Tribal fishing tradition tainted by new pollutants

Fishing is a way of life for the Sokaogon (Mole Lake) Band of Lake Superior Chippewa but a new pollutant is causing many to change how they practice their tradition.

Tina and Rick Van Zile now consult a color-coded map to avoid fishing in places with high levels of mercury. "I wouldn't even dream of going to these red ones," Tina Van Zile told The Washington Post.

Steve Tuckwab said he tells tribal elders to exercise caution before eating fish. "I tell them maybe they shouldn't eat that fish because they don't know what lake it's from and how safe it is," he said.

Mercury enters the environment through emissions from coal-fired power plants and other industrial activity. If consumed at high levels, it can cause neurological damage in children and fetuses and can lead to health problems in adults.

Get the Story:
Mercury Warnings a New Part of Tribe's Tradition (The Washington Post 6/12)

Relevant Links:
Sokaogon Chippewa Community - http://www.sokaogonchippewa.com

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