Weekend Reads: Landback lessons, MN/DOT marks 1854 treaty boundaries, Mary Lyons in Glasgow, and Line 3 updates

In this blog:

  • A Tale of Two Landbacks
  • The Guardian: Osage Nation decries sale of sacred cave
  • MPR: MN/DOT erects road signs to mark treaty boundaries
  • Anishinaabe Grandmother Mary Lyons in Glasgow, speaking for the land and water
  • The Progressive: How Superior, Wisc. became a sacrifice zone for the oil industry
  • Line 3 resisters keep bird dogging Sen. Klobuchar on her Line 3 inaction
  • Check out ‘Let the Wave’ Line 3 video

A Tale of Two Landbacks

Christianity Today ran back-to-back stories about Methodists returning land to Indigenous peoples, one where the land was returned, the other where the land was sold.

On Oct. 3, it ran the story Church returns sacred lands to Wyandotte people.

For 176 years, generations of Meth­odist missionary societies and Methodists in western Ohio have held in trust the land upon which the Methodist mission among the Wyandotte … people was planted. On September 21, United Meth­odist Global Ministries returned three acres of land, including the historic Wyandot Mission Church [and burial grounds], to the Wyan­dotte people.

Chief Billy Friend of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma called it “a monumental day” for the Wyandotte people. “For the Methodist people to come to us and offer to give the land back to us, we are truly overjoyed.”

Christianity Today

On Oct 4, Christianity Today ran the story: United Methodist conference sells land back to Native people.

Crystal Springs had been a Methodist camp and retreat center for 160 years until it closed in 2019, the story said. Michigan Area United Methodist Camping “could no longer maintain the grounds, due to increasing costs and declining membership,” the article said.

The organization reached out to the Pokagon Band about buying the campgrounds, “because selling the land to them was the ‘right thing to do’ from a justice standpoint,” the article said.

Actually, the right thing to do from a justice standpoint would have been to return the land at no cost to the Pokagon Band. Perhaps the Methodist camping organization couldn’t afford it, but surely the Methodist Church could.

According to the Oct. 3 article, the United Methodists began a new chapter with Indigenous peoples and nations in 2012, “Since then, 26 conferences have either held an Act of Repentance or began a process to connect with indigenous peoples,” the article said.

The Methodist Church could still live into this repentance commitment and return the sale price to the Pokagon Band.

Osage Nation decries sale of sacred cave

Leaders of the Osage Nation are heartbroken at the sale of a sacred cave in Missouri. They had hoped to acquire it.

“Picture Cave” contains Native American art more than 1,000 years old. It sold at auction for $2.2 million in September to an anonymous buyer, the article said. The sale included 43 acres of land 60 miles west of St Louis.

“Our ancestors lived in this area for 1,300 years,” the Osage Nation said in a statement. “This was our land. We have hundreds of thousands of our ancestors buried throughout Missouri and Illinois, including Picture Cave.”

Click here for the full story.

MN/DOT erects road signs to mark 1854 treaty boundaries

MPR reports:

State transportation officials are posting 12 highway signs in northeastern Minnesota to mark the boundaries of a treaty signed in 1854 by the U.S. government and three Ojibwe bands: the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation installed the first sign on Nov. 1 on southbound Highway 61, just south of the Canadian border and near the entrance to Grand Portage State Park.


Click here for the full story.

Anishinaabe Great Grandmother Mary Lyons speaks in Glasow for the land and water

Mary Lyons speaks at an action against JP Morgan Chase fossil fuel funding in Glasgow. Photo: Indigenous Climate Action.

Indigenous land defenders gathered outside JP Morgan Chase’s Glasgow offices this week to pressure the financial giant to stop financing fossil fuel extraction, according to a media release from Indigenous Climate Action. 

JP Morgan has made commitments towards “Net Zero” to reduce carbon emissions. At the same time, “Chase’s investments include some of the most destructive and polluting types of extraction such as tar sands, Arctic oil and gas, Amazon oil and gas, fracking, and coal mining,” the release said. “Much of the infrastructure funded by the bank, like Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline and the Coastal Gaslink pipeline, is having direct impacts on the land and lives of Indigenous nations, and is being actively resisted by Indigenous peoples and impacted communities.”

Great grandmother Mary Lyons, Leech Lake Ojibwe, spoke at the event.

Line 3 pipes are in ground, the dirty Tar Sands Oil will be filling them, we are not done fighting. We also stand with Line 5, we have to protect the Great Lakes. We cannot stop fighting at every level to protect our water and the sacred knowledge of the land.  We will prevail and hold Chase accountable because there is too much to lose.

Mary Lyons

For more on the impact of Indigenous leadership in Glasgow, see Indian Country Today’s reporting: Indigenous voices stir debates at COP26 climate meeting.

In related news, The Hartford Financial Group, Inc. announced it would quit backing tar sands two years ahead of schedule, according to Insurance News Net.

“It’s joining scores of financial institutions with assets under management or loans outstanding larger than $10 billion that are restricting fossil fuel business with oil, liquefied natural gas, oil sands and arctic drilling, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis,” the story said.

How Superior, Wisc. became a sacrifice zone

Meghan Krausch bought a home in Superior, Wisc. and planned to live there for the rest of her life.

“I was living and working there in 2018 when the Husky refinery exploded, forcing everyone within a 3-mile radius and 10 miles to the south to evacuate from our homes, schools, and workplaces,” she wrote in an article in The Progressive, which discusses Superior in terms of being a factory town.

“In Superior, both the refinery, now owned by Cenovus, and its partner, Enbridge, are an inescapable presence. “They throw enough money around that no one wants to touch them,” says Adam Ritscher, a former Douglas County Board Supervisor. This has much more impact than the jobs, he says, because in the end they don’t employ a lot of locals.

The Progressive

The article also discusses the bind Superior residents face in trying to get a small payment for damages from the Husky explosion. The legal system seems set up to favor corporations over residents.

“Now there is a November 3 deadline to respond to a class action settlement—residents are eligible for $150 apiece and a household maximum of $300, and if we do not respond at all we lose our right to sue—although the regulatory agency responsible, the Chemical Safety Board, has yet to issue its conclusions about what happened,” Krausch wrote.

Click here for the full story.

Line 3 resisters keep bird dogging Sen. Klobuchar on Line 3 inaction

Line 3 opponents pressed Sen. Klobuchar for answers from the back of the hall. Video screen grab.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar walked off the stage at a fundraising event Thursday for state Rep. Connie Bernardy of New Brighton, as Line 3 opponents arrived with signs and shouted questions to Kloburchar about her noncommittal Line 3 stance.

“Don’t you care about your children’s future?” said one.

Klobuchar left the stage followed by chants of “Stop Line 3!”

Here’s a tweet with a short video of the event.

Check out ‘Let The Wave’ video

Screen grab from Let The Wave.

Check out the seven-minute video on Line 3 called ‘Let The Wave,” which is half music video with shots from Line 3 resistance, and half education tool about Line 3’s harms. The music is by Samantha Cooper, and the video features Shara Nova, Jaike Spotted Wolf, Holly T. Bird and Frank Bibeau.

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