No Respect: Michigan Governor uses state song to promote mining; as tribe, others sue to block “acid mine”

Upper Peninsula Swan Song: As state continues its betrayal of the pristine northwoods, the Governor and Hollywood use song to promote Upper Peninsula mining


Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and a Hollywood director are using her website to promote an official state song for Michigan – and the song’s ONLY comment about the beautiful and pristine Upper Peninsula glorifies mining.

More on that in a moment.

As expected, the state of Michigan continues to betray the sacred trust it has to protect the Upper Peninsula environment.

According to media reports, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is expected to approve permits for the first of dozens of sulfide mines that will soon pepper the northern Michigan landscape.

However, the MDNR decision on those permits has been delayed until at least the February meetings of the Natural Resources Commission.

Let’s hope the media reports are not true and the MDNR will have the guts to say “no” to Kennecott Minerals at its Eagle Mine Project near lake Superior that is guaranteed to produce sulfuric acid as part of its unproven technology.

These “acid mines” are expected to be followed by uranium mining – effectively ruining the tourism industry here in Michigan’s northwoods.

In December 2007, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved permits for the experimental technology for the Eagle Mine near Lake Superior.

If the MDNR follows suits, about the only hope left for stopping this mine is the EPA and a judge because several groups including the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community are suing in an effort to block this first “acid mine.”

Here are great background stories on the acid mining future facing the U.P.

“In These Times” story on acid mine

Read about effects of Acid Mine Drainage

Save the Wild UP

By the way, Indigenous groups are also fighting a nuclear nightmare out west at Yucca Mountain:

The Michigan Earth keepers believe everyone can make a difference and here’s a list of ten easy ways to do your part to protect environment from Stop Global Warming group:


The Great State Song-gate in the Great Lakes?:

Are Michigan’s governor – and a Hollywood director – engaged in subliminal advertising using a version of the state song for controversial acid mine that threatens the pristine northwoods?

I ask this question – tongue-in-cheek.

I doubt it’s a super conspiracy but it definitely is dirty pool at a time when so many northern Michigan residents are preparing to take an acid bath and mourning the loss of our environmental innocence.

But it seems strange to me that these two – Governor Granholm and Hollywood director Jeff Daniels – are backing a song that only hails one thing about the Upper Peninsula – and that is mining.


Both have remained quiet about the deadly serious issue that will have lifelong impact on the pristine northwoods as these mines pop up everywhere followed by uranium mining.

I have long criticized Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and actor/director Jeff Daniels for not joining the thousands who oppose the proliferation of sulfide “acid” mines in the Upper Peninsula.

Info on subliminal messages from Wikipedia:

At issue is a controversial sulfide mine near Lake Superior that will lead to dozens of similar nickel (and dime) projects and likely will ultimately open the ground to uranium mining in the pristine Michigan northwoods.

An unsubtle message in the Michigan state song or a minor mining coincidence?:

Is an old Hollywood trick the latest act being used by pro-mine supporters and directed by Michigan’s Governor under the tutelage of famous director/actor Jeff Daniels?


 Now I ask – is Governor Granholm – Michigan’s top democrat – engaged in subliminal advertizing for this mine – or is one of her last official acts for 2007 – just a coincidence? And why does the only line the in the “state song” that refers to the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) seem to glamorize mining?

Crazy you say?

Surely Michigan’s Governor would not choose this time to sing praises of mining while ignoring the other attributes of the glorious U.P.

Well, I would agree if not for the fact that the governor’s own website admits there is a “more suitable” version of the song for peacetime.

Maybe she’s promoting the war version because of Iraq.

By deduction, that means the Governor is promoting a less “suitable” version – on her official state website – that is being sung by actor/director Jeff Daniels.

I wonder why this song – that Governor Granholm loves so much – only mentions the Upper Peninsula in passing – and why the only great thing about the U.P. that is mentioned is mining.


Surely there are prettier things in the Upper Peninsula to sing about than our mines – especially if it’s the “unofficial state song.”

