Citizen Arrested for “Trespassing” on Public Land: Cry Out!

In dark news, our friend Cynthia was arrested this week for “trespassing” (!?) in a public forest parcel on the Yellow Dog Plains, at the sacred Eagle Rock site.  (This is where the global mining conglomerate Kennecott wants to start a controversial sulfide mine — where they want to blast a hole into the sacred Eagle Rock itself, and tunnel underneath the pristine Salmon Trout River).   Note that Cynthia was on Public Lands — yet arrested for “trespassing.”  An insult on so many levels — civil, ecological, judicial and spiritual.  I’ve been incredibly honored to know Cynthia over the past eleven years, and I am fiercely proud of her for resisting Kennecott’s bullying.  All citizens, regardless of their personal feelings about sulfide mining, must recognize that their public access to “public lands” is at risk!  Confronted with a bulldozer, security guards, and police, most people would apologize and leave the site — even if they believed they’d done nothing wrong.  It takes a very strong person to draw a line in the sand, follow their heart, and resist.

Here is a portion of the news article by

….. arrested today for “trespassing” on public land in the Escanaba River State Forest, in northern Marquette County.  Cynthia Pryor planned on visiting Eagle Rock, site of Kennecott Minerals’ proposed “Eagle” mine, to keep an eye on the company’s activities.  She was arrested while sitting on an old tree stump with her dog, Sophie.

She arrived to find Kennecott removing trees and widening a short road leading from the Triple A road to Eagle Rock, where the company plans to blast a portal for the mine. Pryor was confronted by Kennecott security guards who informed her that she was “trespassing” on land leased by the company from the State of Michigan.  Reportedly, Pryor responded that she believed she was not trespassing, as she was on public land and Kennecott lacked a permit to begin construction activities at the site.  Company security made some calls to area law enforcement, reporting Pryor’s presence at the small tract of public forest.

Both state and county law enforcement responded and informed Pryor that she was trespassing and told her to leave.  Pryor refused, reiterating that she was not trespassing, as the site is on public land.

Pryor has been visited in jail by legal counsel.  The Reverend Jon Magnuson, a close friend, attempted to speak with her this evening.  According to Magnuson, while he wasn’t allowed to visit with Pryor, he was able to pass prayers along to her.

“Civil disobedience has a long and noble tradition in American democracy and part of the religious responsibility is to honor and respect that,” said Magnuson.

Many thanks to Jon Magnuson for relaying all our prayers.  The whole situation has me thinking of a poem by Robert Bly, Call and Answer.

Here are the first few lines:

Tell me why it is we don’t lift our voices these days
And cry over what is happening. Have you noticed
The plans are made for Iraq and the ice cap is melting?

I say to myself: “Go on, cry. What’s the sense
Of being an adult and having no voice? Cry out!
See who will answer! This is Call and Answer!”

Read the entire poem (and see a short video of the poet reading his poem) here:

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