You have likely heard the grim news that the Line 3 pipeline is completed to the point where it can now begin operation. StopLine3.org collected statements from many of the Indigenous activists and groups who have been resisting and interfering with the pipeline’s construction over the last seven years.
Here are some excerpts.
Tara Houska reminded us of how much violence Water Protectors endured and how little the political class cared:
This shameful moment marks what the promises of the Democratic Party to listen to climate science look like in action, what it looks like when human beings refuse to open our eyes to the burning world around us and respond with equal urgency.
Over 800 people from all walks of life were arrested here for protecting our land, treaty obligations to tribal nations were once again violated, statutory requirements were cast aside in favor of corporate greed. We were shot at with rubber bullets paid for by Enbridge, police officers in financial relationship with a foreign company used pain compliance on us, we face years in prison for defending the drinking water of tens of millions downstream from Alberta tar sands oil set to flow through the Mississippi River headwaters, 22 rivers, 800 wetlands.
We are not deterred.
Winona Laduke of Honor the Earth released a video statement where she requests an Environmental Impact Statement for Line 3 and points out that the pipeline is currently uninsured. She added in a tweet:
I’m sending out a plea—to @POTUS @JoeBiden, @GovTimWalz, @amyklobuchar, @TinaSmithMN—any leader who will listen.
We need an #EISbeforeOil goes into Line 3. Enbridge got their jobs, they committed their crime. Stop them now before more harm is done.
The Indigenous Environmental Network promised that nothing is over:
It’s with a heavy heart we receive the news that the U.S. has tragically failed once again to honor our treaties and protect the water that sustains all life on Mother Earth. The Line 3 fight is far from over, it has just shifted gears. Do not think we are going quietly into the night, we will continue to stand on the frontlines until every last tar sands pipeline is shut down and Indigenous communities are no longer targeted but our right to consent or denial is respected.
Giniw Collective remains defiant:
F*** Enbridge. F*** the “leaders” that stood by and let our wild rice suffer the status quo of endless greed.
We will not stop standing up for what is right. Land defenders are hope embodied. Giniw Collective has trained over 1000 humans with skills to be a powerful voice for Mother Earth. We have fought tirelessly, selflessly for the millions downstream and built a beautiful community led by Indigenous femmes and two-spirit relatives.
We will train more. We will keep building. We will keep growing.
This is the sentiment that most closely matches my own. The question is what we will build, where will we build it, and to what end?
We knew that Enbridge has paid Minnesota police more than 2.4 million dollars for their services defending pipeline construction and abusing Water Protectors, but The Guardian published a damning report this week proving that Enbridge actively met daily with police, sharing intelligence, planning patrols and making specific requests for the kinds of actions they wanted the police to take against protesters.
The Guardian also notes that Enbridge money went towards more than just equipment and overtime, but meals as well:
The evening of 8 June, the McLeod county officers dined together at the Fireside Inn in Aitkin county. Detective Andrew DeMeyer had buffalo chips and a fiesta salad for $19.15, Deputy Jonathan Robbin had a chicken strip basket, fries and mozzarella sticks for $21.35, Deputy Joshua Fahey had a half chicken with fries for $14.95, and Sgt Billy Kroll enjoyed a bacon cheeseburger, onion rings and two non-alcoholic beers for $22.45. They billed their meals to the Enbridge account.
I don’t know why, but somehow the fact that Enbridge was paying for bacon cheeseburgers feels like adding insult to injury. How dare they?
Tara Houska also published a harrowing letter in Vogue this week, detailing the kinds of extreme abuse committed against Water Protectors in the defense of climate change, denying prisoners proper food, medication, and treatment for injuries. It’s a difficult but important read.