Tribal leaders and Native activists warn that pipeline threatens sacred waters, violates treaty 

The Bay Mills Indian Community opposes Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline because it violates the Treaty of 1836 and is a threat to their sacred waters. The pipeline, initially given an easement in 1953, has been the center of controversy in the Upper Peninsula for several years. As part of the Treaty of 1836, BMIC reserved for all time the right to fish, hunt, and gather in the ceded land and waters of the state of Michigan – including the ceded waters of Lake Superior, Huron, and Michigan, which includes the Straits of Mackinac. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer revoked the easement allowing the company to operate on May 12, yet Enbridge continues to operate illegally.
courtesy Red Road to DC

Tribal members from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and Native organizers today called on President Biden to take immediate action to shut down Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline.   

In an event held as part of the Red Road to DC, a cross-country tour highlighting Indigenous sacred sites at risk, tribal members and Indigenous activists said the pipeline is a violation of the Treaty of 1855 and a threat to their sacred waters. Organizers of the Red Road tour stopped in Minnesota to display a totem pole by Lummi Nation carvers to highlight sacred sites at risk due to development and infrastructure projects.  

Construction of the Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline faces active and growing resistance led by Indigenous groups who see the project and the risk of a spill as a violation of treaty rights, as the project endangers wild rice lakes in treaty territories where the Anishinaabe have the right to hunt, fish, and gather.  

“The Trump administration railroaded the permitting process and allowed the pipeline construction to proceed despite state findings about the devastating environmental impacts,” said Sasha Beaulieu, founder of the Red Lake Treaty Camp who was hired by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa to monitor Enbridge’s construction. “President Biden must take immediate action to stop construction and require a full, federal environmental impact statement. Every day that passes is a violation of our treaty rights.”  

The Treaty of 1855 was signed by several bands of Chippewa and Ojibwe people, permitting fishing, hunting, and gathering in traditional territories in exchange for ceded lands.  

“My people have lived here for 10,000 years,” said Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth. “Now a Canadian company wants to come in and threaten our waters and our wild rice. Just one spill would devastate our waterways. It’s time for President Biden to finally step up and take action to stop Line 3. His inaction is putting money in the pockets of Canadian billionaires who want to profit off of running poison through our treaty-protected territory.”   

About Honor the Earth 

Our mission is to create awareness and support for Native environmental issues and to develop needed financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities. Honor the Earth develops these resources by using music, the arts, the media, and Indigenous wisdom to ask people to recognize our joint dependency on the Earth and be a voice for those not heard. To learn more, visit https://www.honorearth.org. 

More info: For additional information, photos, and a full list of tour stops, visit redroadtodc.org. Learn more about the work of water protectors resisting Line 3 at https://www.stopline3.org/issues 

 

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