Stories, Memories, and Condolences About Walt
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This excellent photo, taken by Sue Erikson of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission and editor of the Masinaigan shows Walt's impish smile....famous 'round the world. 

 Add your memories of Walt

               Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) received word this afternoon of the passing of a friend that  was a true warrior in the struggle to protect our treaty rights, environment, and human rights of  Indigenous Peoples. Walter Bresette, Red Cliff Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) of the Loon Clan died this Sunday, February 21, 1999 morning in Duluth, Minnesota. Bresette lived on the Red Cliff Ojibwe reservation in Wisconsin. During the pass year, Bresette has been active in the development of the Great Lakes Regional  Indigenous Environmental Network (GLRIEN), as well as other initiatives such as the Anishinaabeg Millennium Project. Bresette founded the Anishinaabeg Millennium Project which sought to reclaim and redefine a vision for the future of the Anishinaabe Nation. 

               Bresette recently was appointed as a board member to both Project Underground and Honor The Earth Campaign. IEN will miss this Ojibwe brother - uncle - father - and we send our prayers out to his family, children, friends, and loved ones. 

               All My Relations, 
               Tom Goldtooth 
               IEN National Coordinator 
               Bemidji, MN 

               I am shocked and saddened to get the news this evening of the passing of Walter Bresette, a hero for the Peoples and a wonderful, warm and committed Indian man. 

               I had the privilege and pleasure of working with him closely on many occasions over the years. It was always good to share time and conversation with him, and to discuss ideas and strategies for addressing the many struggles confronting our Peoples. I can't believe that he will not be here in the same way next time I want to talk something over with him. Of course his spirit and example of selfless dedication will live on to inspire us always. 

               Please convey the heartfelt condolences of the International Indian Treaty Council staff and Board members to his family and his associates, who must be feeling very deeply the pain and shock of losing such a one from this world so suddenly. Our heart and prayers goes out to them. I hope it helps for them to know how fondly he will be remembered by all of us who knew him. 

               Respectfully, Andrea Carmen, Executive Director, 
               International Indian Treaty Council 

               KOLA wishes to express its sincere feelings of sympathy with the relatives of Mr. Walter Bresette. He was an awesome human rights and environmental advocate and he will be greatly missed. 

               Elsie Herten & Florence Bald Eagle, 
               KOLA International Campaign Office 
               Brussels, Belgium 

               Thanks so much for the information. Sorry for all those who were touched by him and sorry for Wisconsin because we needed his strength of character. Please pass on my sympathy and concern to his family and friends. 

               Ed Garvey 
               Madison, WI 

               It was with great sadness that I learned today of Walt Bresette's death. 

               He will be greatly missed by all who treasure the diversity of cultures and life on earth. 

               It was an honor to know him. 

               Bron Taylor 
               Oshkosh Foundation Professor and Director of Environmental Studies 
               Professor of Religion and Social Ethics 
               Dept. of Religious Studies and Anthropology 
               The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh 
               Oshkosh, WI 54901 

               This is indeed a great loss for humanity. I never met Walt Bresette but I have known of him and have read his works and have followed his activism which has been inspirational. Please keep us informed as to the date of the wake so that we can have a gathering here in his honor at the same time. 

               Catherine Davids 
               University of Michigan - Flint 

               You mention Black Hawk's war club, which was given to Walt to carry. He carried it well and honored the memory of Black Hawk. 

               I saw the club on a number of occasions, and heard Walt speak of it and how it came to him on others. But on one occasion I was thrilled to see Walter use the club in a righteous act of self-defense. 

               We were on the outskirts of Ladysmith, after RTZ had finished surrounding "their" property with a 10-foot-high cyclone fence and begun the grisly process of scraping topsoil into huge mounds. On top of one of these mounds, in full view of the traffic on Highway 27, a large United States flag had been planted. 

               Having assembled outside one of the gates leading into the mine site, the two dozen or so protesters proceeded to sing, chant, and generally carry on. No arrests had been planned for this day, and it seemed we'd all soon be heading home, one more unremarkable demonstration under our belts. 

               A few members of our group had broken away and were walking the fenceline, apparently sizing up the site's security. Suddenly my eye was caught by some unusual movement to my left, and I turned in time to see the first of three (I think there were three; this was eight years ago and my memory is hazy) protesters engaging in a little extra-curricular activity. 

               First Walt, then Jan Jacoby, then Sean Guilfoyle dropped to the ground inside RTZ territory, and as they did, each made a beeline for the hill with the flag on top. As the rest of us watched and cheered, Walt took a sharp right and began running toward a giant earth moving machine parked near the base of the hill. He ran up to one of the mammoth tires and, jumping as high as he could, "counted coup" on that monster machine with Black Hawk's club. 

               Walt then joined his two comrades, who had begun taking down the flag. After it was (more or less) properly folded, they ran back and tossed it over the fence and into the hands of Linda Craemer, who appeared surprised at suddenly becoming an accessory to this little crime. 

               Walt's explanation afterwards was that he felt an exploitive foreign company had no right to fly an American flag over land that they were about to desecrate and that the three fence climbers had not intended to keep the flag, only to safeguard it until its rightful owners could be found. 

               His was and is a wonderful spirit. Long may he live in our hearts. 

               Jeff Peterson 
               Luck, WI 

               I too count myself lucky to have witnessed the event Jeff mentions above. The image of Walt hammering away with the war club on the earth mover at Ladysmith has been indelibly etched in my mind because of its pathos - an Indian warrior with pony tail waving in the wind, dwarfed by the mechanical monster, and swinging away against its indifference and destruction in an act of defense for his long suffering culture and the accosted mother planet. Too bad so many of us are blinded by the glitter of the modern world, too bad so few of us carry torches of awareness in the darkness. We have lost one; let us share and fire the imaginations of others with Walt's spirit, voice and vision. 

               Will Fantle 
      Eau Claire, WI 

               I'm saddened to hear about Walter's sudden death. I thought that he and Walter Kuhlman were the two most influential intellectual environmental leaders of Wisconsin. Now both of them are gone. Their contributions and leadership were immeasurable. 

               John Schwarzmann 
               Minocqua, WI 

               I heard about Walt's passing through IEN, too. I'm really sorry to hear this, but hope his example will lead to others taking his road. 

               Lilias Jones Jarding 
               Brookings, SD 

               Thank you for the information on Walt Bresette's funeral. I'm sad to find this on my e-mail. I'll put tobacco out for him. He was a neat person and I'll remember the times when I got to listen to his good words. 

               Sara Begay 

               Needless to say this is a terrible lose for the entire people and state of Wisconsin.

                Betsy Lawrence 

               Wisconsin Community Fund 
               Madison, WI 

               Please add my thoughts and prayers to the growing list. 

               Walt was a fighter for justice, decency, sanity in a world that seems to have gone mad with greed and exploitation. His voice and gentle but strong spirit were an inspiration to me. Though I only met him once or twice, his spirit was often with me and his works were a guide to my own work. May he journey in peace on the great road... 

               Peter d'Errico 
               Legal Studies Faculty voice: 413-545-2003 
               University of Massachusetts: Amherst, MA, USA 01003 

               What a bright, funny, and passionate treasure we've lost. 

               Patty Loew 
               Lecturer, American Indian Studies 
               University of Wisconsin-Madison 

               This is a very sad day. Like everyone else, I've been in many "actions" with Walt, including 5 of us stopping the train in Stevens Point a few years ago... it was carrying toxins and heading for the res. 

               Kathy Wolf 
               Madison, WI 


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