Published May 15, 2018
SAULT STE. MARIE, MICHIGAN – The largest American Indian tribe east of the Mississippi River, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is saying no to Nestlé water products being sold at all of its facilities, which includes its four Kewadin Casinos, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The tribal council passed a resolution to eliminate the sales of Nestlé water products after the State of Michigan–Governor Rick Snyder administration–approved increasing production of water by 150 gallons per minute at its plant in Evart, Michigan. This came after some 80,000 comments were submitted to the state on the issue. Of the 80,000 comments received, only 57 were in favor of the increased extraction of water.
Aaron Payment, chairperon of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
“This decision allows Nestle virtually unchecked authority to extract and sell Michigan groundwater for commercial profit and will have significant detrimental impact not only on our Michigan groundwater but also on its lakes, rivers, and streams and on the treaty protected rights of the tribe and its members to utilize those resources,” the resolution read, in part.
“Under the current eroding regulatory environment, the Snyder Administration has time and again put big business ahead of the welfare of Michigan citizens. Nibi–or our sacred waters–are the blood of our Mother Earth. We must protect it and not prostitute it out to special interests,” comments Sault Ste. Marie Tribe Chairperson Aaron Payment to Native News Online.
Last year, Nestlé old $4.5 billion in bottled water. The company pays a $5,000 fee to the State of Michigan for an environmental permit–with an additional $200 annual fee.
The Sault Ste. Marie, based in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, has some 44,000 enrolled tribal citizens.