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E-M:/ More on Walt Bresette

Enviro-Mich message from David Allen <dallen@nmu.edu>


Nobody else plunged in on E-M, so let me blatantly steel what others on the
west end wrote:


E-Mail about Walt Bressette

Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 18:15:30 EST
From: Goblinfern@aol.com
Subject: Walt Bresette passes on

Our friend, fellow warrior and inspirational leader Walter Bressette passed on
this morning, 2/21/91, of a heart attack, at the age of 51. He was with
friends in Duluth.

There will be a funeral service for Walter at Red Cliff on Wed. Feb. 24. I do
not yet know any details. Please call Sandy Lyon  715-766-2725 for
information. We will update you as we hear.

We'll keep folks posted about the possibility of a Milwaukee/Madison area
gathering to honor Walt.

In sadness,


Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 18:49:31 -0600
From: Zoltan Grossman <mtn@igc.apc.org>
Subject: Walt Bresette
To: wisc-eco <wisc-eco@igc.apc.org>

"He was like the north star," a friend says, " He held up the sky over
northern Wisconsin and the people followed him."

Walt Bresette, an Anishinabe peace and justice advocate died this morning
Feb. 21 from a heart attack while he was visiting some friends in Duluth.  A
member of the Loon Clan, the 51-year-old Red Cliff Chippewa defended
treaty rights and fought to prevent metallic sulfide mining, and to prevent
acid from a mining operation being shipped across northern Wisconsin.

Bresette was a US Army veteran.  He was a co-founder of the
Witness for Nonviolence, Midwest Treaty Network,
Anishinaabe Niijii, Lake Superior Greens, Wisconsin Greens,
and was an inspiration to many others.

He was an elegant speaker and writer. Walt Bresette along with Rick Whaley
wrote  "Walleye Warriors: An Effective Alliance Against Racism and for the
Earth"  The book tells the story about the interracial alliance that rose
up in the 1980s at Wisconsin boat landings  to protect Chippewa
spearfishing, sovereignty, the land, and the water.

Walter and his wife Cass Joy ran a native crafts and art business the Buffalo
Bay Trading Company on the Red Cliff Chippewa Reservation until  a few
years ago.  Their children are Claudia, Katie, and Robin.

At a meeting in Tampa, Florida during the 1980s,  Walt
received a special gift. The gift came from an alert and agile old woman.
It was the war club belonging to the Sauk leader Black Hawk  who more
than a hundred and fifty years ago fought the US Army trying to move him
and his people from their homeland.

Walt Bresette carried Blawk Hawk's war club to the ceremonies, to the boat
landings, to the mining protests, and to the schools and churches  until
his death Sunday morning.

There will be a wake at Red Cliff on Tuesday evening feb. 23,
and a funeral on Wednesday Feb. 24.  We do not yet know the
time or place, but will post a message to this list as soon as we do.

Sandy Lyon


From: "Bob Olsgard" <bolsgard@spacestar.net>
Subject: Walt Bresette, a Voice for Lake Superior is Gone
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 20:10:40 -0600

Friends of Lake Superior,

Today Lake Superior lost a good friend.  Walt Bresette, ardent voice for
clean water, sovereignty and justice died of a heart attack in Duluth,

In the coming days, we will share our memories of the brilliant light he
brought into our world.  Here, in his own words, is a short sketch of his
life, his work and his family, which he wrote in the fall of 1996.

Biographical Sketch: Walt Bresette

October 1996 - 715/779-5071

He is a Lake Superior Chippewa from the Red Cliff Reservation in northern
Wisconsin where he works out of his home. He is best known as a community
activist with a special focus on native rights, environmental concerns and
cross-cultural alliance building. He is currently the part time coordinator
of the Lake Superior Alliance - a group concerned with economic
sustainability, environmental threats and cultural diversity of the Lake
Superior basin. 

In 1994 he and co-author Rick Whaley won the Wisconsin Writer's Council
booklength non-fiction award for "Walleye Warriors: An Effective Alliance
Against Racism and For the Earth." The book documents the turbulent times
over spearfishing rights in northern Wisconsin during which Bresette helped
found the Witness for Non-violence and the Midwest Treaty Network. He is
currently compiling essays about mining issues in the region.

He is also working with award-winning radio producer Dick Brooks in a CPB
public radio project called "All My Relations." In it he travels around the
U.S. and Canada talking with people about fundamental values of life and
the land. He and Brooks have collaborated on other radio projects; he is
one of the founding board members of WOJB Public Radio.

As a result of his now two decades of activism he has become a sought out
lecturer and trainer. In recent years he has lectured at most major
universities and has an ongoing contract for agency training about native
and cultural issues. 

His most recent activity has focused on concerns of a large copper mine at
White Pine, Michigan. He's challenged the decision to test new technology
called "solution mining" at this cavernous abandoned mine which he
describes as a "leaky toxic 11 square mile hole in the ground five miles
from Lake Superior." He resigned in protest as a citizen member/advisor to
the US EPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council when the
agency went forward and authorized the acid mine project. He was also
instrumental in blockading the rail line which was transporting the acid to
White Pine. And recent hearings by EPA on this project are directly
attributable to the train blockade and other issues raised during the protest.

Bresette has established many alliances and lists the following as active
affiliations: The Lake Superior Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental
Network, Arctic to Amozonia, the W.A.T.E.R. Campaign, Anishinabe Niijii
(mining watchdog group), Midwest Treaty Network and Witness for
Non-violence, and the Waub Ojeeg Institute for Cultural Preservation. He
also remains the public/media liaison for the Anishinabe Ogitchida.

He is the survivor of two failed marriages with four children - Nicholas,
Claudia, Katy and Robin Walter Bresette - the latter three in joint custody
with their mom Cass Joy. He goal is to turn his family property at Red
Cliff into a hospitality grounds as well as a site for multi-cultural
gatherings, trainings and fun.

Walt Bresette, Route 1, Box 117, Bayfield, WI 54814 


Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 20:19:07 -0600
From: Jeff Peterson <peterson@win.bright.net>
Subject: Re: Walt Bresette


   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

   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

   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

   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 fenceclimbers had not intended to
keep the flag, only to safeguard it until its rightful owners could be

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

Jeff Peterson
Luck, WI


Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 09:28:19 -0600
From: Zoltan Grossman <mtn@igc.apc.org>

There has been a change in the plans for Walt Bresette's funeral at Red 
Cliff.  The wake has been changed from Tuesday to Wednesday; the funeral 
from Wednesday to Thursday.

at 7 pm at the Elder Center.  Take Hwy. 13 north from Bayfield.  Across
from the casino, take a gentle right onto Blueberry Road.  Go about a 
mile to Butterfield Road (the 2nd road), take a right and go a couple of 

at the Catholic Church in Red Cliff. From Blueberry Road take a hard 
right after 50 feet;  a right on Church Corner Road, and go up the 
slight incline.  THE TIME HAS NOT YET BEEN SET, but will be set later 
this morning.  (We wanted to immediately get out the change in days so 
people could ask for time off work.)

We will NOT send out a new e-mail with the time.  Plan for a late 
morning funeral.  Later today (Monday) you can call the Midwest Treaty 
Network Hotline toll-free at 800-445-8615, or log on
The time will be posted there.


Walt's family is also lighting a fire at his home, about one mile north 
of Red Cliff on Highway 13.  We have received many condolences from many 
of the groups and individuals that Walt has inspired across North 

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