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Minnesota: Thousands demand end to the Line 3 oil pipeline

By Austin Dewey |
August 28, 2021
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Protest against Line 3.
Protest against Line 3. (Kim DeFranco)

St. Paul, MN - Over 2000 people came to the Minnesota State Capitol building, Wednesday, August 25, occupying the capitol grounds in protest of the Line 3 oil pipeline. Over 40 people walked 256 miles from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the capitol building to demand that Governor Tim Walz stop the pipeline’s construction. Over 200 people met the water protectors about a mile and a half away to march through the streets for the final stretch with them towards the capitol grounds.

Enbridge, a Canadian oil company, is aiming to finish construction of the pipeline by the end of the year. The Line 3 oil pipeline runs through indigenous treaty land and harms the health and livelihoods of the Anishinaabe communities. The pipeline also would transport enough tar sands oil that would cause 50 coal power plants’ worth of greenhouse gases to be emitted. Rather than upholding his campaign promises, Governor Tim Walz is encouraging construction to finish.

Winona LaDuke from Honor The Earth said, “I’m like a lot of the other water protectors here facing charges in three counties. I’m not a criminal. I’m a water protector! The criminal is Enbridge! That’s the criminal. That’s the criminal that [Walz] is enabling. You know we want this line stopped and we want it stopped before they get to oil. They’re all proud they got all of it done so far, just proud. You should be proud of yourself for gaming the system and arresting all those people and making a mess of the north. Pitting family against family and making us afraid to drive on our own roads up north. That’s what you did Tim. You made a mess of civil society up north.”

Taysha Martineau from the Fond du Lac reservation and the host of Camp Migizi gave a powerful speech talking about the impact of the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis.

Martineau stated, “The really terrifying thing about these projects is that it exacerbates both drug and sex trafficking, and indigenous communities along the route have already been devastated by both. When pipelines, such as Keystone XL, Dakota Access Pipeline, Line 3, Line 4, and Line 5 go up, the statistics we face as indigenous women increase by 23%. Back home I have three beautiful indigenous daughters, before that increase we are taught one in three. So I want Tim Walz to answer a question that I have to ask myself every single day when I look at my three daughters: Which one? Which one of my three indigenous daughters is going to be raped before the age of 15? Which one is going to be murdered? Which one isn’t going to come home? Because I have to dress my kids every single day, not because they’re incapable, but because I need to know exactly what they’re wearing in case one of them doesn’t come home.”

Over 100 people stayed and occupied the grounds overnight on Wednesday to pressure Walz to stop the pipeline’s construction.

The gathering had a permit which lasted until 10 p.m. Thursday. Organizers announced plans to occupy the Capitol grounds for 38 days in honor of the 38 Dakota warriors who were massacred in Mankato, Minnesota in 1862. On Friday August 26, the police swarmed the capitol grounds with hundreds of officers to take down the remaining tipis and arrest people in ceremony. Hundreds of people mobilized to come down to the capitol in support of the water protectors, and the police made a quick retreat. Organizers vowed to continue the resistance.

This gathering was hosted by a coalition of over 30 groups.