Laura Waterman Wittstock, a leader in the local Indian community, a pathfinder and pathbreaker for Native American journalism, a co-founder of MIGIZI Communications, and former president of the Minneapolis Library Board, walked on at 83, according to an announcement from MIGIZI.
Waterman Wittstock was a mother, grandmother and wife, and a citizen of the Haudensaunee Seneca Nation, Heron Clan. She led MIGIZI for nearly three decades.
MIGIZI started in 1974 as a Native American news collective. It evolved over time. It now focuses on Native youth development. It “acts as a circle of support that nurtures the development of Native American youth in order to unleash their creativity and dreams – to benefit themselves, their families and community,” its website says. The organization “puts youth first, supporting youth-driven activities that fully engage youth in a self-directed path to holistic wellness and to success in education and employment.”
Simone Senogles, Mary Breen, Priya Dalal-Whelan, and Josh Phenow were four of the 22 people arrested Monday in Aitkin County for civil disobedience against the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.
The action happened where Enbridge plans to bore a tunnel under the Mississippi River for the pipeline. A lot of people think boring a tunnel under the Mississippi River is a really bad idea. The protest was on public land where Enbridge holds an easement. The site had “No Trespassing” signs posted.
Most water protectors received misdemeanor charges for trespass and unlawful assembly, seemingly minor offenses. Nonetheless, they spent the night in jail worrying about COVID exposure for themselves and their friends.
Senogles and Breen were among nine arrestees transported in a crowded van. The driver didn’t wear a mask, Breen said. The women were held in an overcrowded cell, with four sleeping on the floor. Not all jailers wore masks or wore them properly.
Senogles, a member of the Red Lake Nation and staff for the Indigenous Environmental Network, attended the action to live stream it and provide media support. She hadn’t planned on participating in the action. In the moment, she found herself wanting “to hold the line.”
“I live on the Mississippi River,” she said. “I couldn’t sit in my home, and look out on the beautiful river, if I wasn’t willing to engage in civil resistance to protect it.”
“We don’t need the oil,” she said. “It’s not serving the common good.”
Site is near where Enbridge plans to drill a tunnel under the Mississippi River
This from MN350: Native leaders on the frontlines of the fight against Line 3 have issued an urgent call: come on Monday, Dec 14 at 9:30am to stand with them and stop construction that imminently threatens the Mississippi River.
Go to Palisade, MN and then head north on Great River Road — you’ll see the meetup point. Since construction began nearly two weeks ago, many people have protested legally along the route, and some have been cited for protecting the water or engaging in peaceful civil disobedience on land where Enbridge is trying to build this harmful pipeline. At the meeting spot, you’ll learn more about the options for how to participate.