The statement doesn't specifically focus on the impact of sulfide contamination on manoomin; rather, the statement focuses on the dump sites and, thereby, creation of toxic waste - sulfide ore+air+water=sulfuric acid. The statement notes that mining operations create "a new, and toxic, Brownfield (Superfund) site with their discarded ore (tailings)."
For the record, brownfield sites are abandoned or underused industrial or commercial sites that are available for re-use. The land may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution and has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up. On the other hand, a Superfund site is land that is severely contaminated and has high concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution. The term itself - Superfund - refers to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). Despite the name, the Superfund trust fund lacks sufficient funds to clean up even a small number of sites. As of May 4, 2010, there were 25 Superfund sites in Minnesota. One area of great concern is the St. Louis River basin that has two Superfund sites.
I think this is what the Fond du Lac elders were referring to, i.e., a Superfund site. A brownfield site has the potential to be cleaned and reused; a Superfund site doesn't because of lack of trust funds. Northeastern Minnesota has the very real potential of becoming a vast Superfund site considering that there are presently six sulfide mining companies applying for permits to open sulfide mining operations.
As stated by the Fond du Lac elders: "We, as Lake Superior Chippewa (sic) Elders respect our Mother, the Earth. We, as Lake Superior Chippewa (sic) Elders consider ourselves stewards of the land. We, as Lake Superior Chippewa (sic) Elders know the value of a safe non-toxic environment. And we, as Lake Superior Chippewa (sic) Elders, must look seven generations into the future to see that the events that happen today, do not affect those generations yet unborn, seven generations into the future."
This is a good thing. To see our elders actively engaged in the dialogue to protect Omizakamigokwe, to protect the Abinoojiiyag. Our elders have spoken and told us what we must do. They have given us a mandate. Let us heed their words.
Mii sa go