Tag Archives: Idle No More

Indigenous Groups in Wisconsin Respond to Washington’s Team Trademark Cancelation

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This poster was put together and shared courtesy of Joe Brusky Photography.

This poster was put together and shared courtesy of Joe Brusky Photography.

“When the status of a Native American is demoted to that of a caricature, we are objectified and diminished as a people. We become entertainment, not fellow citizens. How are you supposed to take me seriously if all you see is the stereotypical image of the Hollywood or sports mascot Indian?”

- Simon Moya-Smith

Wauwatosa, WI - In response to yesterday’s positive Trademark Ruling, canceling Washington’s trademark to the NFL team name R*dskins, representatives from different tribes around the state of Wisconsin showed up at Hart Park in the city of Wauwatosa. They met to celebrate the decision as well as to message brightly that their culture matters.

Their message: “We are #ProudToBe Menominee, Ojibwe, Ho-Chunk, Anishinaabe, Stockbridge-Munsee-Mohican, Oneida, Potawatomi, Bad River, mother, father, sister, brother, veterans, and Wisconsinites, but one thing we are not, is your mascot.”



Iron Mine Resistors March On Site in Penokee Hills

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Penokee Hills, Northern WI - On Sunday, two separate marches crossed the pristine, snow-laden landscape of northern Wisconsin, and converged at the proposed site of the Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) iron mine. Participants walked miles down wintry roads before uniting in opposition to the proposed mine, to the ecological damage it threatens, and to the company’s unsavory collusion with state lawmakers to rewrite Wisconsin’s mining laws in their favor.

The site of the proposed mine stands at the headwaters of the Bad River, where toxic runoff would threaten both the people of the Bad River Tribe and the waters of Lake Superior. The company has recently begun core sampling (video), increasing the urgency of the fight against the project.

The company has claimed an off-limits perimeter around the mine site, and has succeeded in formalizing it via state legislation. However, the gates demarcating this “forbidden zone” were not enough to stop the marchers on Sunday.

The marchers announced their arrival at the gates through music, as young and old alike raised their voices in defense of the Penokee Hills. A group of musicians and Solidarity Sing Along participants led those assembled in several songs, pairing popular melodies with lyrics about the mine. As the songs unfolded, the banners that had led each march were tied to the gates.

Several marchers asserted their right to the land by continuing past the company’s “no trespassing” signs and down the path to the mine’s site. They made clear that they will continue their resistance and will not go away quietly.

Marching to Stop the Penokee Hills from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

The evening before the marchers gathered at the GTAC site, members of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe held their annual Mid-Winter Social and Pow-wow in nearby Hayward. A major focus of the gathering was how to organize against the mine and its life altering, treaty breaking presence in the Penokees. Near the end of the event tribal youth took the stage, holding four different illuminated messages in their native Ojibwe language while the words below were spoken aloud.

Poster courtesy of the Overpass Light Brigade.

Poster courtesy of the Overpass Light Brigade.

Gego moonakeg!
Don’t go digging!

Gego googiibike!

Don’t dive into the metal!


“don’t” when others “do”


How is your path?

12 Issues & Causes The Light Brigade Network Lit Up in 2013

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Here are twelve issues that the The Light Brigade Network gave visibility to in 2013. At the point of this writing, there are 40 Light Brigade affiliates nationally and globally that comprise the Network. Part of the power of this collective of tightly knit brigades is their ability to coordinate actions in sync with national and international campaigns and issues. The following are some of the collaborations that particularly gained traction within the collectivity.

Black Friday Protests

The Light Brigade Network stood peacefully outside of Walmart stores during nighttime Black Friday sales to call on people to support worker rights and question consumerism.

March Against Monsanto

Here are all the groups who participated in the first Light Brigade Actions against Monsanto. Fourteen groups including a brand-new group in Sudbury, Ontario Canada joined the effort. The international movement is fighting against the food giant’s threats to consumer safety, ecological health, and family farmers’ welfare. Monsanto is certainly one of the most malicious corporations on earth, and we hope to help bring visibility to their ongoing crimes against humanity.

The network again came out for the second major March Against Monsanto actions later in the year.


No War With Syria


Four brigades in the network came out to shine their opposition to any military involvement in the Syrian conflict. We were part of a massive “mobilization for peace” that involved hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. The peacemakers, in this small instance, prevailed against the war machine.

