Weekend Reads: Prairie Island Community prepares a move; New Doctrine of Discovery video, and more

In this blog:

  • Worries over nuclear waste, flooding, have Prairie Island Indian Community preparing to move
  • Presbyterian Stony Point Church in New York becomes Sweetwater Cultural Center to preserve indigenous culture and lifeways
  • New Doctrine of Discovery video: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts
  • Enbridge security firm stokes fears of water protectors

Worries over nuclear waste, flooding, have Prairie Island Indian Community preparing to move

Xcel’s Prairie Island nuclear plant (Image: Wikimedia Commons.)

The lands of the Prairie Island Indian Community faces threats from the neighboring Xcel nuclear power generator and its nuclear waste storage facility as well as flooding problems on the Mississippi River.

In 1934, the federal government recognized the 534-acre Prairie Island community where members live today, according to the MPR story: Environmental, nuclear worries force Prairie Island tribe to seek new lands. Four years later, the Army Corps of Engineers built a lock and dam just downstream, causing flooding that shrunk the reservation to 300 livable acres.

Recent flooding has been a challenge for Prairie Island. Last year, it bought 1,200 acres near Pine Island, Minn. The Community “wants Congress to put the land into trust, adding it to the reservation,” the MPR story said. “In return, the tribe would give up rights to sue the government over flooding caused by the lock-and-dam system. …”

“[T]he relocation plan has reopened old wounds over the displacement of Native American people and white encroachment on Native lands. That includes environmental problems on tribal lands created by nonNative people.”

Presbyterian Stony Point Church in New York becomes Sweetwater Cultural Center to preserve indigenous culture and lifeways

The Presbytery of Hudson River has “transferred the title of the former Stony Point Church and all its property, to the newly created Sweetwater Cultural Center ‘to promote the education, health and welfare of indigenous or native peoples and to preserve their cultures and ceremonial practices locally, regionally, and around the western hemisphere,’” according to a Presbytery’s publication Outlook.

It continues:

The transfer was the culmination of months of discussion within the presbytery and with Native American leaders in light of the presbytery’s commitments to “helping the congregation (Stony Point Church) ‘distribute financial assets ‘in a way that will honor the congregation’s legacy and commitment as a progressive, theologically grounded presence in their community,’” …

New Doctrine of Discovery video: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts

The Anglican Church of Canada has released a new hour-long documentary: Doctrine of Discovery, Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts. According to the website:

[It’s] a film about a devastating decision, made over 500 years ago, which continues to profoundly impact Indigenous and Settler people worldwide. Pope Alexander VI ruled that the lands being discovered by European explorers at the time was “empty” land and its millions of Indigenous inhabitants were “non-human”.

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released 94 Calls to Action in 2015, with many of them referring to the Doctrine of Discovery and calling for its repudiation.

This film is one of the responses of the Anglican Church’s Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice.  The purpose of this film is to respond to the calls to action by helping to provide education and insight into the racist foundations of many of our property and other laws still in existence to this day.

Enbridge security firm stokes fear of water protectors among Michigan police

An Enbridge Energy private security contractor in Michigan is trying to demonize water protectors in the eyes of the police, raising the prospect of “mass shooting.” It’s not only wrong and irresponsible, but dangerous. To the extent that Enbrdige’s contractor is successful in getting police to believe that water protectors are violent, the more likely the police are to respond to demonstrations with deadly force.

The Enbridge Line 5 pipeline in Michigan runs along the floor of the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. It an old pipeline. In a controversial proposal, Enbrdige plans to replace it by boring a tunnel under the Great Lakes and installing a new pipe.

Interlochen Public Radio obtained emails between Merril’s Investigations, a private security contractor working for Enbridge, and law enforcement agencies near the Straits of Mackinac. In one email, David Egeler, a Merrills employee, wrote to law enforcement in advance of a planned Labor Day demonstration opposing Line 5:

In light of the recent mass shootings across the country, I have confirmed with the Merrills and Enbridge social media monitoring staff that if any posts/communications should appear which indicate immediate harmful or dangerous activity (especially with the Bridge Walk and other protest activity scheduled for Labor Day Weekend), we are immediately notifying the appropriate LE [law enforcement] agencies …

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