A canoe floats through a Minnesota wild rice lake on a sunny day. Photo by Brett Whaley.
Advocacy & News

Indigenous + Environmental Justice: What You Need To Know About The Stop Line 3 Movement

It’s critical we support Indigenous communities in protecting their land and lifeways from extractive industries; with one such call to action happening right now to stop Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline crisscrossing Minnesota’s lakes and wetlands. If you’re new to hearing about this Indigenous rights and environmental issue, here’s what you need to know and how you can help …

The current construction of the new Line 3 oil pipeline extension corridor into Minnesota cuts through ecologically sensitive wetlands and culturally significant treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples. Enbridge is effectively presiding over the destruction of land used for water and food supplies that sustain Native American nations; like the Ojibwe, Odawa, Chippewa, Potawatomi, Oji-Cree and Saulteaux. The many prodigious wild rice lakes within Line 3’s path, for example, are a food staple for the Native communities who live off the land; Enbridge has already laid waste to several of them by draining them without permission from tribal leaders.

Background Image - A photo by Brett Whaley of a canoe floating through a Minnesota wild rice lake on a sunny day. Foreground Text - Indigenous & Environmental Justice: What You Need To Know About The Stop Line 3 Movement.
Background image by Brett Whaley.

The environmental and cultural impact of Line 3 doesn’t stop with destroying a traditional food source, although that’s reason enough to oppose it. The ecological impact of oil pipeline spills is potentially devastating; the Enbridge system itself is responsible for two of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history — 1.7 million gallons spilt in Grand Rapids, MN in 1991 and 1 million gallons at the Kalamazoo River, MI in 2010. There’s even been a recent more minor spill in July this year at Willow River, MN.

Despite what Enbridge and pipeline enthusiasts would compel us to believe about their safety, oil pipelines are a direct threat to vital ecosystems and waterways — and it’s often Indigenous communities that are on the frontlines of this fight.

Line 3 isn’t about safe transportation of a necessary product, it’s about expansion of a dying tar sands industry. Line 3 would contribute more to climate change than Minnesota’s entire economy. Minnesota’s own Department of Commerce found our local market does not need Line 3 oil. We need to decommission the old Line 3 and justly transition to a renewable, sustainable economy. | StopLine3.org

A Stop Line 3 protector at a Protect the Water, Revoke the Permits! Rally in St Paul, Minnesota holds up a sign with a drawing of a leaking Enbridge tar sands pipeline. Photo by Lorie Shaull.
Photo by Lorie Shaull

Indigenous communities that border the Line 3 pipeline route equally and emphatically oppose its construction because of documented increases in violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking; connected to the arrival of significant numbers of male pipeline construction workers. These “man camps” or temporary settlements near tribal lands deliver a direct impact on the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirits (MMIWG2S); often with no justice for the victims and their families because the perpetrators within the man camps are outsiders (beyond tribal jurisdiction) and frequently move on from one work area to the next making them difficult to trace.

Stopping Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline is literally about protecting Indigenous lives on a physical, cultural and environmental level. It’s time we become bold and intentional with our allyship, especially if we’re non-Indigenous. Here’s what we can do to amplify Indigenous voices and stop line 3 …

  • If you’re within the U.S. text PUCZGE to 50409 which will send an automatic letter to your representative on your behalf. No talking is required, but you will need to provide your name and address so that the right government official can be located
  • Tweet your support/share information and get the following hashtags trending: #StopLine3Pipeline and #StopLine3
  • Donate, get involved and follow the work of Stop Line 3 — they have the latest information, action points, study guides and more
  • Donate to the Stop Line 3 Bail Funds who provide financial help to those arrested on the frontlines for opposing Enbridge’s Line 3 expansion
A poster from the Chase Bank, Stop Funding Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline protest has a graphic design of an Indigenous woman with green hair surrounded by wild rice motifs and the words ‘Defund Line 3’. Photo by Mark Dixon.
Photo via Mark Dixon
  • Divest from the following banks that fund Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline: Bank of America | Bank of Montreal | Barclays | BNP Paribas | CIBC | Citi | Crédit Agricole | Credit Suisse | Deutsche Bank | HSBC | JPMorgan Chase | Mizuho | MUFG | National Bank of Canada | RBC | Scotiabank | SMBC Group | TD | Truist Financial
  • Share any and all information you can to get this movement into the national and global media to raise awareness and garner support

