News Release

Indigenous Environmental Network

In the evening of August 3rd, seven Indigenous and allied water protectors were arrested while practicing a traditional ceremony for healing at the site of Enbridge’s recent pipeline spills near the Headwaters of the Mississippi. Enbridge has spilled toxic drilling fluid in at least 4 confirmed accidents at the headwaters of the Mississippi River during construction of their Line 3 pipeline. Water protectors took to the wetlands to pray for the healing of the river and were arrested abruptly during a ceremony by the Clearwater County Sheriff. 

The Line 3 tar sands pipeline threatens hundreds of wetlands and dozens of rivers across Northern Minnesota, violating treaty-guaranteed rights for Anishinaabe people to clean water and wild rice. The last two weeks, water protectors have reported 9 spills of drilling fluid along the route. These spills, often called “frac-outs,” can seriously harm the health of water ecosystems. Meanwhile, Enbridge is continuing construction of the pipeline in defiance of a 48 hour cease and desist order from the White Earth Nation Tribal Government. The letter calls on Enbridge to halt construction activities at the site while tribal members hold a ceremony for the water. Drilling under the sensitive Mississippi wetlands has continued through the night.

Nancy Beaulieu, a Minnesota Chippewa Tribe member, said as she was arrested — “Today we are here to assert our treaty rights, our inherent rights to protect the water and all that is sacred. Line 3 violates the 1855, 1854, and 1863 treaties, and all treaties downstream where people rely on Mississippi. We are calling on the Biden administration to end the continued genocide, honor the treaties, and Stop Line 3.”

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.

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