In 1990, Earth First! occupied Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest’s Fairview timber sale area for 79 days – at that time the longest occupation in EF! history. The area slated to be cut was rich in biodiversity, a haven for songbirds and loved by the many locals who went there to watch the birds, camp or enjoy nature.
The major daily newspaper in Springfield, IL, the state’s capital, called the Earth First! occupation “a popular uprising.”
The Biscuit (1990)
Woman with monkey wrench atop buried Chevrolet Biscayne, nicknamed “The Biscuit,” in a car blockade of the Fairview timber sale in the Shawnee. The car blocked the entrance to the Shawnee National Forest during the EF! occupation. The car blockade was a replica of a photo taken during the then-ongoing “Oka Crisis.” Photo: Langelle
According to the Canadian Encyclopedia,
The Oka Crisis was a 78-day standoff (11 July–26 September 1990) between Mohawk protesters, police, and the army. At the heart of the crisis was the proposed expansion of a golf course and development of condominiums on disputed land that included a Mohawk burial ground. Tensions were high, particularly after the death of Corporal Marcel Lemay, a police officer, and the situation was only resolved after the army was called in. While the golf course expansion was cancelled, and the land purchased by the federal government, it has not yet been transferred to the Kanesatake Mohawk community.
EF!ers in the Shawnee publicly stood in solidarity with the Mohawks and also with Redwood Summer, a major national mobilization to save the last of the ancient redwoods. Earlier that year, EF! Redwood Summer organizer Judi Bari was almost killed when a pipe bomb exploded under the seat of the car she was driving.
From the photo exhibit Struggles for Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights