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News Release

Indigenous Environmental Network

In the face of an alarming new IPCC report, droughts and wildfires, the Biden Administration and Minnesota elected officials face increasingly loud calls to stop the Line 3 tar sands pipeline. (See Winona LaDuke in the New York Times: Biden has betrayed Native Americans.)

In Northern Minnesota, water protectors continued to defend rivers across Northern Minnesota from drilling by the Enbridge corporation to construct the Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline, despite escalating police repression of the movement. More than 700 people have been arrested or cited on the frontlines according to a recent statement from the Pipeline Legal Action Network.

Here are some key moments of Indigenous led resistance to the Line 3 tar sands pipeline from last week:

  • The manoomin, or wild rice, on the White Earth Reservation sued the state of Minnesota in the first "rights of nature" case brought forth to tribal court in the US. The action was filed in the Tribal Court of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota, by Manoomin, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, and several tribal members, to stop the State of Minnesota from allowing the Enbridge corporation to use five billion gallons of water for the construction of the oil pipeline known as “Line 3.” (Read more in the Star Tribune.)
  • As water protectors from the Red Lake Treaty Camp continually tried to halt drilling under the Red Lake River, police brutally arrested 19 people. These arrests follow weeks of violent repression by police around the camp. (Read this recent statement from an Indigenous, two-spirit medic about the Pennington County police’s criminalization of Indigenous ceremony at Red Lake Treaty Camp last month, and the unjust treatment of water protectors in jail.) as Last month, 32 state legislators authored calling on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to disclose details about the numerous drilling-related spills from Line 3 construction which have not yet been released.

  • Seven people were arrested as water protectors assembled to pray for the water at the Mississippi River headwaters where Enbridge has repeatedly spilled drilling mud. Last month, 32 state legislators authored a letter calling on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to disclose details about the numerous drilling-related spills from Line 3 construction which have not yet been released.

  • Several stories of police brutality on the Line 3 route came to light. River, a journalist and videographer, shared their story of being targeted as media and arrested in a violent chokehold by Aitkin County police earlier this summer. Tara Houska was interviewed by Democracy Now! about the brutalization of water protectors with rubber bullets and tear gas last month. Jill Ferguson, dubbed the “badass grandma,” sustained injuries during a violent arrest last month at the headwaters. As outcry about the brutality grows, a “Minnesota Law Enforcement Agency Blocks Release of Public Records about Surveilling Pipeline Opponents,” from The Intercept.
  • Honor the Earth in partnership with Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), renowned artists, donors, and movement leaders, launched an advertising campaign including a full page print ads in the New York Times and Minneapolis Star Tribune and online ads, calling on President Biden and Jaime Pinkham of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to stop the Line 3 pending a full Environmental Impact Statement. More than 20,000 people have contacted Jaime Pinkham, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, and Gina McCarthy, White House Climate Advisor, via the www.weprotectthewater.org website. 

Major upcoming events: 

  • Ongoing: Media are invited to cover the Treaty People Walk for Water on their journey across Minnesota until August 7 - 25th. (Find details & press contacts here).

About Indigenous Environmental Network

Established in 1990, the Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. Indigenous Environmental Network’s activities include empowering Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.

Learn more here: ienearth.org