ALEC Convention Protests

The People’s Bandwidth shined brightly to enlighten Americans on the take over of their democracy by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), who happened to be holding their National Conference in downtown Chicago. While ALEC’s purchased politicians were once able to attend annual meetings covertly, there is now – thanks to efforts like these – increased visibility to go along with the political purchase price.


Bradley Manning Verdict


When the Bradley Manning verdict was handed down five Light Brigades immediately went out to express solidarity with Manning and discontent with the implacable flexion of the State’s repressive muscle. The little guy, of course, loses – but at least people are watching how the asymmetry of power operates.

Trayvon Martin Verdict

Headed by the NYC Light Brigade’s visit to a Times Square Protest, eight brigades were out with messages in support of justice for the tragic execution of Trayvon Martin. These were very emotional and intense actions within each community and the Light Brigades served as both testimonial and heartfelt vigil.

Wendy Davis Filibuster

When Wendy Davis made her historical filibuster against a regressive bill stripping the reproductive rights of women, messages of support were beamed across the country. We took strength and power from her own courageous marathon, and we in turn hoped to give concrete tokens of our support through direct witness of artful protest.


Defense of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional

Light Brigade groups across the country celebrated on the day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled The Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. This has been stunning to see the change in attitude towards LGBT rights, and it is a powerful lesson to those who might feel disheartened by contemporary intractable stupidity regarding basic human rights.


Boston Marathon Bombing  

When the Boston Marathon bombs exploded, killing innocent bystanders, the Light Brigade Network put aside plans to continue with their week long campaign of “Tax Evaders” actions targeting corporate welfare and instead quickly arranged non-partisan support messages for the victims and those affected by yet another American story of tragic public violence. These vigils are among the most powerful actions that the Light Brigades perform.

Tax Evaders Campaign

The Light Brigade Network was part of a carefully coordinated campaign highlighting major corporate tax evaders during the weeklong build-up to Tax Day. We worked with the Projection Action Network, multiple coordinating groups, and Mollyindustria Radical Game designers for a complex and highly effective week of disruptive and entertaining actions.


Tar Sands Blockade Week of Action

The Tar Sands Blockade organized a week of action where Light Brigades came out to shine their opposition to dirty Alberta tar sands being pumped through a future Keystone XL pipeline. The Light Brigade Network has worked closely with multiple environmental groups in opposition to the destructive toxicity wrought by capitalism’s brutal logic of maximized profit and externalized environmental and social costs. The Light Brigades are proud to play a small part in this massively growing resistance.


One Billion Rising 

A day of action calling for an end to violence against women and girls was the focus of a number of Light Brigade responses. Violence against women is often overlooked within activist communities, and is just as often intertwined with multiple social issues, especially those of poverty, hopelessness and fundamentalist religious conservatism.


Idle No More

The growing Idle No More movement, which works for indigenous rights and land and water protections was represented by multiple Light Brigades in the network, and is interconnected with all of our work on environmental sanity, water quality, respect for life, and disgust with the unfettered arrogance of the global cast of Resource Extractors.

All of the groups and causes above indicate an ongoing commitment towards coalition building as we span both real and metaphoric bridges in an effort to directly engage politics and democracy, and to directly address the seemingly insurmountable catalogue of issues facing our planet in these times.

The Light Brigade Network is:

Milwaukee – Wisconsin, the birthplace of OLB:
Overpass Light Brigade

Bay Area Light Brigade:

Fresno Light Brigade: https://www.facebook.com/FresnoLightBrigade?fref=ts

Overpass Light Brigade- Los Angeles :https://www.facebook.com/OverpassLightBrigadeLA

Overpass Light Brigade – San Diego :https://www.facebook.com/OverpassLightBrigadeSanDiego

Colorado Springs Light Brigade :https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoSpringsLightBrigade

Denver Overpass Light

Occupy Gainesville Light Brigade :https://www.facebook.com/occupygainesville

Tampa Light Brigade :https://www.facebook.com/tampalightbrigade

Orlando Light Brigade :https://www.facebook.com/OrlandoLightBrigade

Occupy Orlando Overpass Light Brigade :https://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Orlando-Overpass-Light-Brigade/543878765663512

Atlanta Light Brigade :https://www.facebook.com/OverpassLightBrigadeAtlanta

Occupy Hilo Light Brigade – Occupy Hilo page:https://www.facebook.com/OccupyHilo

Occupy Maui:

NILB – Northern Illinois Light Brigade :https://www.facebook.com/4NILB

Overpass Light Brigade – Chicago:

