Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day protects the Namekagon River

Mariah Star Cooper is the seventh generation of Chippewa people living in the Sprinbrook community on the banks of 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.

Gaylord Nelson is welcomed by special people and special gifts


Mariah Star Cooper of Lac Courte Oreilles is the seventh generation of Chippewa people living in the Namekagon River area. She welcomes Gaylord Nelson to the river he loves.Gaylord Nelson welcomed and honored by Mariah Star Cooper of LCOMariah Star Cooper asks Gaylord Nelson to help all people think of protecting the future generations when thinking of the earthMariah Star Cooper welcomes the protector of the Namekagon River Gaylord NelsonMartin Hanson and Buck Barber arrive at the grove to honor Gaylord Nelson

Artist Judy Gosz helps prepare for Gaylord's visitGaylord Nelson is presented with a beautiful handmade quilt that commemorates his protection of the NamekagonQuilt makers Leona Olson, who lives on the ATC line route, and Anna Winton are the quilts makers, along with Candy Shireman, who is not shown, are introduced by Sandy LyonSandy Lyon introduces Superior Broadcast Network producer Nick Vander Puy and DNR former Secretary George Meyer who welcome Gaylord NelsonFormer DNR Secretary George Meyer honors Gaylord Nelson's work. Wisconsin Public Television films the days events.

George Meyer and Gaylord Nelson listen to the drumHonored Mole Lake Vietnam Veteran Jerry Burnett blesses and dances Gaylord Nelson's eagle featherGaylord Nelson's eagle feather is attached to the sacred Water Staff of Mole LakeGaylord Nelson recieves a handmade cane from Andrew Jones who carved it to recognize Gaylord Nelson's love of the earthhundreds enjoy the special day and TV films the occasion for a documentry of Nelson's life


View photo history of events that lead to protecting the river


View the full honor ceremony


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