News/Events: Congregations invited to address systemic racism, land back victory, and more

In this post:

  • Congregations invited to step into the work addressing systemic racism
  • Line 5 crude oil pipeline tunnel under Great Lakes put on hold
  • Onondaga Nation gets land back
  • How a kelp farm could help restore Tribal sovereignty

Congregations invited to step into the work of addressing systemic racism

The Minnesota Council of Churches is asking congregations to make a multi-year commitment to learn about, then help address, systemic racism in this state.

“The work of justice is not a sprint,” it said in a recent newsletter. “There is no easy path to ending systemic racism. It is a relay race of generations. But those churches willing to take the baton and carry it to the next step will see their footfalls bend the arc of the moral universe.

The program is called ACTION: A Commitment To Inclusion In Our Neighborhoods.

Register here. Registration ends on July 31.

The first year focuses on history and how we got here. Congregations will engage in experiential learning facilitated by BIPOC educators.

The second year is about “Life and Faith.” Congregations will explore the current climate and get training in the areas of community organizing and local government.

The third year focuses on solidarity and includes consultation for your congregation’s reparations ministry.

Each year, the project includes:

  • Monthly plenary gatherings with participants from other congregations and a trained educator.
  • Monthly congregational cohort meetings led by your pastor, with additional support for BIPOC members.
  • Monthly Bible study and support for pastors of participating congregations as they lead and offer ideas about connecting faith and justice in the pulpit.
  • Weekly Action invitations for your to listen, explore, and connect this work to life in your community

Healing Minnesota Stories is an initiative of the Minnesota Council of Churches.

Line 5 crude oil pipeline tunnel under Great Lakes put on hold

How refreshing. Michigan regulators today called out the Enbridge Corporation for its patchy proposal to dig an oil pipeline tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac. It delayed decisions on the permit.

The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) today told Enbridge its application for the Line 5 tunnel lacked details on “engineering and safety measures, as well as the risk of fire or explosion from electrical equipment,” according to MLive.com. The PSC “voted to re-open the official record for more exhibits and rebuttal evidence before they decide whether to green-light or reject Enbridge’s tunnel plan.”

Native Nations strongly oppose Line 5, which crosses northern Wisconsin and Michigan. A year ago May, the Bay Mills Indian Community Tribal Council voted “to banish Enbridge’s Line 5 pipelines from the reservation as well as lands and waters of their ceded territory,” Indian Country Today reported.

In 2017, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, located in northern Wisconsin, voted not to renew Line 5’s easements across its lands. In July, 2019 it sued Enbridge in federal court to press its case.

Onondaga Nation gets land back

The Onondaga Nation, New York state, and the U.S. Department of the Interior “announced a historic agreement last week that will return more than 1,000 acres of land to the nation — one of the largest ever returns of land from a state to an Indigenous nation,” Grist reports.

The agreement places an expansive tract of land in the Tully Valley “into a conservation easement, barring commercial development and allowing the Onondaga Nation to protect and restore natural areas ‘in accordance with traditional ecological knowledge,’” it said.

How a seaweed farm could help restore Tribal sovereignty

Seaweed farms “are sprouting up all over the country, but on the east end of Long Island, New York, a new project cultivating kelp in the waters of Shinnecock Bay is more than a follower of a new trend,” according to Mongabay.com. “The Shinnecock Kelp Farm is the first Indigenous-owned seaweed farm on the East Coast. Its founders hope that it may alter the course of a bay devastated by pollution — and, perhaps, restore the sovereignty of the tribe that cultivated these waters for millennia.”

Tela Troge, a lawyer and one of the six women running the Shinnecock Kelp Farm, studied Tribal agreements with colonist, “which gave the Shinnecock people the right to harvest seaweed in the bay,” the story said. “These agreements helped the tribe achieve federal recognition in 2010.”

“’So, I felt that the act of cultivating seaweed … was a really powerful way to assert our tribal sovereignty over the water,’ Troge says.”

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