#StopLine3: Protests Escalate Over Pipeline Proposed to Cross Through Anishinaabe Lands

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By Quentin Choy

Five years after protests over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) rocked the Dakotas, a similar fight is escalating in neighboring Minnesota.

Line 3 is a pipeline that would send about a million barrels of tar sands per day from Canada through Minnesota and into Wisconsin.

The Anishinaabe people are gravely concerned over the possible construction of Line 3 for a wide variety of reasons.

Firstly, they are concerned over the ecological risk that threatens their ecosystems and water systems should Line 3 spill over in a leak.

According to stopline3.org, Line 3 would pass through untouched wetlands as well as through the Mississippi River. Should a leak occur in the Mississippi River, thousands of Americans would be affected by water polluted by the tar sands.

Continued production of oil pipelines would also exacerbate the climate crisis which has already reared its head this summer in the form of devastating floods and wildfires.

The Dixie Fire in Plumas County and Butte County produces a pyrocumulus cloud. Such a fire cloud forms when scorched air and strong winds within a fire meet moisture in the atmosphere. On July 22, the Dixie Fire surpassed 100,000 acres, becoming the second California wildfire in 2021 to surpass that acreage milestone.

Secondly, the Anishinaabe are concerned over the historical and political threat posed by Line 3.

Should Line 3 be constructed by the company Enbridge, the pipeline would pass through lands held by the Anishinaabe in the White Pine Treaty (1837) and the Treaty with the Chippewa (1855).

The lands that the proposed Line 3 would pass through are protected by treaties as well as several Supreme Court cases including Minnesota v. Mille Lacs band of Chippewa Indians (1999).

Pipelines constructed by Enbridge have leaked before, and the Anishinaabe are concerned that a spill on their lands would destroy medicinal plants as well as wild rice.

Construction of Line 3 would be a violation of Anishinaabe sovereignty.

Protesters in Minnesota have stood up against the construction of Line 3 but have found very few allies in their fight. Governor Tim Walz (D) hasn’t opposed the construction of Line 3, and President Biden also hasn’t expressed opposition.

Protesters have cited Biden’s opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline as a good reason for him to oppose Line 3 as well, calling it “Keystone clone.”

“The federal government should be all over this! They’re doing nothing. Biden’s acting like he canceled one pipeline so he gets a gold star. But you don’t get a gold star from Mother Earth to let Line 3 go ahead. You don’t get a gold star from the planet.”

Winona LaDuke, Ojibwe leader and Indigenous rights organizer
Winona LaDuke

Around 600 people have been arrested during “Stop Line 3” protests, and completion of the pipeline is expected around the end of 2021.


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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. When these pipelines are expected to cross the sovereign territory of any of the tribes there should be requested and granted the tribe’s permission or refusal after a referendum of the tribe by the tribal elders.Since these lands are protected by treaty, the rights of the tribe should be covered by the law. The U.S. Government should not be allowed to breach a lawful treaty at will nsince that abrogates the rights of a Sovereign Nation. Joe Biden should throww this pipeline out and should confirm his commitment to heading off a global disaster by banning these oil operations from U.S.soil.

    1. David, I agree, especially with the exacerbated climate crisis that we have seen over the summer with wildfires and floods. The sovereign rights and treaties of the indigenous lands and people must be protected and honored.


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