Rio Tinto’s Idea of Community Relations
This morning I witnessed a scene that I hoped I never would. As most of you know, a group of citizens, both tribal and non, have been occupying the land known as Eagle Rock for over a month now. They have tents up, a cooking shelter, a sacred fire, and flags flying in the wind at the top of the rock. I traveled to the Rock around 8:30am this Thursday morning but was met by a police officer blockading a public road, County Road AAA, with his squad car. We parked and continued toward the Rock on foot. As we passed, I asked what right he had to block the public off. The officer informed me that the State Police gave him authority to block off a county road and state land. We continued pass the officer on foot and arrived at the encampment. Within five minutes, three officials that work for Kennecott showed up and issued everyone with letters. Matt Johnson, a former aid to Governor Granholm, began by stating that he was so happy to be “working” with this group. He continued with a statement about the land being a construction zone and their need to meet federal safety laws. They asked the group to leave and we all refused. Johnson said they would be forced to have police intervention. We sat back down around the sacred fire for awhile while the police were assembling just beyond Eagle Rock. Some of us put tobacco on the fire, some of us stoked the fire to keep it burning. About 15 state troopers appeared after awhile and informed us that they were just “doing there job”. I’ve heard that so many times it makes me sick. They asked who going to walk out and who wasn’t. Chris Chosa stepped up and stated they would have to remove him if they wanted him gone. Charlotte Loonsfoot watched from above as she was praying on top of Eagle Rock. Police told the group that no filming or cameras were allowed during the arrest. We refused and kept filming. Many members of the group stated that they had no right to be enforcing corporate law and we were enforcing citizen law. This all happened with Matt Johnson, Kennecott spokesman, hiding in the bushes on looking as police swarmed around the small group. Police radioed for Matt and other Kennecott officials to come forward but they did not. After strong words were exchanged, four of the group walked out voluntarily, many in tears. Chosa and Loonsfoot were cuffed and driven to jail as the rest sat on the roadside in the blueberry bushes, watching a company that was ready and poised to build a fence immediately after we were removed.
Now, here we are. Please look through the pictures and videos. This is not the time to give up. Keep checking back for more information as the situation unfolds. Keep everyone in your mind and help when you can. We will keep everyone up to speed.
Watch the video of arrested individual being taken away