“Spiritual Leaders Oppose Line 3 Police Brutality” sign-on letter

We saw the police violence that occurred at Standing Rock, where Indigenous water protectors and allies were trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. We saw the police violence that occurred across the country in response to protests following George Floyd’s murder.

People are concerned about police violence that could occur in northern Minnesota in response to construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline. We know there is strong opposition. We know that the state started organizing the “Northern Lights Task Force” in 2018, a coalition of law enforcement agencies preparing for Line 3 protests, including training and stockpiling gear. The Canadian pipeline corporation Enbridge is helping to coordinate communications, resources, and even funding the purchase of policing equipment through the Public Utilities Commission.

Our friends at Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light are circulating a sign-on letter for religious and spiritual leaders to preempt a violent response. Please share this with any religious or spiritual leaders you know. Continue reading

Protecting our Sacred Water: A Gathering at the Headwaters, and other events

Photo: Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light.

You are invited to “Protecting our Sacred Water: A Gathering at the Headwaters” at Lake Itasca State Park, on the weekend of September 21-22.

As part of a global week of climate action, Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light and Honor the Earth will once again bring an interfaith voice to the environmental justice movement. Join us for our second year at the Headwaters of the Mississippi River for a community gathering and prayer circle to honor the sacredness of water. We’ll learn about Treaty Rights, pipeline routes, language and culture, and more. The weekend will culminate with a prayer circle at the Mississippi Headwaters in which leaders from every major faith tradition will affirm the sacred nature of water and our moral commitment to protecting life, and saying no Line 3.

Details on the Facebook Event Page. RSVP here. More events follow.

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At Critical Juncture, Faith Leaders Call on Gov. Walz to Stop Enbridge Line 3

Healing Minnesota Stories Founder Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs joined other faith leaders today in calling on Gov. Walz to halt Enbridge Line 3.

Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs, founder of Healing Minnesota Stories, joined roughly 75 other faith and indigenous leaders who gathered in the Governor’s Conference Room today to pray, sing, hold an Anihsinaabe water ceremony, and make a clear demand that Gov. Tim Walz stop the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline — an unnecessary and dangerous project that violates treaty rights.

“Today, my message to Gov. Walz is that you cannot claim to be an ally to indigenous people when you knowingly introduce toxins into the food and water systems. And that is exactly what Enbridge Line 3 will do,” said Jacobs, who is a member of the Mohican Nation. “… I stand with all of you in hope that Gov. Walz will take heroic action and sign an executive order halting Line 3 where it stands,”

At a minimum, Jacobs said Walz needs to support a Minnesota Department of Commerce lawsuit to stop Line 3, an action begun by former Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration. The suit argues Enbridge failed to prove the new and expanded Line 3 was needed. The Walz administration is now reevaluating the lawsuit and the Governor is expected to announce early next week which side he will take.

Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light organized the event. (Note: There’s still time to call the Governor this weekend — 651-201-3400to oppose Line 3.) Continue reading

Faith Communities to Call on Gov. Walz to Stop Line 3 at Feb. 8 Action

Faith leaders and community members from all religious traditions are invited to join a spiritually grounded action against the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota on Friday, Feb. 8. The action will be held in solidarity with Indigenous Water Protectors. This is a moral action on the pressing issues of climate change and racial justice. Here are the details:

Date: Friday, Feb. 8
Time: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Location: Governor Walz’s Office, State Capitol, St. Paul. (Gather in the Rotunda at 11:15 a.m.) Continue reading

PUC Casts Final Pro Pipeline Vote: Line 3 Opposition Now Heads to the Courts, Streets, Camps, Pulpits, and Gov. Walz’s Office

The Minnesota Senate Building opens at 7:30 a.m. but the powers-that-be required those wanting to attend the PUC hearing on Line 3 to wait outside in the cold until after 9 a.m. to get inside

As expected, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today rejected requests to reconsider its approval of the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota. As predictable as it was, the decision remains heart breaking.

Pipeline Resisters visited with Gov. Tim Walz transition staff Randolph Briley and Alexis Kochanski after the PUC vote.

Red Lake, White Earth, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Honor the Earth, the Sierra Club, the Youth Climate Intervenors, and Friends of the Headwaters had asked the PUC to reconsider approving Line 3. Commissioners summarily and unanimously dismissed their request, 5-0. The PUC continued to ignore the Environmental Impact Statement’s conclusion that Line 3 would generate $287 billion in climate damage. It continued to ignore the Administrative Law Judge’s findings that approving Enbridge’s preferred route failed to meet the cost/benefit test. It continued to ignore Commerce’s conclusion that Enbridge failed to prove Line 3 was needed. It continued to ignore the impacts the pipeline would have on treaty rights.

