Minnesota Tribes Blocking TarSands Pipeline
March 21, 2013
Came across this video a few days ago, but there’s not a lot of media on this. Looks like another battleground and chokepoint for tar sands bitumen.
If anyone has more information, let me know.
For over two weeks now, Nizhawendaamin Inaakiminaan (We Love Our Land) has been occupying land directly above four pipelines across an easement that Enbridge has claimed since 1949 when the company, then called Lakehead Pipe Line Company, installed the first of four pipelines across land owned by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa despite not having an easement from the Red Lake Chippewa Nation. These pipes carry toxic tar sands, Bakken oil, as well as Canadian crude. By threatening the local lakes, these pipes endanger the lives and economic livelihood of Red Lake Band members.The grassroots group of Red Lake Chippewa and Anishinaabe Indians is joined by blockaders and solidarity activists determined to shut down the pipelines, hold Enbridge to account for stealing land, and protest Enbridge’s proposed expansion of the nearby Alberta Clipper toxic tar sands pipeline.Located in Northern Minnesota near the town of Leonard, the occupation of the Red Lake land began Thursday, February 28. Requests to Enbridge regarding internal safety regulations related to above-ground activity over their pipelines resulted in a spokesperson claiming that activity such as fires and the construction of permanent structures like fences and houses would result in a pipeline needing to be shut down as documented in this viral video.(above)
Most band members were unaware of Enbridge’s illegal activity until the encampment started. “When I was informed about the illegal trespassing of the company Enbridge on my homeland, I knew there was something I could do. I started calling as many Red Lakers as I could to try and make them aware,” said Angie Palacio who initiated the encampment with the support of the Indigenous Environmental Network.”
What happens when you’ve had enough of oil companies illegally passing pipelines through your tribal land? You practice self-determination and your sovereign rights to occupy that land. That is exactly what a group of Red Lake Tribal members are doing.
In a small town called Leonard in northern Minnesota, a traditional camp has been set up by Red Lake tribal members, allies and supporters. Lodging is in a tipi and a sacred fire is burning 24/7. The occupation started Thursday afternoon, February 28th and is still going strong today, Sunday, March 3rd. There is a safety law concerning oil pipelines that states nothing or no one can be above a pipeline for 72 hours or the pipeline will have to be shut off. The occupation is seeking to stop the oil flowing through their pipeline, for good. The 72-hour mark passed today, but no pipelines were turned off.
In talking to a few of the Red Lake tribal members, they explained this occupation is purely against the Enbridge Company and its pipeline. There are no ulterior motives here except to stand in solidarity with the First Nations Cree who are facing blatant environmental destruction on their homelands caused by the Canadian Tar Sands.
Some of the oil running through the veins of this pipeline come from the tar sands region. Tar sands oil is sent to Minneapolis, MN, one of many cities refining the bitumen oil and is dispersed across the nation through several different pipelines,this Enbridge pipeline being one of them.