Dressed in a ribbon skirt and mask, Tara Houska gazed down at the trickling waters of the Mississippi near its headwaters. The great American river that eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico is just a stream in these parts of northern Minnesota.
A pipeline will soon burrow underneath this part of the Mississippi and its surrounding wetlands. It is one of hundreds of water crossings, including wild rice fields, that lie in the path of a new stretch of Line 3, a pipeline bringing nearly 1m barrels of tar sands a day from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin.
But opposition to the pipeline is considerable, and is supported by environmental organizations and activists resisting pipelines such as the Dakota Access pipeline, and Keystone XL – a project that Joe Biden cancelled on his first day in the White House.
The on-the-ground activists are called “water protectors”, who are against the pipeline because of its impact on the climate crisis, oil spills and infringement on Native treaty rights.
There are numerous sites in Minnesota, along the new Line 3 route, where water protectors have set up camp. Much of the route goes through tribal lands, as well as Minnesota’s iron range and areas popular for recreation, including hunting, fishing and people enjoying the outdoors.
It is a lush, wooded part of the state, thick with birch and pine trees, pristine lakes, rolling creeks and lakes filled with wild rice, an agricultural product that is historically significant to the Ojibwe. Continue reading from The Guardian
The controversial construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) gained national and international attention when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accepted an application filed by Energy Transfer Partners, a Texas-based developer behind the project.
The position of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is that the Dakota Access Pipeline violates Article II of the Fort Laramie Treaty, which guarantees the "undisturbed use and occupation" of reservation lands surrounding the proposed location of the pipeline. In 2015 the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, operating as a sovereign nation , passed a resolution regarding the pipeline stating that "the Dakota Access Pipeline poses a serious risk to the very survival of our Tribe and ... would destroy valuable cultural resources."
To generate momentum for their cause and demonstrate their opposition to the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe organized runs, horseback rides, and marches. Many Native Nations, along with non-Native allies, celebrities, and several politicians supported the movement and travelled to join DAPL protesters at the Sacred Stone Camp on the Standing Rock Reservation. Conditions at the camp became intense. North Dakota law enforcement officials and private guards hired by Energy Transfer Partners clashed with protestors, sometimes violently, and made hundreds of arrests. Continue reading from Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
In the north woods of Minnesota, the mighty Mississippi River looks like a frozen creek. After a bitter February, you can stroll across it with more fear of windburn than thin ice. And if you stroll one particular spot near Palisade, you'll find giant pipe, heavy machines and competing signs. A few read "No trespassing" in block letters. The rest say "Water is life" and "Stop Line 3" in hand-painted colors. It is the latest front in the pipeline wars.
Originally built in the 1960s, the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline snakes 1,097 miles from the tar sands of Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. Of the roughly 340 miles through Minnesota, the replacement pipeline includes new sections and added capacity and is cutting through some of the most pristine woods and wetlands in North America. In little camps along the way, a small-but-growing group of protesters is out to stop them, driven by ancient prophesy and the promises of a new President.
When Joe Biden killed plans for the Keystone XL pipeline within hours of taking the oath, many Native American tribe members and environmentalists saw it as validation for all the cold nights spent protesting another pipeline at Standing Rock. Though they failed to stop the oil now flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline, maybe this was a sign Biden would take their side in the David versus Goliath fight to stop Line 3. And maybe people would finally heed an ancient warning known as The Seven Fires Prophecy.
In Ojibwe tribal lore, an environmental moment of reckoning was predicted in the time of the Seventh Fire, when "the light skinned race will be given a choice between two roads," one green and lush, the other black and charred. A wrong choice, it was warned, would "cause much suffering and death to all the Earth's people." The Ojibwe are of the largest groups of Native Americans north of Mexico with tribal members stretching from present-day Ontario in eastern Canada all the way into Montana. Continue reading from CNN