So enamored with the U.P. mining song and with Jeff Daniel’s version – Governor Granholm has posted a link to his version on the official state website:

Wikipedia on Michigan, My Michigan


Governor Granholm – in a crescendo of praise – says of Mr. Daniels:

“As the temperature continues to drop and we prepare for another Michigan winter, there will be days when we look out of our windows and marvel at the beauty of this place we call home,” says Governor Granholm apparently searching for her autograph book.


Swooning in Da Moonlight : Da Gov Goes GaGa over Dandy Daniel’s Ballad:

“There will also be days when we look out of the same window and see a cold and gray place. To help you through those days, take a moment to listen to Jeff Daniels sing Michigan, My Michigan,” proclaims Governor Granholm.

On the Governor’s website – apparently posted just before Christmas – are the lyrics for three versions of “Michigan, My Michigan.” The versions are from 1862, 1886 , 1902.

The lyrics in question are in the second line in the song (again the only line in entire state song that even hints that the Upper Peninsula exists) that describes mining in a shining good light and sung to a Christmas tune (O Tannenbaum/O Christmas Tree).

Here is the exact phrase – you judge:

From Saginaw’s tall whispering pines

To Lake Superior’s farthest mines,

Fair in the light of memory shines

Michigan, my Michigan.

An 1886 version of the same war song – again the second line – states:

“jewels glitter in thy mines” but without the Lake Superior U.P. reference.

Dat’s the name of that tune:

Still swooning over Jeff Daniel’s version – Governor Granholm tells the state’s residents about his version of “Michigan, My Michigan.”

“I find this song a helpful reminder of all of the many reasons we are so fortunate to live here,” says the star struck governor.

Michigan State Song Debacle: Dissing a song – once voted upon

Governor Granholm weighs in on old debate – endorsing song she wants to represent the state.

Wikipedia on “diss” songs

If those three versions of the song don’t leave your toes tapping – the Governor’s website describes yet another – different but similar – song that at one point at least captured the imagination of the then-Governor Frank D. Fitzgerald and the 1930s legislature.

The1933 song – entitled “My Michigan” – was officially described by state lawmakers “as an official song of the State of Michigan” but not “the” official state song.

“Note the care that the Senate took not to name it as “the” official song of Michigan,” states Governor Granholm’s state website – going the extra mile several times to proclaim it’s not Michigan’s official state song.

While Fitzgerald may have liked that version – Governor Granholm apparently prefers the version she promotes: “Michigan, My Michigan.”

Granholm’s website states:

QUOTE – “Michigan, My Michigan” has long been considered Michigan’s unofficial state song. Another song, “My Michigan,” has been all but forgotten except in the records of the Michigan Legislature. – END QUOTE.

By the way, Governor Frank D. Fitzgerald, not related to namesake of infamous Lake Superior iron ore boat that sank – was the first and only Michigan governor to die in office and one of only two Michigan governors to serve non-consecutive terms.

Wikipedia on Gov. Fitzgerald

Dire Straights above the Straits of Mackinac

Both Governor Granholm and actor Daniels have proclaimed their undying love for their homestate, yet have not lifted a finger to rescue the U.P. at its more dire straits.

It seems we can’t get them to join the fight against the mine – and that shall be their legacy here in the U.P.

But maybe – the pair could spend some quality time along Lake Superior and think up some lyrics for our state song that truly describe the beauty and attributes of the now-pristine Upper Peninsula.

I recommend they do this before the acid mining boom forever changes our landscape. By the way – “Tuebor” is the biggest boldest word on the undisputed official Great Seal of Michigan – unchanged since 1911.

Michigan SOS on “Tuebor”

Tuebor,” means, “I will defend” in Latin.

Please – Governor Granholm – there are thousands of us in the Upper Peninsula who could use some of that protection right about now as we fight for our way of life against a behemoth mining company.

Or do you have better things to do than oppose this acid mine?