Overpass Light Brigade – New Orleans :https://www.facebook.com/Overpasslightbrigadenola

Seacost Overpass Light Brigade:

Light Brigade Maryland :https://www.facebook.com/LightBrigadeMaryland

OLB – Massachusetts :https://www.facebook.com/OverpassLightBrigadeMassachusetts

West Michigan Light Brigade :https://www.facebook.com/WestMichiganLightBrigade


Northwoods Revolution: Minnesota Ogichidaag Light Brigade


Detroit Light Brigade:

New York:
NYC Light Brigade:


Monsanto Light Brigade (New Paltz, NY) :https://www.facebook.com/events/277707969032544/

Corvallis Light Brigade:

Portland OLB :

Overpass Light Brigade OSO (near Salem) :https://www.facebook.com/OverpassLightBrigadeOso

Occupy Harrisburgh Light Brigade:

North Texas Light Brigade :https://www.facebook.com/pages/NTLB-North-Texas-Light-Brigade/124098511097441

OLB – Austin : https://www.facebook.com/OLBAustin
Autonomous Light Brigade : http://autonomouslightbrigade.org/

Occupy Moab, Utah : https://www.facebook.com/OccupyMoabLightBrigade

Backbone Campaign Light Brigade:

OLB – Fox Valley, WI : https://www.facebook.com/OverpassLightBrigadeFoxValley

Penokee Hills Light Brigade (no light on map):

Western Wisconsin Light Brigade (WWLB):

Sudbury Light Brigade:


Light Brigade Cologne / Germany



Overpass Light Brigade: 2013 A Year of Collaborations and Light

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The Overpass Light Brigade was definitely visible in 2013.

The Overpass Light Brigade was definitely visible in 2013.

Milwaukee, WI -  In 2013, the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) worked hard to shed light on issues ignored by the mainstream media. Along with the other 40 affiliates comprising the nationwide Light Brigade Network, OLB is a vivid example of the power of collective action to drive public debate. Eight collaborations this past year between OLB and other groups exemplify the power of the light brigade medium.

350.org/No KXL: Alberta Tar Sands Extraction

This past year, OLB collaborated several times with groups resisting the exploitation of the Alberta tar sands and fighting to address the climate crisis. In one example, OLB joined forces with 350.org to present an illuminated message as part of the nationwide Draw the Line day of action. In another, OLB teamed up with local NOKXL organizers, who are training local people to engage in peaceful civil disobedience to stop the Keystone XL pipeline as part of the nationwide Pledge of Resistance.

Idle No More: Penokee Hills Mine/Sand for Hydraulic Fracking/Water Rights

The growing Idle No More movement, which works for indigenous rights and land and water protections, collaborated closely with OLB in 2013. The two groups organized several events opposing the Penokee Hill iron ore strip mine in northern Wisconsin, sand mining for hydraulic fracking, and the recent creation of a statewide wolf hunt. They also worked together to support indigenous treaty rights and access to water resources.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin: Women’s Rights

This year, Governor Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled Wisconsin legislature attacked women’s rights by passing a mandatory ultrasound bill. This regressive legislation forces women to have the invasive procedure before they can have an abortion. It also mandates that doctors providing abortion services have admitting privileges at a hospital, reducing the number of locations where the procedure may be performed and needlessly forcing women to travel great distances to access services. To pressure legislators, the Holders of the Light displayed messages right in front of the Capitol in Madison. OLB also worked with the group Focus on Jobs, Not Vaginas! to take the fight to the National Governors’ Meeting in Milwaukee.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin asked OLB to make a short film, titled “Be Visible.” This powerful short was directed by Emmy nominee Brad Lichtenstein, and featured the personal stories of woman forced to rely on the vital services of Planned Parenthood in their time of need.

These messages were all held on the Capitol lawn in Madison in July, when the Walker Administration passed his mandatory ultrasound bill.

These messages were all held on the Capitol lawn in Madison in July in solidarity with women across the country, undergoing similar attacks on their reproductive rights.

Solidarity Sing Along: Freedom of Speech

The Solidarity Sing Along, a daily singing protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol, came under attack this past summer. Scott Walker cracked down on the peaceful singers, rewriting a series of administrative rules to force them to get a permit and accept liability for singing in their own statehouse, and then arresting people for noncompliance. Several OLB messages supported the singers and their fight.

Poster and messages created by Overpass Light Brigade.

