PUC Buckles to Enbridge Threats, Nears Approval for Enbridge Line 3

Enbridge held a gun to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), threatening to continue operating a dangerously flawed crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota unless the commission approved construction of a new and larger pipeline.

It worked. Continue reading

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Religious Leaders Speak Out Against Enbridge Line 3 as Vote Looms this Month

Religious leaders gathered at Leif Erickson Park before crossing to the state Capitol to deliver their letter to Gov. Mark Dayton.
Curtiss DeYoung, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches

Curtiss DeYoung, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches, stood before a crowd of hundreds of people Monday afternoon at Leif Erickson Park to state the shared belief of many religious leaders that the state should reject the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline on moral grounds.

“Oftentimes the faith community historically has been on the wrong side, particularly as it relates to indigenous communities and sovereign nations who we are in relationship with.” DeYoung said. “Today we decided to be on the right side.”

The event was organized by the Minnesota Poor People’s Campaign, and Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MN IPL), and had the support of the Minnesota Council of Churches. (Star Tribune article here.)

The event, held just west of the state Capitol, included civil rights songs, a Jewish cantor, a brass band, chants, and a Buddhist moment of silence. It included indigenous prayer and truth-telling. It included a number of brief speeches from religious leaders from different traditions. But the event’s main goal was to Stop Line 3. To that end, the group delivered an interfaith letter opposing Line 3 to both Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Some 540 faith leaders signed.

Continue reading

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe: Reject Enbridge Line 3’s Certificate of Need and Route Permit

Part III of a series looking at Ojibwe Band responses to Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly’s report and recommendations on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline. [Note: Ojibwe is the colonial name for the Anishinaabe. Ojibwe is used in this story because of its use as an official band name.]

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s offered a unique response among the various Ojibwe bands to Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly’s report on the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline.

While other bands tended to focus on treaty rights, the Mille Lacs Band led with a strong argument on the economic reasons to deny Line 3. The Mille Lacs Band said: “THE EVIDENCE IN THE RECORD DOES NOT SUPPORT A NEED FOR THE PROJECT.”

O’Reilly’s report, and Mille Lacs response, were sent to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the body expected to vote on Line 3 in late June. The PUC will vote on Line 3’s Certificate of Need and Route Permit. The Mille Lacs letter addresses both issues.

Continue reading

PUC Sets Line 3 Deliberation Dates; Come to Block (Line 3) Party This Weekend!

Water protector car (file photo)

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has set the dates for oral arguments and deliberations on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline. When the final vote takes place depends on the pace of deliberations. At this point, it appears the vote would happen no sooner than Wednesday, June 27.

Here is the PUC schedule on Line 3:

Monday, June 18, 2018 – Oral Arguments
Tuesday, June 19, 2018 – Oral Arguments
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 – Oral Arguments/Commission Deliberations
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 – Oral Arguments/Commission Deliberations

We will provide the specific times when we get them, but the PUC typically starts meeting in the morning. We expect that both pipeline proponents and water protectors will try to pack the room. Show up if you can.

Officially, the PUC will be voting on Line 3’s Certificate of Need (whether Enbridge made the case the new line is needed) and on its Route Permit (Enbridge has a preferred route but alternative routes have been evaluated).

It’s anybody’s guess which way the vote will go. Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly took testimony on behalf of the PUC and issued her report last month. By her reckoning, the only way a new Enbridge Line 3 passes the “Needs” test is if Enbridge tears out the old line and rebuilds the new line in the same trench. That has the environmental and economic benefits of removing the old Line 3 Pipeline.

O’Reilly’s analysis runs counter to Enbridge’s plan to leave the old pipeline in the ground to rust and build a new pipeline along a new route.

Indigenous and environmental groups oppose any new pipeline. It would violate treaty rights, create climate change costs ($287 billion over 30 years); and pose huge crude oil spill risks for little if any benefit to the state.

Here are our recent posts on O’Reilly’s report:

Come to the Block (Line 3) Party at the PUC!

Come join pipeline resisters and water protectors at the Block (Line 3) Party in St. Paul, Friday May 18 to Saturday May 19. (Healing Minnesota Stories is an event partner.) Continue reading

Events: Feast and Celebration of Native Languages; Quillwork Workshops

Spring Feast for Native Language Revitalization April 19

Bdote Learning Center and Wicoie Nandagikendan are hosting a Spring Feast and Language Celebration Day next week, Thursday, April 19th, 6-8 p.m. at Bdote Learning Center, 3216 East 29th Street in Minneapolis. Mayor Jacob Frey will be joining the event at 6:30 pm to declare a language revitalization proclamation day. A traditional meal will be served. 

Wicoie Nandagikendan is an early childhood education language immersion program in Dakota and Ojibwe. Bdote is an elementary school with language immersion in Dakota and Ojibwe.

Quillwork Workshop

Two Rivers Gallery is pleased to announce that we will be a hosting another Quill Workshop taught by Miskwa-Mukwa Desjarlait. Miskwa was accepted in to the American Indian Family Empowerment Program supported by the Tiwahe Foundation to continue his work preserving and renewing cultural connections through teaching the cultural practices of quillwork.

