Website launched ahead of trial for those at the Fire Light Treaty Encampment

One of the last criminal cases related to Enbridge Line 3 will start Monday, May 8, in Clearwater County.

Defendants in what is known as the Fire Light Treaty Encampment have created a website to explain their case and lift up the importance on non-Indigenous peoples being treaty partners and standing up to honor treaty rights. Click here for the website.

The Fire Light Encampment, Mississippi River at left. June, 2021.

On June 7, 2021, following the Treaty People Gathering, more than one thousand people followed Anishinaabe singers on hand drums into a valley near Mississippi’s headwaters. They stopped at a site where Line 3 workers had built an enormous timber mat boardwalk into wetlands so they could drill the pipeline beneath the Mississippi.

At the invitation of local Anishinaabe leaders, hundreds of people proceeded onto the timber matting to pray by the river.

Anishinaabe leaders remained on the timber-plank road to hold ceremony. They were exercising their rights under the Treaty of 1855 to hunt, fish, gather, and occupy lands the Anishinaabe ceded to the U.S. government. Anishinaabe leaders invited non-Indigenous allies to join them as treaty partners in recognizing and supporting those treaty rights.

Ultimately, the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office arrested 51 water protectors on the waterway, cited them for misdemeanor trespass and released them.

Native defendants were referred to White Earth Tribal Court. In June, 2022, three Native defendants – Nancy Beaulieu, Justin Keezer, and Todd Thompson – had a historic win, affirming that the Fire Light Encampment was a legal exercise of their treaty-reserved rights as Anishinaabe people.

Many non-Indigenous defendants reached agreements with the Clearwater County District Attorney. Today, eight non-Indigenous defendants remain going to trial in Clearwater County.

Keep checking the website for updates.

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