Red Lake Nation Asks Governor Dayton to Delay Release of EIS on Enbridge Line 3

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians (Anishinaabe) has written Governor Dayton to ask him to delay releasing the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on Enbridge Line 3. It is scheduled to be released today.

Line 3 is a proposed tar sands crude oil pipeline from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, via Minnesotas. It would travel 337 miles across northern part of our state, crossing the Mississippi River twice and threatening wild rice areas. It would violate treaty rights that allow the Anishinaabe to hunt, fish and gather wild rice on off-reservation lands.

In an Aug. 15 letter to Dayton, the Red Lake Tribal Council said the state’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) of Line 3’s impacts to tribal resources “is clearly inadequate.” It also raises concerns about the departure of Danielle Molliver, the state’s tribal liaison for the project, who recently quit over concerns that the state was not showing a good faith effort to work with tribes.

The letter continues:

In fact, the discussion of tribal impacts in the DEIS and the mitigation that is proposed appears to have been written by Enbridge itself. …

We are also very concerned about the tight time schedule that the Public Utilities Commission and Enbridge are focused on for getting the FEIS released to the Public. The Red Lake Tribal Council believes that it is more important that the drafters of the environmental impact statement meaningfully consider the myriad of issues raised through the public comment, rather than being singularly focused on a tight self-imposed time schedule.

We are also concerned about the abrupt departure of Ms. Danielle Molliver, the Tribal Liaison with the Minnesota Department of Commerce for Tribal Nations throughout the environmental impact statement process. Ms. Molliver opened doors for the Department of Commerce, and convinced tribal people to share their true feeling about the impacts of Enbridge’s proposed project.  Her abrupt departure casts a further cloud over the environmental impact statement process.

For more background on why Molliver quit, see our earlier blog.

The letter is reproduced below. Continue reading


Water Protector Updates from Minnesota to Maine; Burial Site on Fond du Lac Disturbed; Another Public Art Controversy … And More

Update on Enbridge Line 3:

Thanks to the people who are paying attention to Enbridge Line 3, the proposed tar sands crude oil pipeline that would cross 337 miles of northern Minnesota. The line would run from Alberta, through Minnesota, into Superior Wisconsin. While Minnesota is more than seven months away from a vote, Enbridge already has started work in Canada and Wisconsin. Here are photos of the work being done in Wisconsin from Neo Gabo Benais’ Facebook page.

Enbridge Line 3 would cross the Mississippi River, twice, and threaten wild rice areas. For more, see our Enbridge Line 3 page.

Penobscot Nation Thwarted in its Attempts to Protect the Waters of the Penobscot River

Here is another example of a Native nation trying to protect its sacred waters. In this case, the Penobscot are losing. Indian Country Today lays it out in a story:  Termination or Extermination for Penobscot Indian Nation? The State of Maine Declares Jurisdiction Over Penobscot River; Federal Courts Agree. The story says:

On June 30, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that severs the Penobscot Indian Nation from the waters of the Penobscot River, a ruling that Penobscot Indian Nation Chief Kirk Francis says is reminiscent of federal termination policy—or worse.

“The river and our relationship to it and the 200 islands [that form the reservation] are the core of our cultural identity. If our ability to protect the river is taken away, we lose a big part of who we are,” Francis told ICMN [Indian Country Media Network].

The Penobscot River has significant pollution problems already, the story said. A 2014 federal study recommended that members of the Penobscot nation limit themselves to eating one to two fish per month. That’s barely a meal. Young children and pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat river fish at all. That is a tremendous burden for nation that traditionally depends on fish for its diet, and a nation that cares deeply about the water.

More news follows. Continue reading

Broken Promises on Native Language Revitalization; Art Exhibit: Singing Our History

We do a pretty good job in this country of writing reports and making recommendations, where we fall down is implementation.

For example, on this day in history, Jan. 23, 1992, the White House was in the middle of the three-day conference on Indian Education. It issued a 57-page Executive Summary with many recommendations. Here are a few of those recommendations specific to Native languages.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that American Indian /Alaska Native students will have access to curriculum and material which provides accurate and relevant information on the language, history, and culture of the American Indian/Alaska Native. (p. 21)

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that successful Early Childhood Programs shall be affirmed by the President and Congress to include the following components ….7. Respect the use of Native American culture and language in the educational process of Indian children at an early age to enhance the level of pride and self-esteem in learning … (page 29)

Ensure the strengthening, preservation, and revival of native languages and cultures to permit students to learn their tribal language as a first or second language. (page 32)

You get the idea. Continue reading

New Student Capitol Art Project; Red Lake, Enbridge Settle Dispute; This Day in History: Landmark Policy Shift Towards Indian Self Determination

Congratulations to Anderson School art teacher Heather Alfred who just received funding from Minneapolis Public Schools to replicate Healing Minnesota Stories (HMS) student art project. The project’s goal is to teach students about the subtle and not-so-subtle cultural and historical messages in public art, particularly art in the Minnesota State Capitol. Students then are challenged to create their own Capitol art, and create artist statements about what the art means to them.

The grant will allow the school to buy good art and framing supplies and hold a public art exhibit at the end of the project. The funding also will support guest speakers. The money comes from the district’s “Achievement and Integration Award,” which aims to close the achievement gap, enhance the educational experience for students at racially identifiable schools; and create opportunities for increased interracial interaction.

Anderson will be the fourth school to participate. The other three schools — North View Junior High (Brooklyn Park), Northwoods Community School (Cook) and Oshki Ogimaag (Grand Portage) — have all also participated in HMS’s traveling art exhibit. We hope to add new art from Anderson soon.

Way to go, Heather!

Red Lake, Enbridge Settle Long-Standing Land Dispute

From the “Better Late Than Never” Department, MPR reported last week that Enbridge will pay Red Lake for 65 years of unauthorized use of tribal land.

After a nearly decade-long dispute, Enbridge will pay Red Lake Nation $18.5 million for less than half an acre of land.

Starting in 1950, Lakehead Pipeline, which is now owned by Enbridge, laid four oil pipelines through a small isolated section of Red Lake land. The tribe never gave the company permission, and was never paid for their use of the land.

Click on the link above for the full story.

This Day in History: Turning the Tide on Tribal Termination

Forty years ago, January 4, 1975, the Indian Self Determination and Education Act of 1975 was signed into law. This represented a major shift in federal policy, according to Wikipedia. It put a priority on Indian self determination and ended decades-long federal efforts to terminate tribes and erase treaty relationships and obligations.

Capitol Art Petition Update and News Wrap

Healing Minnesota Stories’ petition “Make the Minnesota State Capitol more welcoming: Remove offensive art, add inspiring art” continues to gain support. We are approaching 300 signatures and have our first institutional co-sponsor, World Without Genocide. Thanks to everyone who signed. If you haven’t signed, please click on the link above and consider sharing with your networks. Thank you!

News Wrap: New Book Recounts Red Lake History, Seattle passes Boarding School Resolution; and More