We are currently seeking 25 participants ages 13+ to be involved in this project who will be able to commit to ALL 7 sessions. This program will run April 25th through June 13th, 2018.

Over the course of seven sessions students will learn the basics of quillwork through a series of smaller projects. They will start by learning wrapping techniques to make bracelets and will later move on to appliqué all the while creating their own designs.

In addition to learning techniques, students will learn about the history of quillwork along with the process of picking quills and dyeing them.

Once these sessions are complete, the students work will then be displayed in the gallery for up to eight weeks.

Registration Deadline: April 20th

Class Dates: April – 25th | May – 2nd, 9th, 16th, 30th | June – 6th, 13th

Class Time: Wednesdays, 5-7pm

Location: Two Rivers Gallery Community Art Space, 1530 E Franklin Ave., Minneapolis

Contact: Maggie Thompson | Gallery Manager, e: cthompson@maicnet.org | p: 612-879-1780

Native American-Themed Films @ MSP Film Society Film Festival

We wrote earlier this week about the film Dodging Bullets about Native American historical trauma that will be screened by the Minneapolis St. Paul Film Society as part of its upcoming film festival. Liz Oppenheimer brought to my attention that there were several more indigenous-themed films.

Here is the link and a summary of the films. (Films are $14 for general public and $11 for Film Society members.)

  • Badger Creek: A portrait of Native resilience as seen through a year in the life of three generations of a Blackfeet family living on the rez in Montana. (Friday, April 13, 4:20 p.m., and Saturday, April 28 , 1:30 p.m., both at St. Anthony Main 2.)
  • The Blessing: From the Emmy-winning filmmaking duo Jorden Fein and Hunter Baker, The Blessing follows a Navajo family in rural Arizona where the primary industry of coal mining is destroying the mountains held sacred to the community.(Sunday, April 22, 5:15 p.m.; Monday, April 23, 7:15 p.m.; and Saturday, April 28, 9:10 a.m. all at St. Anthony Main 2.)
  • Mud: Ruby faces the inescapable remnants of alcoholism, family, and culture. (Friday, April 13, 500 p.m., St. Anthony Main 5.)
  • Ohiyesa: The Soul of an Indian: Charles Alexander Eastman was a renowned physician, author, lecturer and Native American rights advocate. His life has been documented in various articles throughout history, but Ohiyesa: The Soul of an Indian makes for a truly unique effort—a project helmed by Eastman’s descendants. Kate Beane and her family bring Eastman’s story to screen, charting from his childhood growing to his education to his illustrious career. Sydney Beane made the film. (Friday, April 13, 4:20 p.m.; and Saturday, April 28, 1:30 p.m. at St. Anthony Main 2.)

The Film Festival’s closing film is The Rider. This one costs $30 for the general public and $25 for Film Society members. Admission includes entrance to the Closing Night Party at the A-Mill Club Room following the film screening.

  • The Rider: In Chloé Zhao’s resoundingly human film The Rider, the narrative is framed as both documentary and drama focused on 20-year-old rising rodeo star Brady Blackburn (played by Brady Jandreau) as he undergoes a crisis of identity. In America’s heartland, Brady suffers a head injury that almost kills him; forcing him to pick up the pieces of a life that has forever changed. A truly unique feature, the characters in The Rider, including Brady, are members of the actual Jandreau family, who have experienced events identical to many in the film.

The Modoc Indians’ Last Stand

Passing along a little known piece of history of Native American genocide, this one about the Modoc Indians’ Last Stand in northern California.

This story might be new to most, but the pattern is all too familiar: 1) Exposure to new diseases kills off many Modoc. 2) Settlers take Modoc lands. 3) Setters treat the Modoc as savages, killing them on various pretexts. 4) The inevitable U.S. government treaty forces them onto unfamiliar lands. 5) Desperate for their homeland, they try to return. 6) Their desire to be home triggers a war. 7) The Modoc suffer military defeat, further banishment, and loss of language and culture.

The California Sun wrote a very readable piece on this history. With the California Gold rush flooding the state with settlers and new diseases reducing the Modoc population by more than 80 percent, the Modoc signed a treaty forcing them to merge with the Klamath Nation in Oregon. The Modoc got homesick and tried to return to California, only to be met with military resistance. (The resulting fighting gets called the “Modoc War” as if the Modoc were the belligerents.)

While outnumbered, the Modoc’s knowledge of the local lava beds, they have enough of a military advantage to force treaty talks. President Grant sent Maj. Gen. Edward Canby to negotiate. When it became clear that the United States would not allow them to stay in California, Chief Kintpuash shot Canby dead during the peace talks.

More fighting follows, and Army reinforcements finally defeated the Modoc. Kintpuash was caught and hanged.

The rest of the Modoc were exiled to Oklahoma, where 200 descendants still live today. According to the story, “They reintroduced bison to the prairie and started a casino in the late 1990s. Their Modoc language and culture were largely forgotten.”

Click here for the story.

Here’s a link on the Modoc War