Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day protects the Namekagon River

Nelson honored by tribes and supporters for boldly protecting the earth and preserving the Wild and Scenic Namekagon River for the future generations

In the spring of 2003 Gaylord Nelson returned to the river banks of the beautiful river he had personally protected while serving as the US Senator from Wisconsin. He was joined by hundreds of supporters, both Indian and non-Indian, who honored him with ceremony, an honor dance and the highest honor in Indian Country, the feather of the sacred eagle.

The day was a high point in Gaylord Nelson's long and honorable life.



Mole Lake Sokaogon Judge Fred Ackley and his wife Fran Van Zile, lead Ochitchi Da Kwe and Keeper of the Water Staff load the sacred pipe for offering prayers for the day Gaylord Nelson smokes the sacred pipe LCO Youth Drum honors the veterans Drum Keepers heat the drums to ready for the drumming. It makes the drums sound really fine. prayers are spoken to help guide the days honoring ceremonies
Mole Lake Sokaogon Drum honors Gaylord Nelson with the Eagle Song and an eagle flew overhead following the river and circling the amazed crowd LCO elder Buck Barber leads Gaylord Nelson in his honor dance   George Meyer dances in Gaylord Nelson honor dance all join in the honor dance for Gaylord Nelson
Gaylord Nelson's honor dance LCO Chippewa elder Buck Barber leads Gaylord Nelson in honor dance Gaylord Nelson is grateful for the honor dance for him by the Chippewa Tribes Fran Van Zile explains the eagle feather that Gaylord Nelson is presented with Vietnam Veteran Jerry Burnett of Mole Lake dances and blesses Gaylord Nelson's eagle feather to the Mole Lake Sokaogon Drum


View photo history of events that lead to protecting the river


View photos of the Namekagon River


  To learn more about why these Indian and non-Indian people came together to protect a river and their future generations, click here. 

 To read Gaylord's May 2004 statement to the National Parks Service opposing the crossing of the Namekagon River by the 345,000 volt transmission line, click here to read the pdf file