Hundreds of Native water protectors and supporters from around the country put their bodies on the line to protest and stymie the construction and expansion of the Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Northern Minnesota yesterday. The action kicks off what Treaty People Gathering organizers say will be a summer of resistance against the pipeline sought by Enbridge, a Canada-based fossil fuel multinational. Police forces deployed increasingly aggressive tactics, including buffeting protesters with low-altitude rotor wash from a Border Patrol helicopter and sound cannon. Police in riot gear “broke through the steel fences and they just began arresting everyone,” Tara Houska, a tribal attorney and member of the Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe along the Canadian border, told the New York Times. “This is an act of violence on tribal land.”
Which side are you on?
More than 100 people were arrested, according to the legal nonprofit representing them, and arrests are expected to continue. Native attorneys are pushing President Biden to block the pipeline expansion, seeking to hold him to his word on campaign promises to strengthen equity for Native communities and take action on climate change — Biden cancelled the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline in his first week in office. Actress Jane Fonda held a sign with Biden’s image and the words, “which side are you on?”
The pipeline would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of highly-polluting tar sands crude oil per day through treaty-protected lands where several Ojibwe tribes hold rights to hunt, fish, and gather nutritionally- and culturally-important wild rice — all of which would be imperiled by a leak of the heavy oil carried by the pipeline.The same pipeline ruptured in 1991 and caused the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. (New York Times $, Indian Country Today, MPR, AP)Washington Post $, CBS Local Minnesota, PBS NewsHour, InsideClimate News; Helicopter: Newsweek; Interviews: MSNBC, Jane Fonda and Tara Houska)