News: Knights of the Forest Were Minnesota’s KKK; Line 3 Pipeline Direct Non-Violent Action

The genocide of Dakota people and the history of the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 has rightfully been getting more public awareness in our state, but a terribly overlooked part of our history is the atrocious treatment of the Winnebago people.

Yes, the Winnebago used to have a reservation in Minnesota. That history is invisible.

The Winnebago (also known as Ho Chunk) had been forced to relocate several times, as business and settlers moved west and wanted their land. In 1855, they got resettled on a reservation in Minnesota near Mankato, just years before the 1862 Dakota-U.S. War. While they did not participate in the fighting, the war became the excuse for state leaders to remove them to get access to prime farm land.

At the urging of the Minnesota delegation, Congress passed a law exiling the Winnebago from Minnesota before they passed the law exiling the Dakota.

Part of this ugly history is the story of the Knights of the Forest, a secret society in Mankato bent on killing the Winnebago. This blog wrote about this last year in a piece titled: Winnebago Removal Act and the Little Known History of the ‘Knights of the Forest.

City Pages has come out with a detailed piece: Knights of the Forest: How Minnesota’s Klan drove out the Ho-Chunk. This story needs to be told and taught. We as a state haven’t acknowledged, let alone repented, from these acts.

The City Pages story notes that the Knights of the Forest started just after the post-war hanging of 38 Dakota men in Mankato, on Dec. 26, 1862. According to the story:

Among the thousands in the audience that day, some viewed the spectacle through the windows of Mankato’s Masonic Lodge across the street. A week later, a group gathered in secret to form the “Knights of the Forest.” They had a singular goal: “To banish forever from our beautiful state every Indian who now desecrates the soil.”

Two years before the first meeting of the Ku Klux Klan, a secret society of white terrorists had sprung up in Minnesota.

Click here for the full story.

Six Arrested Tuesday Protesting Line 3 Pipeline Construction in Wisconsin

Water protectors trying to stop the construction of Enbridge Line 3 in Wisconsin were arrested in Douglas County, Wisc. Tuesday while engaging in peaceful non-violent direct action, according to a news release from Honor the Earth.

One water protector locked his body to construction equipment, while dozens of water protectors provided support and protection via media. When police arrived onsite, they gave a 10 minute warning, but immediately began arrests, targeting anyone holding a camera or cell phone. One water protector was pulled out of a vehicle while attempting to comply with dispersal orders.

There is a current Line 3 that is old and falling apart. It runs more than 1,000 miles from Alberta to Superior, Wisc., crossing northern Minnesota. Enbridge is proposing to leave the old pipeline in the ground and install a new and larger pipeline. The new pipeline would cross the Mississippi River twice, threaten wild rice areas, and violate treaty rights. While Minnesota has not approved the project, and the Public Utilities Commission will not vote on it until next April, Enbridge already has begun construction on either side of Minnesota.

These kinds of non violent actions will become more common as Enbridge Line 3 moves through the approval process.

This is the 21st Century version of Knights of the Forest, where business interests trump any obligations we have to the state’s Native peoples.

Here is a video of the action. Contact with police starts around the 46 minute mark.

Federal Court Upholds New York’s Right to Stop Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Under the Clean Water Act

A natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York violates New York state water protection laws and cannot proceed, according to a recent federal court decision, reported by MassLive.

In its decision, the Second Circuit noted that Constitution [pipeline] failed to address certain water resource impacts during state environmental review. The company failed to consider alternative routes, and also declined to describe less harmful methods for stream crossings, despite repeated requests for information.


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