The 1890 lynching of Italian immigrants in New Orleans gave rise to Columbus Day, the Pledge of Allegiance

President Benjamin Harrison declared Oct. 12, 1892 “Columbus Day.” The back story echos contemporary themes of racism, unjust policing, and media-stoked mob violence.

Harrison’s Columbus Day proclamation was intended to be a one-time thing, honoring the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Western Hemisphere. Columbus Day might never have happened but for an international emergency. Harrison was trying “to help resolve a diplomatic crisis with Italy — and gain support among Italian American voters — after rioters in New Orleans lynched 11 Italian immigrants” in 1891, according to an article in the Washington Post.

This first Columbus Day also provided the spring board for efforts to get children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in schools across the country.

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Registration open for MN Council of Churches’ truth-telling event; Walker to unveil new sculpture by Native artist, Line 3 updates

In this blog:

  • Registration now open for MN Council of Church’s first ‘truth telling’ event Sept. 24-25
  • Walker to install sculpture by Native artist where ‘Scaffold’ once stood
  • New report: Indigenous resistance is disrupting climate damage
  • More than 60 water protectors arrested outside Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s Residence
  • LaDuke, Hauska register complaints with U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
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Finding hope in water protectors’ recent bleak weeks: Solidarity

The state’s welcoming committee for the ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ event Aug. 25

Let’s be honest. For those who have spent years opposing the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline, these last few weeks have been pretty painful.

The Treaties Not Tar Sands rally on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds Aug. 23-26 was met with concrete barricades, fencing, and large law enforcement contingent. It was unnecessary, unwelcoming, and un-American.

The legal avenues closed on efforts to reverse the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s Line 3 permits. The Minnesota Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Line 3 water crossing permit.

Enbridge said all new Line 3 pipeline is in the ground and buried.

There still are lawsuits pending at the federal level to stop Line 3, and to pressure Biden to take action.

Remember, the courts do get things wrong. In Plessy v. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-1 to uphold a “Separate but Equal” law.

So far, the courts have got it wrong on Line 3.

The Stop Line 3 campaign will be entering a new phase. I don’t know what that is yet.

I do know Enbridge has less than a decade before it has to move the other five pipelines in its mainline corridor. Its easement to cross the Leech Lake Reservation expires in 2029 and Leech Lake has been clear it wants the pipelines gone.

There’s more work ahead and the movement is getting stronger.

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State of Intimidation Part II: Police overkill on Capitol Hill

South lawn of the Minnesota State Capitol. Photo: Maggie Schuppert

Minnesota law enforcement launched an over-the-top, fear-and-intimidation response to water protectors camped out in front the Capitol Friday.

The ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally had run Monday-Thursday on the Minnesota State Capitol Mall, calling on elected officials to shut down the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. It was a peaceful scene; roughly 20 tipis had been erected on the mall.

By late Thursday, a single large tipi remained. Native leaders were holding ceremony. Others were sleeping on the mall, according to one participant.

On Friday morning, law enforcement officers approached from multiple directions and swarmed the lone tipi. [Update: A media release from ResistLine3.org estimated 200 officers responded.] It as if they were trying to prevent a hostage situation or a bank robbery.

They demanded the tipi come down.

Indigenous leaders had to negotiate to be allowed to take the tipi down so that it could be saved rather than have law enforcement tear it down, one source said.

[Update: Six people had been arrested Friday.] The charges were not immediately known.

This situation raises significant questions about law enforcement’s bias against Indigenous water protectors and its ability to respond in proportion to the situation.

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State of Intimidation: Minnesota law enforcement’s in-your-face approach to ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally

Winona LaDuke speaking Wednesday

What’s wrong with this picture? It implies a significant and violent threat where there was none.

The ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally at the Capitol Wednesday drew 1,000 to 2,000 people. It was a beautiful and powerful event. I will write more about it in the coming days. It deserves more attention.

Tonight, I’m focusing on law enforcement’s massive and intimidating response — and how rally-goers responded.

At one point I counted 33 officers on or near the front steps of the Capitol. And there were many others spread out around the Capitol complex.

The question is: Why is it when large numbers of black and brown people show up for some event, law enforcement feels compelled to use a show of force?

Given all the racial tensions around policing, law enforcement had to know this approach was bad optics. It did it anyway. That means law enforcement either had little concern about making people feel unwelcome, scared, and/or angry, or in fact that was the intention.

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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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From the Line 3 front lines: Arrests at multiple sites, police dogs, an eviction order and its repeal, police harassment, and cultural renewal as pipeline construction escalates

Photo: Indigenous Environmental Network

Indigenous nations and people are flexing their treaty muscles to Stop Line 3.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Department of Transportation threatened arrests and evictions earlier today at the Red Lake Treaty Camp in Pennington County. The camp is adjacent to lands where Enbridge plans to tunnel Line 3 under the Red Lake River.

The agencies later rescinded their trespass order, indicating that Water Protectors in the area are not required to leave.

That said, law enforcement arrested one person at the Treaty Camp Tuesday. They also brought attack dogs, according to a media release, reminiscent of Standing Rock.

Unlike Standing Rock, however, which focused on the Dakota Access Pipeline’s Missouri River crossing, Line 3 runs 337 miles border-to-border through northern Minnesota, crossing more than 200 bodies. Resistance is spread out. Water Protectors use a variety of tactics. Some resist with peaceful presence, exercising their treaty-protected rights to hold ceremony on Line 3 easements. Others lock down to equipment.

In other news today, Water Protectors locked down to Enbridge’s Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) equipment being used to bore a Line 3 tunnel under the Straight River in Hubbard County, according to the Giniw Collective.

On Monday, three Water Protectors connected to a ceremony were arrested in Aitkin County on an Enbridge easement for its second Mississippi River crossing.

Details below.

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