Hundreds Opposed to Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline Flood St. Paul Public Hearing

Crowd packs Line 3 public hearing.

I attended a public hearing on the Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline expansion Tuesday, an event that didn’t get a lot of media attention. The proposed pipeline would cross northern Minnesota, violating Anishinaabe treaty rights and threatening the Mississippi headwaters and many wild rice areas. I wrote about it for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter’s blog. Here’s the start:

If the public hearing on the Line 3 tar sands in St. Paul Tuesday is any bellwether, the project should be stopped – just like Sandpiper. The overwhelming majority of attendees spoke against the Line 3 plan, which threatens the Mississippi headwaters region and many clean lakes and rivers in northern Minnesota.

More than 350 people packed a large hall at St. Paul’s Intercontinental Hotel. More than 80 percent of speaker s opposed the project and criticized the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) under discussion. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, the lead agency on the DEIS, had allotted two hours for comment. So many people wanted to speak they added an extra half hour to the event and still didn’t get through the list of people who wanted to speak.

Sierra Club volunteer Jean Ross was one of nearly 50 people who did get the microphone. She asked the Department of Commerce tough questions about why the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) didn’t have a stronger voice in decisions about Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 pipeline expansion. Ross said the DEIS fell short because it did not include a “no-build” option. “Be part of the future, not part of the past,” she said.

For the full post, click here.

Students Lead Effort to Dump “Ramsey” as School Name, Replace it with “Justice Page”

Alan Page
Alexander Ramsey

Students at Ramsey School Middle School in Southwest Minneapolis are asking the Minneapolis School Board to change the school name to Justice Page Middle School to honor Minnesota Vikings football great and retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page.

The School Board meets tonight to vote on the measure.

Students didn’t feel it was right to continue to honor Ramsey. Ramsey was one of the architects of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux (1851) which forced the Dakota to give up their land, then cheated them out of their promised money to the benefit of fur traders. The U.S. government’s failure to live up the terms of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux led to Dakota starvation and sparked the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862. Following the war, Ramsey pushed to exile all Dakota people from the state and offered bounties for Dakota scalps.

Students have a website called: RENAME Alexander Ramsey Middle School Information Site. It includes a statement of support from Gov. Mark Dayton:

​“I support the students, staff, and community at Alexander Ramsey Middle School, who are leading an important discussion on the name of their school. Governor Ramsey’s encouragement of violence against innocent people is appalling, and I repudiate it fully. That violent language and behavior may have been commonplace 150 years ago in Minnesota, but it is not acceptable or allowable today.

Action Alert: Public Meeting Tuesday to Stop Tar Sands Pipeline; Mayan Weavers Seek Stop to Cultural Appropriation

New Honor the Earth map on Enbridge Line 3.

Please attend a public hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, June 13, to speak against a proposed tar sands pipeline in northern Minnesota that threatens our environment and puts a disproportionate burden on the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) people.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on Enbridge Line 3 and is holding hearings to get public comments. The only metro area hearing is Tuesday, 6-9 p.m. at Intercontinental Hotel Saint Paul, 11 E. Kellogg Boulevard. The Department of Commerce will rewrite the DEIS based on public comment.

Enbridge has an existing Line 3 tar sands pipeline which is old and failing. It proposes to abandon it in the ground and install a larger pipeline along a new route. The new route crosses the Mississippi headwaters region and threatens 17 prime wild rice lakes.

The final EIS will play a significant role in the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s decision whether or not to approve the pipeline. Please come and make your voice heard!

Our previous blog, “Environmental Justice” Analysis of Proposed Crude Oil Pipeline is Flawed, Lacks Native Voices, pulls out a few key quotes from the draft EIS section on Environmental Justice:

Disproportionate and adverse impacts would occur to American Indian populations in the vicinity of the proposed [Line 3] Project.

Continue reading

Dakota Elders Call Dakota Community Meeting to Discuss Walker Art Center’s “Scaffold” Sculpture

Dakota Elders Announcement

On Tuesday 7:00 PM May 30, 2017 all Dakota traditional spiritual elders are invited to meet to discuss how to respond to the “Scaffold” sculpture that is currently under construction by Walker Art Center on Minneapolis Park and Recreation Land in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The intent of the Elder meeting is to share the information about the structure, to hear a timely written update from the Walker Art Center, and to make decisions about the priorities for next steps for the structure, specifically:

  1. Elders’ wishes regarding the structure
  2. who will be in the working group to plan a ceremony
  3. how to involve the Dakota community including the youth as well as Native artists in this historic event, and future discussions of the important role that art plays in truth-telling
  4. which twelve Elders are available/willing to attend the first face to face meeting with the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Minneapolis administrator and the artist, Sam Durant, on Wednesday May 31.

All Dakota are encouraged and invited to respond with their insights in this process. This is an opportunity for parents to engage the children in learning about their history and for the students and professions to use their position to help share our truth, our history. Because of the quick timing of this first meeting and the fact that many Dakota cannot travel to this meeting, you may send/share your response to an Elder who will carry that intention forward in prayer to the meeting.

This Elder meeting will be open to all Dakota elders on Tuesday May 30th 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at All My Relations Gallery, 1414 Franklin Ave Minneapolis Minnesota. We welcome all Dakota who come with a good heart, with respect for the ancestors, the elders, our traditional ways and our Sacred sites for the opening prayer and announcements. No press please. This is only the first of many meetings to help create a process of healing and to help educate through Dakota truth-telling of our own history.