The PUC took no comments from intervening parties asking for reconsideration. The whole process probably lasted five minutes, enough time for a few commissioners to say they had already considered these issues and there was nothing more to talk about.

The PUC gave Enbridge pretty much everything it wanted. It’s an example of corporate capture, where the government institutions created to protect the public get co-opted by corporate interests. Its the Minnesota version of what is happening with the Environmental Protection Agency.

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News and Events: Mississippi Headwaters Gathering; Healing Place Festival; and More

Items in this blog:

  • Protecting our Sacred Water: A Gathering at the Mississippi Headwaters, Sept. 22-23
  • Healing Place Festival, Sept. 15
  • Why are Native American Women Vanishing?
  • Artist, Design Selected for the National Native American Veterans Memorial in DC

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Water Protectors Ask You To Call Gov. Dayton to Stop Line 3!

Water Protectors occupied an intersection in downtown Bemidji Wednesday to put Gov. Dayton on notice that opposition to Enbridge Line 3 is not going away.

By Scott Russell

Approximately 50 Anishinaabe leaders, faith leaders, and environmental activists occupied an intersection in downtown Bemidji for about three hours Wednesday to continue to bring attention to the tremendous risks posed by the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline and to pressure Gov. Mark Dayton to take a stand opposing it.

Simultaneous to the Bemidji action, other water protectors occupied the anteroom at Dayton’s Capitol office with laptops to Live Stream the event. Twenty-six water protectors eventually received disorderly conduct citations from Bemidji police when they refused the order to disperse.

Dayton has declined to take a position on Line 3. For the past year, he has said he wanted to wait and let the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) make its decision. That decision came in June, and it was irresponsible. The PUC went against the advice of state regulators and the Administrative Law Judge reviewing the proposal and approved Line 3.

The project threatens Minnesota’s clean waters and the world’s climate. The main beneficiary is a large Canadian corporation.

Dayton’s silence is his tacit approval with the project moving forward. The action was meant to let Dayton know that opposition is not going away.

Call the Governor at 651-201-3400 or 800-657-3717 and let him know that you expect him to do everything in his power to ensure that the Line 3 tar sands pipeline is never built.

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Events: Mendota Pow Wow; Mississippi Headwaters Line 3 Vigil; Iowa Climate March Against DAPL; and More!

Here are several upcoming events to consider for your calendar:

  • First Nation Farmer Climate Unity March against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Iowa, Sept. 1-8
  • Mendota Mdewakanton Tradition Pow Wow, Sept. 7-9 in Mendota
  • Book Event: The Relentless Business of Treaties: How Indigenous Land Became U.S. Property, Sept. 13 at the Minnesota State Capitol
  • Water Protector Weekend and Mississippi Headwaters Vigil, Sept. 22-24

Details follow. Continue reading

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.

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Events: Dialogue on Crude Oil Pipeline Impacts on Treaty Rights; Dakhota Language and Scavenger Hunt at Mia

Line 3 marker near Bemidji

Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light is hosting an interactive discussion on treaty rights and crude oil pipelines, Sunday, Feb. 25th, 1-3 p.m., at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 1895 Laurel Ave., Saint Paul. Here is the Facebook post.

The discussion will include the history and continued significance of treaties in Minnesota, and the impact of the proposed Line 3 pipeline on treaty rights today.

Quick background: Canadian pipeline company Enbridge has several tar sands crude oil pipelines running through northern Minnesota. (They enter the state’s northwest corner and run southeasterly to connect with other pipelines in Superior, Wisc.)
Enbridge Line 3 is old and failing. Enbridge’s plan is to abandon Line 3 in the ground and build a new and larger pipeline along a new route. The new route avoids crossing reservation lands, but it does cross large areas of what is known ans 1855 treaty territory. These are lands where the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) have protected rights to hunt, fish and gather. The Line 3 review process has done little to nothing to recognize those treaty rights.
Line 3’s new route also crosses the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
Rev. Robert Two Bulls will lead the Sunday discussion. He is a Missioner for the Department of Indian Work and Multicultural Ministries of the Episcopal Church of Minnesota.

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