Tribal Flags at LCO Harvest Camp in Penokee Hills Stolen

By KBJR News 1

July 5, 2013 Updated Jul 5, 2013 at 8:26 PM CST

Mellen, WI (NNCNOW.com) - To some, a flag can hold a lot of meaning, but when that flag is torn down, so is the meaning.

"These flags that were stolen have quite an emotional attachment for people," said Paul DeMain of the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp.

When people at the camp woke up Friday morning between 5 and 5:30, three flags that once hung in front of Harvest camp tucked back in the Penokee Hills, were nowhere to be found.

"I called the sheriff's department and reported the theft of three flags, the LCO Flag, the Bad River flag and the Red Cliff flag," said Mel Gasper who oversees the camp.

The Harvest camp opened in May in protest of Gogebic Taconite's future Iron Ore Mine in the Penokee Hills.

The incident has the peaceful camp looking to make changes.

To ensure an incident like this doesn't happen again, organizers of the camp are going to move the flags away from the road and beef up security.

"We have been in contact with tribal authorities at LCO and Bad River about the possibility of their law enforcement organization and/or conservation organizations making sweeps through here to check on residents and tribal citizens that are harvesting here," said DeMain.

They also say they have County law enforcement on their side.

"We have good standing with local law enforcement. We are just here to exercise our 1842 treaty rights of harvesting and gathering. We run a peaceful camp here and everything has been well up to this point," said Gasper.

Iron County Sheriff Tony Furyk said the department is investigating the incident and hopes to return the flags back to the camp.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson
kanderson@kbjr.com