American Indian population increases in Minnesota and nationally, climate crisis in Indian Country, and more

In this blog:

  • U.S. Census: American Indian/Alaska Native population increased in the past decade
  • Indian Country Today: Climate crisis in Indian Country
  • MPR: St. Benedict nuns apologize for Native boarding school
  • The Conversation: Indigenous land defenders get much more police scrutiny than right-wing protesters
  • Registration open for 2021 Overcoming Racism Conference
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Law enforcement costs top $1.6 million for their presence during the August ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally at the Capitol

On Aug. 27, the day following the four-day ‘Treaty Not Tar Sands’ rally, law enforcement turned out en masse to evict anyone who hadn’t left. Photo: Maggie Schuppert

[Note: This updates an Oct. 26 post with new information. The Oct. 26 post has been taken down.]

Minnesota state government spent $1.6 million in law enforcement, concrete barricades, and chain link fencing to “protect” the Capitol during the Treaties Not Tars Sands event, Aug. 23-27, according to data provided by the Department of Administration and the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Seven other agencies responded to DPS’s request for aid. Their costs are not included in that figure.

It’s another chapter in excessive policing of water protectors. It stands in stark contrast to the state’s lax response to Enbridge’s permit violations and the environmental damage done during construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota.

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State spent $100,000 for Capitol barricades during ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally and unknown law enforcement costs

This post has been taken down as it was out of date. For the most recent information, see: Law enforcement costs top $1.6 million for their presence during the August ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally at the Capitol

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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