In 1961, the Line 3 pipeline was built out of defective steel by the Lakehead pipeline company. On Anishinabewaki land, this pipeline stretched from what is also known as Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. After 17 years of construction the 34-foot-wide, 1,031-mile pipeline was not tested entirely. As a result many ruptures and spills caused immeasurable damage to the environment it occupies. Line 3 crosses and occupies a vast amount of native territory including the Leech Lake, and Fond du Lac Reservations, and the l855, 1854, and l842 treaty areas.
Since 2013 the international oil pipeline company, Enbridge, has been attempting to push for construction of what they are referring to as a replacement for the existing Line 3 pipeline. However, what they are calling a replacement is larger, has a higher volume, and is in a new corridor from the previous pipeline, which will result in new damage and disrupt a larger area of indigenous land. This new pipeline would cross 227 bodies of water and break multiple treaties with the Ojibwe people that state their right to hunt, fish, and gather along the proposed route of the pipeline. The construction of Line 3 disregards the health and survival of indigenous people. It is not only an abuse of ancestral land, but places the livelihood and survival of many indigenous communities at risk.
Historically, pipelines and their construction have led to the invasion of native land by what are known as “Man Camps.” “Man Camps” are housing areas constructed to house the people, typically white men, who work on construction of large projects that occupy, or are located near native land. Studies have demonstrated that these encampments lead to higher rates of sex trafficking, drug trafficking, and violent crime; the effects of which are felt strongly by the indigenous communities they are disrupting. Men in these encampments frequently target women, children, and two spirit people for acts of sexual violence. These camps are a breeding ground for genocidal action committed against indigenous people, which is a direct result of valuing the monetary gains of a corporation over the survival, and freedom of indigenous people.
Though Enbridge is persistent in constructing Line 3, it has failed for the last seven years due to grassroot organizing. However, despite 60,000 Minnesota citizens and tribal members opposing the project on the record, and many lawsuits from environmental organizations and tribes, Enbridge received a water crossing permit in 2020. Since then, Enbridge has moved forward with construction on the new pipeline.
Land and water protectors of indigenous organizations and environmental justice organizations have mobilized and agitated the general public around the issue of Line 3. Indigenous organizations such as Tinyhouse Warriors have been organizing websites to educate the general public, emailing the current administration to prevent the construction, and even preventing legislation to be passed amongst many other notable action initiatives. As a result of progress made by grassroot organizing, state forces and Enbridge trained forces have taken action to suppress further resistance.
One of the leading grassroot organizations that has been spearheading this movement is the Tiny House Warriors. They are a group of indigenous land and water defenders who are creating tiny houses strategically along the 518 km Trans Mountain pipeline route in order to not only block the access to this pipeline, but provide housing to Secwepemc families facing houselessness. The Tiny House Warriors have taken action by creating human barricades in order to stop the construction of the pipeline in Secwepemc territory, or so-called Northern Wisconsin. Because of the progress the Tiny House Warriors have made in the fight against Enbridge, one of their village sites near Blue River, BC was raided by people believed to be Trans Mountain Corporation workers or contractors and private security personnel. They destroyed the barricades surrounding the camp as well as an exhibition of red dresses that was meant to draw attention to the ongoing epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women, and children. The invaders then
placed their own steel fences blocking access to the road, and to the only nearby water source. This direct act of violence further exemplifies the genocidal mindset of Enbridge and its supporters. Organizers like the Tiny House Warriors are fighting to protect their land and their people, while Enbridge and the government officials that support them are fighting for profit off genocide.
Kanahus Manuel, Mayuk Manuel, Snutetkwe Manuel, and Isha Jules of the Secwepemc Nation have been charged with theft, assault, and mischief disturbance. Police have used these charges to interfere with the Title and Rights that the Secwepemc people have to their land. They justify these arrests by calling it theft and assault when in actuality the police weaponizing charges against indigenous people to uphold the settler state and support the Enbridge corporation. They are active participants in violence against the indigenous communities. Despite this, the Secwepemc Nation as well as other indigenous nations continue to grassroot organize because they understand that Line 3 will not only cause harm to the earth, but horribly disfigure their homeland.
The injustices committed by the Enbridge corporation demonstrate the dire need for collective resistance. Inaction will lead to massive suffering within the Secwepemc Nation and all indigenous groups that inhabit the land the Line 3 pipeline is being built upon. Pipelines like Line 3 are built in order to make profit and defend the elite few. It is not enough to observe what is happening in so-called Canada and Wisconsin while allies and Tiny House Warriors lay their lives on the line in order to protect their ancestral land. All people must understand the land struggle between indigenous people and the current settler state political regime that continues to uphold the genocidal colonial system. We must recognize that in order to overcome colonial power, all marginalized and oppressed people must unite against the common enemy and take action so that we can see material change in our lifetime and the lives of the generations after.
Here are some ways you can take action against the Line 3 pipeline:
● Write a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers’ Jaime Pinkham
● Donate to the front lines here
● Donate to honor the earth
● Share information with your communities
● Go to the front lines and fight against Enbridge