Given the constant brutality being used against Water Protectors in Northwestern Minnesota, it seems appropriate that the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination would get involved eventually.
On August 25th, the UN’s High Commissioner on Human Rights issued a letter to the United States government, laying out the abuses committed against the Anishinaabe people endured as they’ve resisted the construction of Line 3 for the last seven years on their own land. Even when you know all of the stories, it’s still jarring to see everything so cleanly laid out in one place.
The letter concludes by inviting the United States government to respond by October 21st:
Accordingly, the Committee would like to request the State party to provide information on the above allegations as well as on the measures taken to:
(a) Fully and adequately guarantee the right to consultation and to fulfil the requirement of free, prior and informed consent of the Anishinaabe indigenous peoples with regard to the “Line 3” project, as well as information on steps taken to suspend the project until such consultations have taken place and free, prior and informed consent has been obtained;
(b) Prevent any adverse impact of the “Line 3” project on the livelihood and the rights of the Anishinaabe indigenous peoples, including on the environment, their right to health and to their culture;
(c) Guarantee the right of the Anishinaabe indigenous peoples to an effective remedy with regard to possible violations of their rights in the context of the permission and construction of the “Line 3” project;
(d) Prevent violence against indigenous women and of excessive use of force against protesters, in particular those belonging to the Anishinaabe indigenous peoples.
On August 27th, a massive rally was held in St. Paul, Minnesota at the State Capitol by “water walkers” to protest Line 3 construction. From the always excellent Unicorn Riot:
Thousands converged on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds on August 25 to demand that construction on the contentious Line 3 tar sands pipeline be stopped. A massive police response greeted the water protectors who held ceremony, set tipis up and attempted to occupy the area after the permitted Treaty Not Tar Sands Rally. On Friday, August 27, after surrounding a tipi, hundreds of State Troopers made arrests, forced the tipi down during ceremony, and forced the removal of sacred fire.
On Wednesday, many attended the large permitted rally where ‘water walkers’ were greeted on the Capitol grounds that lasted until nightfall when hundreds of water protectors occupied the south lawn throughout Wednesday night. Numerous Indigenous elders, elected officials, organizers, activists, and water protectors spoke about their opposition to Line 3.
‘Water (nibi) walkers’ walked 256 miles from from the Mississippi Headwaters during the month of August and arrived at the Capitol on the 25th, culminating in a large gathering. The water walk was to call attention to the harms they say the pipeline will cause on the rivers, lakes, water, and way of life of the Anishinaabe people.
An astonishing 14 water walkers made the entire journey on foot. While the event ended with a few arrests, it was much less nasty treatment than what we’re used to seeing from police in Hubbard County. Presumably, they weren’t getting payouts from Enbridge (which have now surpassed two million dollars).
On the other hand, Unicorn Riot also threw in this disturbing line at the end like it’s nothing:
The next day, hundreds of water protectors unsuccessfully attempted to speak to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz at his residence in St. Paul. Over 60 were arrested by police.
60 people seems like a lot. I hope the UN is watching.