "The Fry-Bread Compound," named after my ggg-uncles underground shelter in the Penokees when he thought about having a stand off with the rich out of state mining interests wanting his land in 1856.

All together there are over 18,526 rough camping sites that we have counted so far along the old Indian trails and prospectors squatting stakes. If you don't hurry, the best ones will be taken. 

My mother used to say that Dad was "occuplied" in the bathroom when I really had to take a bad piss -- so, I prefer that you call the village anything you want but an Occupation, but anywhere else in the 21,994 acre public spread left to everybody else on the proposed mine site you can call it what-ever you want -- just register the name site at the LCO Embassy. 

Come visit the LCO Harvest Camp and take a trail ride to the next village over to visit somebody that is occupied in the Penokees or stop by and visit the Brown Sugar Fry-Bread Shack on the Trudell Allotment (when we open), or do both, your choice. Starting this weekend I think we might have artisans coming to the village to put their wares out as well to help the Penokee Hills Heritage Park Fund.

We plan on having a get-together with all our new neighbors soon and make some more fry-bread, maybe even wild onion fry-bread -- I've had some on or in just about everything else. I already feel like I am part Penokee onion - the black flies even leave me alone.

05.29.13 Paul DeMain

The wild onions that have been harvested to date have been distributed to elders and into the soups and frying pans of all kinds of LCO people, friends and relatives. Some people have made small donations to take bundles of 10-15. We have harvested about 2-300 to date collectively. There is now about 6,745,961 wild onions left in the Penokee Range on the 1st phase 5 mile section of the 22 mile long mine.

If the mine goes in, the wild onions will be designated as over-burden and stacked on the 3,200 acre dump site the county has leased to Gtac.

The discussion about any Native and non-Native harvest will lay with those elders at the Harvest Camp, at LCO, GLIFWC and other people who can gauge take, and harvestibility. 

So far LCO took one walleye from Lake Galiliee in order to begin a baseline of quality and other information needed in case the company needs to be sued for loss of crops and other emotional stress.

Nobody involved on our end intends to make an irresponsible decision, but right now barter and trade is feeding those at the camp and the exchange of Zooniya as well has helped provide lodging, warmth and love at the camp.

05.23.13 Paul DeMain

Should have a decent work crew headed to the LCO Harvest Camp on Friday May 24th. Need to do some re-arranging, further clearing and watch things dry out a bit before this big weekend. Could use a couple of more shovels as some drainage work needs to be done to help with surface groundwater flow.

LCO is sending a couple of official cooking assistants to the Copper Falls Park event from 11-3 that day on Saturday along with enough meat products to feed a couple hundred. Also we are hoping to be joined that early afternoon with Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Chairman Gordon Thayer and several other council members or program directors from LCO at Copper Falls State Park and on the former Chippewa Allotments of J.B Corbin, Robert Morrin, John Baptist Crane, John Baptist Denome, John Hoskin, Michael Lambert and Joseph Roy.

The LCO Harvest Camp itself is just open all the time for people to check out and get directions to Tylor's Fork River (Root Beer River) and Penokee Crest ancient trails. They still need some large utensils for cooking, and the name of the closest porta-potty rental so we can get one large handicapped unit up there for our elders and others who haven't eaten enough fiber lately to have regularity.

We got a gift of rope of various kinds by USP yesterday, and several loaves of homemade bread, lawn chairs, skirts, and utensils today which will all be on the Harvest bus May 24th along with a bunch of wigwam building volunteers on their way up to work. Dry goods like Mac, and canned spam, AIM toothpaste and toilet paper, blankets, tents or canvas are still appreciated.