The next step will be the face-to-face meeting of Dakota spiritual and traditional elders with the related parties Wednesday morning 9:30 to 12:30 to discuss next steps, followed by a joint press announcement at 2 PM of any logistic decisions made. Recognizing that the presence of the sculpture is very volatile to our community, that timeliness and participation by all related parties is very important, the focus of this part of the mediation process will be discussing the logistics. Broader education for the staff and public will come later. The Walker Art Center and Park Board has agreed to push back the Grand Opening of the sculpture garden until Saturday June 10 to allow for more attention to this process and for good faith efforts at dialogue by all parties.

We call upon all Dakota to pray for wisdom and for healing. We request that all press wait for the joint announcement on Wednesday after our private mediation meeting rather than seeking individual statements from our community. We ask all non-Dakota allies to not take action on our behalf; please respectfully allow us space to conduct our process in our way and timing, that we may heal.


Upcoming Events: “We Eat Well Together” Event; Indian Youth Olympics; and For Directions Art Crawl

Saturday, May 20 is the harmonic convergence of several important indigenous-led events. Good news: they are scheduled just right so you catch all three.

First up: Dream of Wild Health invites the public to its “We All Eat Well Together” education and celebration event, Saturday, May 20, starting at 10 a.m. in the parking lot of Pow Wow Grounds, 1414 East Franklin Ave. The event is in partnership with the Indigenous Food Network. Here is the schedule:

  • There will be a plant seedling sale throughout the event.
  • 10:30 a.m. Sacred Medicines Workshop with Elder and DWH Cultural Director, Ernie Whiteman
  • 11:30 a.m. Salad Making Demonstration by DWH Youth Leaders
  • 12:30 p.m. How to Plant for Seed Saving Workshop – to include seed distribution from our collection of saved seeds

This entire event helps to teach you how to go through the entire cycle from seed to salad, from season to next growing season! Spread the word! Invite your friends!

Dream of Wild Health (DWH) is centered at a 10-acre organic farm in Hugo, Minnesota, its website says. The farm is a place to gather and work as a resource for the Native Community. It is a place of learning, a place of celebration, a place of being, becoming and belonging. The farm is a model put into practice. It is a place of safety for kids. It is a place to regenerate and re-propagate the seed. It is a place to keep alive the vision of our values. Continue reading

Dakota Truth-Telling Gathering at Fort Snelling May 4-6; “Bde Maka Ska” Name Restoration Moves Forward

New sign planned at Historic Fort Snelling

Today through Saturday, Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote will host the Dakhóta Wówičakhe Wóyakapi Omníčiye or Dakota Truth-Telling Gathering. Dakota people will come together to share community knowledge, teachings, and stories with one another, according to an email from the Minnesota Historical Society.

Props to the Historical Society for doing the event. Here is what I know after talking to MHS staff. If you go, stop at the Visitor’s Center for information.

Today, Thursday

  • This afternoon, starting around 1:30-2 p.m. there will be speakers inside the walls of the historic fort.
  • Tonight, there will be a Lacrosse game inside the Fort.


  • 9-11 a.m, there will be more speakers and discussion within the walls of the Fort.
  • 11:30 a.m., there will be an event in the Visitor Center’s auditorium.
  • At 1:30 p.m. they will show the documentary: “We are a Horse Nation.”


  • Starting at 9 a.m., more speakers and discussion.

Also of note, the Fort is changing its signage this summer to read: Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote. Here is a link to the announcement I received.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board also in moving forward with an important name change.

Name Restoration of Bde Maka Ska Moves Forward

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted yesterday to restore the name Bde Maka Ska to Lake Calhoun, a change that now has to be approved by the Hennepin County Board, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.

Signs around the Lake now use both Bde Maka Ska and Lake Calhoun. MPR has a good summary of the story. It notes:

Supporters of the change say it’s offensive to name anything after John C. Calhoun. Not only was the U.S. vice president an ardent supporter of slavery, he was also an architect of the Indian Removal Act, which President Andrew Jackson signed in 1830. …

Click on the link above for more details.

Gov. Dayton Needs to Veto Deeply Flawed Energy Bill that Fast Tracks Enbridge Line 3

People rallied outside the Minnesota House Chamber with signs, drums, chanting and prayers, opposing the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline and the Energy bill that supports it. They left a path for House members to get to the chamber.
Rally outside the Minnesota House of Representatives opposing Line 3.

From a blog by the Sierra Club North Star Chapter:

More than 125 people gathered in front of the Minnesota House of Representative’s chambers Thursday for an emergency rally opposing a deeply flawed jobs and energy bill. The bill weakens public review of proposed crude oil pipelines in Minnesota in general, and it specifically fast tracks the Enbridge Line 3 tars sands oil pipeline proposal.

Enbridge wants to replace its badly deteriorating Line 3 crude oil pipeline with a new and larger pipeline – and reroute it in the process. The new path would take it through the Mississippi headwaters regions, risking great environmental damage if there were a rupture. The proposed route also runs through prime wild rice areas and violates treaty rights which give Ojibwe people hunting, fishing and gathering rights to a large section of northern Minnesota.

For full blog, click here.