Landowner forces closed a camp for unhoused Indigenous women; it has nowhere to go

Camp Nenoocaasi for unhoused Indigenous women was forced to close.

Three days before “Thanksgiving,” a squatters camp of unhoused Indigenous women in South Minneapolis is closing following the property owner’s demand to leave.

Camp Nenoocaasi (Ojibwe for hummingbird) had provided a safe space for Indigenous women since Sept. 19. It was located on the site of an abandoned Speedway gas station at East 25th Street and Bloomington Avenue South. It was serving 30-35 women.

The camp got notice last week it needed to leave on Monday, said Erica Whitaker, one of the camp’s volunteers.

Rather than be forcibly removed, volunteers began packing up tents and other supplies this morning.

“We don’t have anywhere to go right now,” Whitaker said. “I acknowledge and understand property rights. But these women, this is their land to begin with.”

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Reflections on violence and justice along the Enbridge Line 3 route

Honor the Earth got pushback on its planned Aug. 18 music festival in Duluth, a fundraiser to oppose Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

A group of 11 northern Minnesota mayors and councilmembers wrote Duluth Mayor Emily Larson telling her to pull the event’s permit, claiming Honor the Earth has been involved in “violent” protests against the pipelines. “Honor the Earth has played a significant role in creating the dangerous and harmful environment surrounding the Line 3 pipeline replacement project.”

Winona LaDuke, co-founder of Honor the Earth, called the elected officials’ claims “scandalous” and “wrong.” “We haven’t led any violent protests,” LaDuke said. “We have been entirely non-violent and educational.”

“We spent eight years trying to make the system work in the legal and regulatory hearings and are now encouraging people to express their First Amendment rights.”

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MPR fails to cover Line 3’s connection to human trafficking and recent trafficking stings

What gives?

[Update: MPR did run on-air stories about the Line 3 human trafficking sting. It didn’t post an on-line story until the day after this blog ran. I had emailed MPR media relations to ask if I had missed any coverage of the sting on MPR. MPR media relations didn’t respond, apparently not checking on-air coverage. I friend emailed the news department to complain about the lack of coverage on this issue and got an email from the Deputy Managing Editor informing her of the on-air stories. A separate updated post will run soon.]

Four workers on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline have been arrested in two separate human trafficking stings, one in February, one in June. Line 3 workers represent at least 30 percent of all arrests in the two incidents.

MPR didn’t cover either sting. In fact, MPR hasn’t written anything about the concerns and connection between Line 3 and human trafficking, according to a website search. Asked about the lack of coverage, MPR’s media relations department ducked the question.

MPR supporters and listeners need to contact the newsroom and tell it to cover this important issue. Details below.

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Two more Line 3 workers arrested in sex trafficking sting

The state lacks transparency on the extent of the problem

A sex trafficking sting in northern Minnesota resulted in six arrests, including two men who were working on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline, the Bemidji Pioneer reported. They have been fired.

Last February, a similar sex trafficking sting resulted in seven arrests, and again at least two of them worked on Line 3.

In both stings, law enforcement set up a phony sex advertising website and arrested men who arrived to arranged meeting, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said.

Out of the two stings, Line 3 workers represent 30 percent of those arrested. It’s a small sample but it seems like a high number.

The state of Minnesota has failed to provide needed transparency and accountability for Line 3-related sex trafficking. The very structure is flawed. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) required and approved Enbridge’s Human Trafficking Prevention Plan. But the plan has no teeth and no one is responsible for follow up.

What’s the point of requiring a plan if no one is going to enforce it?

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Why don’t I trust Enbridge? Let me count the ways

Big month ahead, including major Line 3 court ruling

File: Gichi-gami Gathering to Stop Line 3 in Duluth.

Tribal nations and environmental and Indigenous-led groups have worked for years to stop Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 tars sands pipeline through northern Minnesota. Line 3 is bad for the environment, bad for climate, violates treaty rights and simply isn’t needed.

Enbridge is a multi-national, bottom-line company seeking to minimize its costs and maximize its profits. It prioritizes its profits over the environment, climate, and treaty rights.

Minnesota regulators shouldn’t have put their trust in Enbridge, let alone approved Line 3 permits. There are plenty of examples to show how Enbridge has lacked transparency and not been a reliable partner, both here and in other states.

Work on Line 3 has slowed in the past few months due to springtime construction restrictions. It’s now picking back up.

Water protectors and their allies are hosting the Treaty People Gathering up north from Saturday-Tuesday, with large-scale, non-violent civil disobedience being organized.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals will rule no later than June 21 on the first of three major legal challenges to Line 3 in state and federal courts. This first suit seeks to overturn Line 3’s Certificate of Need, Route Permit, and Environmental Impact Statement.

With a busy and important month ahead, I’m take this opportunity to review the red flags I’ve seen surrounding Enbridge and its Line 3 proposal.

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Ten ways structural racism permeated Enbridge Line 3 decisions, and continues to influence them

Structural racism has played a significant role in Enbridge Line 3’s approval and law enforcement’s responses to water protectors.

Structural racism, as defined by The Aspen Institute Round Table on Societal Change, is:

A system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time. Structural racism is not something that a few people or institutions choose to practice. Instead it has been a feature of the social, economic and political systems in which we all exist.

Aspen Institute on Societal Change

Here’s a top ten list of structural racism in Line 3 decisions. Got more to add? A critique? Submit them in the comments section, below.

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