Stories, Memories, and Condolences About Walt
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A photo of Walt and Frank Koehn at sunrise on Lake Superior on Eagle Bay (as far north as you can get on the mainland of Wisconsin) following the begining prayers for the Protect the Earth Journey, the 320 mile walk for awareness about the Seventh Generation Amendment.

            The "story" of Walter . . . is "a tale of ancient voices resonating from the past through the rootedness of today's Native people. It is a tale of nonviolent warriors punching at the social and political membranes, making room for the future. 

       It is a tale of European-American allies and Native and African-American legacies of . . . struggle and vision." 

                     "This is a story of cultures coming together not only in the political struggle against racism and resource colonization, but also the coming together of visions of many cultures." 

                     "All of these voices now are coming together collectively, creating a multicultural choir, all saying the same thing: save the earth to save yourselves." (Walleye Warrior, pp. 1 - 3) 
                     "At each place, I stopped to listen and learn and make allies. And as I responded to those openly responding to me, each issue became a window to someplace else I could go to promote the meaning of treaties in the ceded territory." 

                     ". . . all struggles are related . . . . We ally not because we are 'alike' . . . . We ally to affirm each other's strengths. . . . If we are to build even stronger alliances for our common goals, we must accommodate and encourage our personal and cultural differences, while tolerating our natural weaknesses, and thereby solidifying our political partnerships." (Walleye Warrior, p. 85) 
                     ". . . the pine, are gone. Our identity, which is a woodland identity, was slaughtered, is slaughtered. All of the spirits associated with the woodland culture w[ere] devastated. A holocaust occurred in the Great Lakes that was part of our identity. 

                     And so, we've never mourned, we've never mourned the loss of our identity. Instead, we look at the books of Wisconsin and we see the . . . big people standing on the piles of wood celebrating the building of Milwaukee and Chicago . . . ." (Walleye Warrior, p. 87) 
                     ". . . as we were talking, I did a flash forward, like one of those things you do in novels or the movies. . . . I mean it was incredible. And there I was an old man. And there was a young man there next to me, and he was my grandson . . . . And he looked at me and said, 'Grandpa, do you remember when you had treaty rights?' . . . . And I cried . . . . Because I tried to imagine what kind of an explanation I could give this child. I reached inside of my heart, inside of my mind, and couldn't find an answer." (Walleye Warrior, p. 86) 

               "Who Will Care For Things After We Have Gone?" 

                     ". . . what about generations to come - what will they inherit? . . . Some of us have been worried about those unborn generations . . . and we have a proposal[:] . . . the 7th Generation Amendment - a response to [the] present anti-earth legislation in the U.S. Congress and an acknowledgment that these rights we all claim to hold so dear also reside with the future generations." 

                     "The right of the people to use and enjoy air, water, sunlight, and other renewable resources determined by Congress to be common property, shall not be impaired nor shall such use impair their availability for the future generations." 

                     "May the Great Spirit who looks over this sacred lake look kindly on your heart . . . so that as we enter our elder years our children will consider us like we today are caring for them. 
                     "In seven generations, . . . we will all be gone. . . . [S]urely we can commit the rest of our lives that these great grandchildren will have the opportunity to breathe air and drink safely. We must always remember that water is always more precious than gold." (Press Release, 9/20/95) 

               Thanks to Vern Simula 
      Mohawk, Mich. 


               Friends, We did not even really know him but he was our brother and friend.We are sure his soul is at  peace and smiling down on us rolling tru the great wheel of life. Shine on brightly, Amy Vas Nunes, co-chair for the Connecticut Green Party and New England War Resisters League 

               Amy Vas Nunes 
               Green Party of Connecticut 

               Dear green friends in the World, 

               On Monday 22nd, I was informed by my friend Judy Pratt-Shelley from Red Cliff, that Mr. Walt Bresette unexpectedly passed away on Sunday, 21 February 1999, 51 years old. 
               We are all in deep sorrow over this tragic event. 

               Walt Bresette has been a real warrior for native rights and environmental justice. I met him in summer 1996 during my travel around Lake Superior. He left a deep impact on me. He had a visionary mind and an inextinguishable inner flame of love and passion. Walt was an extraordinary human being with an incredible capacity to make dreams come true. 

               A true role model for the global green movement. 

               In deep respect, 
               Ursula Mueller 
               Miljöpartiet de Gröna 
               (International secretary, Green Party Sweden) 

               PS: You can fax condolence letters to Red Cliff Office (Att. Mrs. Judy Pratt-Shelley, fax +1-715-779-3704) 


               Walt belonged to the Anishinabe Nation and lived with his family at Red Cliff, WI. He has been the founder of the Lake Superior Greens and a driving force within the environmental movement in Wisconsin. He has been the leader of the Anishinabe Ogitchida (Protectors of the People), co-leader of the Lake Superior Greens, Red Cliff Ojibwe spokesperson for the Midwest Treaty Network Northwest Wisconsin office and was active within the Indigenous Environmental Network. 

               Walt Bresette was the founder of numerous environmental, treaty and cultural groups, including the Lake Superior Greens, Witness for Nonviolence, the Midwest Treaty Network, the Red Cliff Cultural Institute and the Woodland Indian Craft Cooperative. An award-winning writer and radio journalist, he was the co-author of Walleye Warriors. Bresette served on the EPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. He was a prominent activist and spokesperson for environmental justice. 

               The space in this message would be too small to count all the actions, campaigns, protests, initiatives which he accomplished. Often, he worked on several activities at the same time. Let me just recall some of the most relevant events: 

               His greatest political achievement - which has been a major victory for grassroots environmental organizing and traditional Native American activism - was the stoppage of the acid solution mining at the White Pine copper mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in 1996/97. The mining project was finally stopped by an extremely successful train blockade at Bad River Ojibwa Reservation in 1997. 

               In summer 1998, Walt Bresette co-organized the "Protect the Earth Journey Walk", a 320 mile walk from Lake Superior to Wisconsin State Capitol. The walk had left the Red Cliff Ojibwe (Chippewa) Reservation on Wisconsin's 150th anniversary, May 29. The purpose of the walk was to bring public attention to protecting Wisconsin's environment in this Sesquicentennial year. 150 years is the equivalent of seven generations, a time frame used by indigenous peoples for consideration in decision-making. The walk was made to garner support for a Seventh Generation Amendment to the State Constitution (and ultimately the U.S. Constitution) which would protect air, water, and other forms of "common property" from environmental threats such as metallic sulfide mining. 

               Most of his activities are described in the book which he published together with Rick Whaley - "Walleye Warriors" (New Society Publishers, 1994). "This book recounts how a grass-roots-level alliance between Native people and non-Indian supporters has successfully worked in non-violent ways (one of the main ones described is the fishing Witness project) to overcome redneck racism, and more importantly the covert interest and support of those redneck racists (against Native land rights) by large corporations who are or plan to undertake major mining efforts on or near Native lands. Though this book covers a struggle that is particular to the upper Midwest Great Lakes region, and focuses on several Wisconsin Ojibwe tribes there, it is a paradigm or model with applications to Native nations all over the U.S. and Canada, where similar overt racism and covert economic and governmental backing threaten Native lands and environments -- and existing or establishable Native rights" (!citation Paula Giese). 


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