FOND DU LAC – On Tuesday afternoon, two water protectors locked themselves to an excavator laying pipe on an Enbridge worksite near Cloquet, MN. They marched onto the easement with over 50 activists, shutting down construction on the Line 3 tar sands pipeline for much of the work day. The group, led by Anishinaabe warriors from Camp Migizi, then gathered at a sacred site, which has been desecrated by the pipeline’s construction, to pray.
In the words of one of the people who locked themselves to the construction equipment, Charles King, “Our state laws are not working in the public interest and for the public good. We are endangering future generations… and that’s got to stop.” The other water protector locked to the excavator, a Fond Du Lac band member, declined to comment, saying that their actions speak louder than their words.
Since construction began in November of 2020, Line 3 has been met with growing resistance from Indigenous water protectors and allies on the frontlines. Just last night, another water protector who leapt onto a section of pipe suspended over a trench, delayed construction for over seven hours before being extracted by the police.
On the political front, State Representative Ilhan Omar made a visit to the pipeline’s easement on Saturday to stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities resisting the pipeline. Nationally, although President Biden recently revoked key permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, he has not taken a clear stand on Line 3, another tar sands pipeline that would be catastrophic for the climate and Indigenous sovereignty.
Line 3 violates the Treaty Rights of Anishinaabe peoples by endangering critical natural resources in the 1854, 1855, and 1867 treaty areas. It has also been decried by Indigenous communities for its role in the ongoing epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives. This demographic is put at risk for sex trafficking by the presence of “man camps,” the temporary worker housing used for pipeline construction.