Action Alert: Public Meeting Tuesday to Stop Tar Sands Pipeline; Mayan Weavers Seek Stop to Cultural Appropriation

New Honor the Earth map on Enbridge Line 3.

Please attend a public hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, June 13, to speak against a proposed tar sands pipeline in northern Minnesota that threatens our environment and puts a disproportionate burden on the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) people.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on Enbridge Line 3 and is holding hearings to get public comments. The only metro area hearing is Tuesday, 6-9 p.m. at Intercontinental Hotel Saint Paul, 11 E. Kellogg Boulevard. The Department of Commerce will rewrite the DEIS based on public comment.

Enbridge has an existing Line 3 tar sands pipeline which is old and failing. It proposes to abandon it in the ground and install a larger pipeline along a new route. The new route crosses the Mississippi headwaters region and threatens 17 prime wild rice lakes.

The final EIS will play a significant role in the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s decision whether or not to approve the pipeline. Please come and make your voice heard!

Our previous blog, “Environmental Justice” Analysis of Proposed Crude Oil Pipeline is Flawed, Lacks Native Voices, pulls out a few key quotes from the draft EIS section on Environmental Justice:

Disproportionate and adverse impacts would occur to American Indian populations in the vicinity of the proposed [Line 3] Project.

Then this:

American Indian communities and individuals have unique health issues associated with historical trauma and structural racism. Data from the Minnesota [Department of Health] indicate that American Indians in Minnesota have greater health disparities and poorer health outcomes compared to other racial and ethnic groups in Minnesota. …

The impacts associated with the proposed Project [Line 3] and its alternatives would be an additional health stressor on tribal communities that already face overwhelming health disparities and inequities.

And this:

Other concerns during [Line 3] construction are the influx of temporary workers and associated impacts, such as sex trafficking and sexual abuse in local communities. Increases in sex trafficking, particularly among Native populations, are well documented. … American Indian and minority populations are often at higher risk if they are low-income, homeless, have a lack of resources, addiction, and other factors often found in tribal communities. … The addition of a temporary, cash-rich workforce increases the likelihood that sex trafficking or sexual abuse will occur. Additionally, rural areas often do not have the resources necessary to detect and prevent these activities. (Page 10)

To learn more about the project, see our Enbridge Line 3 page with various fact sheets and websites.

Cultural Appropriation of Indigenous Art

The Walker Sculpture Garden’s controversial piece Scaffold drew attention to the issue cultural appropriation, where a white artist profited from telling an indigenous story. (And it was not just any story, it was the hanging of 38 Dakota men in Mankato in 1862.)

There are many, many examples where businesses and artists use indigenous stories, culture and art to turn a profit. A story in Indian Country Today raises the same issue in a different context: Mayan Weavers Seek Legal Protection of Their Designs. It starts:

Mayan weavers in Guatemala want legal protection for their right to benefit financially from their work that has earned millions for big fashion houses and other businesses but has left the creators of the work with little compensation.

In February of this year, the National Mayan Weavers Movement, with the help of Mayan Congressman Leocadio Juracan, introduced Law 5247, a bill that seeks official recognition of the collective intellectual property rights of Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala.


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