Poster and messages created by Overpass Light Brigade.

Palermo’s Pizza Workers Union: Labor Rights

Workers continued their year-and-a-half-long strike and boycott against Palermo’s Pizza in Milwaukee, after the company fired and intimidated employees for union organizing activities. They decided to march 18 miles to take their message to the company owner’s home, and OLB stood in solidarity with them.

Milwaukee Teachers: Strengthening Public Education

Teachers continued their fight to improve working and learning conditions in the Milwaukee Public School system. When the School Board refused to negotiate a new contract, the educators worked with OLB to deliver messages directly to School Board directors’ homes, and turned out en masse with lighted letters at public School Board meetings.

Milwaukee Public School educators held this message at the back of a full public School Board meeting in early February.

March Against Monsanto: Food Sovereignty

OLB helped bring visibility to two major March Against Monsanto actions this past year. The international movement is fighting against the food giant’s threats to consumer safety, ecological health, and family farmers’ welfare.

Wisconsin Jobs Now: Fast Food Workers Rights

Fast food workers went on strike several times in 2013, and the Holders of the Light shone boldly in solidarity. Wisconsin Jobs Now, which led the effort to organize workers in Wisconsin, worked with OLB to organize several actions in support of the nationwide strikes.

2013 was a pivotal year for the Light Brigade Network. The group forged new collaborations, tackled fresh issues, and expanded into areas where they had previously had no on-the-ground presence. At the dawn of 2014, they are stronger than ever, and ready for another year of light activism.

Photo credit: Dusan Harminc

Photo credit: Dusan Harminc


Resolution/ Revolution from Overpass Light Brigade on Vimeo.

Groups in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin Collectively Shining Against Wolf Hunting and Trapping

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Idle No More – Wisconsin and the Overpass Light Brigade hold lighted letters spelling messages against the Wisconsin wolf hunt for oncoming traffic to see (photo credit: Light Brigading on Flickr).

The Upper Midwest - One thing we learn from history, is that we never learn from history. The treatment of indigenous groups by Americans over the course of our country’s history has been an abomination to all mankind. Sadly, the trampling of indigenous rights continues today. In Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan indigenous groups are rising up and shining Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) illuminated messages against recent senseless wolf hunting and trapping seasons started in those states. The MA’IINGAN (the wolf) are part of the Anishinaabe (original man) People creation story and considered sacred:

We see the wolf as a predictor of our future. And what happens to wolf happens to Anishinaabe…whether other people see it or not, the same will happen to them…”

-Joe Rose, Bad River Ojibwe Elder


To help fight back, the Anishinaabeg Akkiing people near Duluth, Minnesota established the “Northwoods Revolution Ogichidaag (Warrior) Light Brigade” shining messages on several cold nights against the wolf hunting and trapping seasons started in their state.





This stunning wolf LED lighted icon was designed by Anishinaabe artist, Ken Andrews and certainly catches the attention of any passersby.

Ken Andrews wolf icon is turned into an LED light (photo credit: Susan Oswood).

Ken Andrews wolf icon is turned into an LED light (photo credit: Susan Oswood).

Northwoods Revolution: Minnesota Ogichidaag Light Brigade shine their message over oncoming traffic in Minnesota.

Northwoods Revolution: Minnesota Ogichidaag Light Brigade shine their message over oncoming traffic in Minnesota.

Idle No More Michigan also reproduced the wolf LED icon out of different colored LED lights to take out to places of high visibility as well.




The original Overpass Light Brigade in Milwaukee, Wisconsin took to their local pedestrian overpass bridge to message against the Wisconsin wolf hunt and trapping season that recently opened in the state, collaborating with Idle No More Wisconsin on an action facing Interstate-43 traffic leaving downtown Milwaukee.


Members of the OLB and Idle No More – Wisconsin collaborate on this message for busy I-43 rush hour traffic leaving downtown Milwaukee (photo credit: Light Brigading on Flickr).

As long as tribes are not being consulted on issues affecting wolf management, as clearly stipulated in existing treaties with Wisconsin State Government, all Americans will be complicit in continuing a long tradition of quashing indigenous peoples’ rights in this country. It’s time we break the chain and end the reign of sportsmen special interest groups that have invested and lobbied to make certain they can continue to have their cruel “trapping” and trophy slaughter of the wolf for fun. Thanks to the Light Brigade Network for shining and organizing to bring more attention to these blatant attacks against indigenous rights in this country by powerful and entrenched interests.