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Feb. 5, 2015

Dear Sault Tribe Member:

Greetings on behalf of the Tribal Board of Directors and myself. Below are three items we are summarizing and asking you to please assist us in advocating for our Tribe. One issue deals with the proposed Graymont Mine. This issue requires immediate response, as the Michigan DNR Director will make a decision by Thursday, Feb. 12. Another deals with draft federal legislation to circumvent the right of Michigan citizens who spoke loudly last fall via referendum to halt the wanton and unjustified killing of Gray Wolves in Michigan. The third deals with a huge opportunity we face with full and mandatory funding for Indian Health Services Contract Support Costs.

Support mandatory funding for IHS Contract Support Costs

If President Obama's proposal is approved, it will secure $800 million, $900 million and $1 billion annual funding (FY 2017, 2018, 2019) for Contract Support Costs, which is a sort of fee all tribes receive for administering IHS and Bureau of Indian Affairs programs. We need to ensure our Michigan Congressional delegation supports the President's proposal. Both of our U.S. Senators are supportive, so our efforts really need to be aimed at your Member of Congress. See how to contact your Member of Congress below.

Oppose Gray Wolf Legislation

The Gray Wolf was recently put back on the endangered species list by court order. Congressman, Dan Benishek, supports a bill that would lift existing federal protections for the Gray Wolf under the Endangered Species Act, effectively permitting Michigan and other nearby states to again allow wolf hunting. Recreational hunting as a means to reduce wolf abundance is both ineffective and unnecessary, based on the most recent and credible scientific information. The Gray Wolf is an extremely important cultural species to our Anishinaabeg people. We have witnessed the extermination of this important species from the 1836 Treaty Ceded Territory and, only recently, its slow recovery thanks to the protections of the Endangered Species Act. We understand the need for citizens to protect their livestock, property and pets from wolves that have been habituated to human dominated landscapes. The most effective course of action is to consider down-listing wolves to threatened status in Michigan with rules to allow the US Fish and Wildlife Service to allow lethal control in certain situations. This can be accomplished in the manner provided by the Endangered Species Act. Please contact your Congressional Representatives and tell them to reject this bill. See how to contact your Member of Congress below.

Oppose the Graymont Limestone Mine Proposal

Sault Tribe calls on the Michigan DNR to reject Canadian mining company Graymont Inc.'s request to mine limestone on 10,000 acres of state-owned land in the Upper Peninsula near Rexton. This interferes with our right to hunt, fish and gather in our 1836 Treaty Ceded Territory. Families both Native and non-Native have hunted there for generations. The environmental consequences are not well understood. Economic benefits are vague and Graymont has no business plan. This deal also sets a precedent where those who have enough money and can influence elected officials can purchase vast tracts of state land to further their personal interests. The rights of Michigan citizens who use and enjoy this large area shouldn't be traded for vague promises of economic prosperity. Please email the DNR This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to express your opposition.

To download a sample letter for the Graymont issue, or find out how to contact your Member of Congress or State Representative, please go to: http://www.saulttribe.com/newsroom/legislative or click on the Aciton Alert Button to the right!

Please help us help our Tribe by writing to your representatives on these matters.

Gtchi Miigwech,

Aaron A. Payment, Chairperson
Cathy Abramson, Unit I
Kim Gravelle, Unit I
DJ Hoffman, Unit I
Jennifer McLeod, Unit I
Dennis McKelvie, Unit I
Lana Causley, Unit II
Catherine Hollowell, Unit II
Keith Massaway, Unit III
Bridgett Sorenson, Unit III
Denise Chase, Unit IV
Darcy Morrow, Unit IV
Rita Glyptis, Unit V

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY