Indigenous census numbers rise, court affirms health care as a treaty right, and This Day in History

In this blog:

  • The number of Indigenous people in the U.S. jumps, Census says
  • Federal court affirms health care as a treaty right
  • This Day in History: The Treaty of Paris and Great Britain’s betrayal of Native allies
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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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Walz flops on question about what his Line 3 support says about his climate leadership

I spoke to candidate Tim Walz twice when he was running for Governor in 2017, once at a house party, once at a DFL unity event at a St. Paul brewery.

Both times I asked him one question: Where do you stand on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline?

Both times he assured me he opposed the project. “Peggy would never let me do that,” he said, a reference to his running mate, Peggy Flanagan, an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation and then an outspoken Line 3 critic.

Walz spoke briefly about Line 3 Friday on MPR. I wasn’t surprised at his comments, but still angry.

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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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Four-day ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ Encampment opens on the State Capitol Mall

A dozen tepees went up on the Minnesota State Capitol Mall Monday.

Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 contradictions around racial equity.

Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order in 2019 committing the state to meaningful consultation with Native Nations. He followed that up by allowing Enbridge to build its Line 3 tar sands pipeline over strong tribal opposition with little or no consultation.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has touted its racial justice framework. When the agency approved permits for Enbridge Line 3, a majority of its Environmental Justice Working Group resigned, writing: “… we cannot continue to legitimize and provide cover for the MPCA’s war on black and brown people.”

Native grandmothers, water protectors, and their allies are not letting up. They have set up camp on the Capitol lawn as a sign both of their ongoing resistance to Line 3 and their long-standing commitment to uphold treaty rights.

The state has responded with fear: erecting fencing around the Capitol and sending a heavy police presence.

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A song to lift your spirits, a gathering to show our power: #StopLine3

Water protectors continue marching, organizing, suing in court, and putting their bodies on the line to stop the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

Enbridge said in a Canadian filing that tar sands oil could start flowing through Line 3 as early as Sept. 15.

The Minnesota state government and its regulatory bodies have failed us at every turn. The federal government and its regulatory bodies have failed us at every turn.

We need to replenish our spirits. We need to keep working to stop Line 3. Pipeline construction might be nearing completion, but that doesn’t mean it ever should be allowed to operate and carry oil. See below.

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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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