Finally – the more research I did on the state of Michigan song and seal – the more insignificant the U.P. appears.

Quite a land deal for Michigan and future Secretary of State (SOS):SOS outlines why we in da U.P. need help – and don’t often find it below the bridge:

Here is what the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) Terri Lynn Land has to say about us Yoopers (slang for an Upper Peninsula resident) – rather bluntly – on her website about the other words on the state’s Great Seal:

QUOTE – “Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice” means, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” It is believed this refers to the Lower Peninsula.

The Upper Peninsula was added in 1837, to pay for the loss of a strip of land on our southern border, given to Ohio when Congress made Michigan a state. – END QUOTE

It seems to me the Lower Peninsula for quite a deal for that “stip of land” – the entire Upper Peninsula that most anyone will tell you is by far the best part of Michigan.

Now I understand why some Yoopers have joked about seceding from the state of Michigan – and why those who live below the Mackinac Bridge are sometimes called “trolls.”

How the Upper Peninsula became the ultimate spoils of a verbal war:

Wikipedia info on Toledo War on Upper Peninsula spoils of that war

The Great Seal Act threatens jail for use of state symbols

Would if I could – but I can’t – so I won’t:

For the record, in describing our state seal – and coat of arms – I wanted to include a a copy of the seal.

But I can’t – under threat of arrest – from the SOS – who warns: “No facsimile or reproduction of the Great Seal can be used in a manner unconnected with official functions of the state. (MCL 2.45)

A person who violates any provision of the Great Seal Act is guilty of a misdemeanor (MCL 2.46).

All this anti-Upper Peninsula stuff is way too “dark and dreary” for me, besides I’m too busy fighting this acid mine to worry about Michigan State Police “a rap tap tapping (or kicking in) at my chamber door.”

“Whatcha gonna do?” – To quote the Bad Boys “official song” of the Cops TV show.

As the choir prepares the swan song to northern Michigan’s beauty, tourism and innocence, we who love a natural northern Michigan will continue fighting the good fight.

Tho the last rites to northern Michigan tourism are not far away and funeral services are being planned.

I leave you with the appropriate lyrics and from original meanings of “Swan Song.” Wikipedia on “Swan Song” background

“Farewell, all joys! O Death, come close mine eyes!”

“More Geese than Swans now live, more Fools than Wise.”

“The wild swan’s death-hymn took the soul

Of that waste place with joy

Hidden in sorrow: at first to the ear

The warble was low.”

