Band Supports Fond du Lac in Opposing PolyMet Land Swap


Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin distributed a letter to key federal lawmakers on June 12 supporting the Fond du Lac Band's position against a land transfer to PolyMet Mining.

The letter, addressed to Senators Mitch McConnell, John McCain, James Inhofe, Jack Reed, and Chuck Shumer, requests that the Senate not approve an amendment transferring 6,650 acres within the Superior National Forest to PolyMet Mining, a Canadian-owned company.

"This provision is opposed by Indian tribes across the country, as illustrated by an NCAI resolution and letters from many other tribal leaders," Melanie's letter states.

"As explained by the Fond du Lac Band in its letter, the proposed transfer and the mining it may lead to are within an area subject to treaty-reserved hunting, fishing, and gathering rights. The Mille Lacs Band shares those concerns. The Mille Lacs Band is one of the Indian tribes that hold those rights, and the United States is the trustee of those rights.

"Congress should refrain from any action that would give the perception that it has chosen mining over other uses without regard for the real potential for harm to natural resources."