About yoopernewsman

I am a news reporter, writer and investigative journalist and began my career about 40 years ago as a young teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during the middle of high school. I'm a news reporter, writer & investigative journalist specializing in street news, plus Indigenous, civil rights & environment reporting. Currently volunteer media advisor for numerous American Indian & environment related nonprofits that include the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, AZ & its executive director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI) in Marquette, MI & its many projects founded by Rev. Jon Magnuson, Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI, Celtic Christianity Today (CCT) founded by Rev. Dr. George Cairns, the Turtle Island Project founded by pastors Hubbard & Cairns. In its third summer, the CTI Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project & its volunteers built a16-foot geodesic dome solar-powered greenhouse that was built in this summer at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in an effort to restore native species plants to northern Michigan. It's located at the tribe's Natural Resources Department north of L'Anse along Lake Superior. During the summer of 2010, Zaagkii Project teens built & painted 25 beautiful reliquaries that are boxes made from pine & cedar that are used to store seeds for planting & included samples of Native American medicine including sweetgrass, cedar, sage & tobacco. From April-June 2009, I promoted the EarthKeeper Tree Project that planted 12,000 trees across northern Michigan. Co-edited "Unafraid," the second book by Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI that was printed in May 2009 based on her father's handwritten sermons she found in shoebox. I edited numerous videos for nonprofit CCT. Began career 35 years ago as teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during middle of high school. I was co-coordinator of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by local media who didn't report anything positive about the music icon. Mr. Terence Dicks was the other co-coordinator & most recently served as chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission and serves on the Georgia Clients Council. Mr. Brown taught us to "fight the good fight" by battling all forms of racism & evil while not uttering a bad word about those who try to block justice, respect, fairness & kindness to all. As a child, I lived in the Harbert, Michigan home built by late poet Carl Sandburg, where the legendary author penned some of his greatest works including his Chicago works & Lincoln papers. The four-story home had a sundeck on the top & a cool walk-in safe in the basement. The neighborhood (Birchwood) has numerous cottages used for other purposes by Sandburg like the milk house where they milked goats. My parents remodeled fourth floor of the home that stands atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes/bluffs. They found items that belonged to Mr. Sandburg concealed in the walls including prescription bottles with his name, reading glasses, & a small, thin metal stamp with his name. I've worked for dozens of newspapers & radio & TV stations in GA & MI. I'm volunteer media advisor for several interfaith environmental projects involving Native Americans across Upper Peninsula of MI including the Turtle Island Project, The Zaagkii Project, the Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative, EarthKeeper Initiative & the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project. The Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project restores bee & butterfly habitat to help pollination of plants following death of billions of bees. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth & Marquette teens built butterfly houses, planted/distributed 26,000 native plants to help pollinators. The Earth Healing Initiative assisted EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge. EHI helped organize interfaith participation across eight states for the 100 plus recycling projects (April 2008) involving recycling millions of pounds of electronic waste & proper disposal of millions of pills/pharmaceuticals. EPA goals were exceeded by 500%. Under an EPA grant, EHI provided free media services for the cities/groups/tribes including videos & press releases. The EarthKeeper environment projects include an annual Earth Day Clean Sweep (2005-2007) at 24 free drop-off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan that collected over 370 tons of household hazardous waste. The 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep collected over one ton of drugs plus $500,000 in narcotics in only three hours. Some 2,000 residents participated & many brought in pharmaceuticals for their family, friends & neighbors. In 2006, 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones & other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons & vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project teaches teens to respect nature & themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to remote lakes & streams in northern Michigan to plant/care for wild rice. The teens test water quality to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. The Turtle Island Project was co-founded in July 2007 by Rev. Lynn Hubbard of Rock Point, AR (Ex. Dir. of the Navajo Lutheran Mission) & Rev. Dr. George Cairns of Chesterton, IN, United Church of Christ minister & research professor for the Chicago Theological Seminary. TIP promotes respect for culture & heritage of indigenous peoples like American Indians. TIP is a platform for American Indians to be heard unedited by whites. Rev. Hubbard says whites don't have the knowledge or right to speak on behalf of Native Americans. I specialize in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops & courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the books "Illusions" & "Jonathon Livingston Seagull." Love to fish, hunt, camp & skydive. Belong to Delta Chi national fraternity. I was active in Junior Achievement, band played cornet. With my dear friend, the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, we were the co-coordinators of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by the local media who found no reasons to print or report anything positive about the music icon. I am honored to help the human rights activist Terence Dicks - with some of his projects including the nonprofit Georgia Center for Children and Education - and the economic initiative he founded titled "Claiming A Street Named King." I am the volunteer media advisor for several environmental projects across Michigan's Upper Peninsula including EarthKeeper II - an Initiative of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI. EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Goals: Restore Native Plants and Protect the Great Lakes from Toxins like Airborne Mercury in cooperation with the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, 10 faith traditions and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Previously known as the Earth Keeper Initiative - that project included many environmental projects including an annual Earth Day Clean sweep at two dozen free drop off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan. The target of the 2007 Earth Keeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep are all kinds of medicines. In 2006, some 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones and other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project taught at-risk teens (just sentenced in juvenile court) to respect nature and themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to very remote lakes and streams in northern Michigan to plant and care for wild rice. The teens conducted water quality and other tests to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. I have always specialized in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops and courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the book "Illusions."
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