Right now is the time for action, please thoroughly explore what steps you can take to make a difference. Don’t let complacency obscure the lines that connect climate action, protecting Indigenous sovereignty rights and colonialism’s continued march to take control of tribal lands. Recognize this for what it is; brutality that benefits Big Oil multinationals even though they are knowingly and profoundly responsible for the environmental collapse of our only home.


Further Info:

IPCC 2021 Report

Biden Betrays Election Promises and Anishinaabe Water Protectors by Backing Line 3 – Cultural Survival

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42 thoughts on “Indigenous + Environmental Justice: What You Need To Know About The Stop Line 3 Movement”

  1. This is such an important conversation that we should all be having. We live in a society that has brushed the damages done to the indigenous communities under the rug for far too long. It’s time that we shine a light not only on the injustices throughout history but also on everything that continues to happen today. It’s easy to shrug it all off as errors of the past, but it’s far from that!

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    1. Yes, exactly. It’s time we stand with them and amplify their voices and help support their fights. We’ve sat on the sidelines for too long — they’re literally fighting to save their land but also our climate. It impacts us all. Thank you so much for reading. Please help/support in any way that you can!

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  2. Thank you for sharing this. I knew nothing about this pipeline prior to reading this but it sounds like absolutely nothing good could come from it from any perspective at all (oil companies aside). Thank you for sharing the different ways you can support from anywhere in the world too, it’s really appreciated. It’s such a shame. You hear so much about the push for renewable sources etc then something like this seems to shatter everything in your head that was hopeful for positive change x

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    1. Nothing good will come out of it — except make money for Enbridge & its backers. It’s a multi-layered issue of ecological and cultural destruction as well as a crime/Indigenous women, girls and two spirits safety. We can move towards renewable energy and practices but Big Oil is so powerful they get to bully anyone in the path. Thank you so much for reading — please share, Tweet, donate, whatever you can to help!

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    1. It is so sad — oil pipelines here are a behemoth industry that will gladly lay waste to any area of natural, cultural and ecological important to make money. This is a pattern of practice we’ve seen time and time again so I hope Line 3 is stopped — for all our sakes. Thank you so much for reading!

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  3. Molly this is such an important post. Not being from the US, it’s really not something I’ve seen covered in media outlets from your country. I think it’s fantastic you’re raising awareness. There’s little I can do but I’m definitely sharing this on social media x

    Angasa Salome | Pastiche Mode Blog

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  4. Thank you for sharing this. We aren’t always aware of what goes on across continents. We often live in our own little bubbles. There are serious environmental matters happening and it’s thanks to bloggers like you for sharing them.

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    1. 100% agree — it’s an issue that ultimately impacts us all as Indigenous people are at the forefront of protecting the climate/environment (they always have and we’re just catching up with their traditional knowledge). It’s great that we can all help no matter how far away we are now that social media can spread info so easily. Thanks for reading!

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  5. I’m in the UK so had no idea about this specifically. If I’d heard about it I would have been worried about the ecological and environmental impact. It wouldn’t have occurred to me the impact it can have on the native populations. Thank you for writing about this.

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  6. Wow, thank you for educating me on this. Im not from the US and we were never taught about Native Americans when in school. Its really shocking what’s going on. I will be sure to share your post x

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  7. This is absolutely heartbreaking! Another example of big businesses trying to destroy more beautiful land all in aid of greed and profits. These beautiful areas need to be protected. As long as people kick up enough fuss about this and make lots of noise, that’s the only way to make the government listen. I really feel for the indigenous people of the area surrounding the wetlands. It must be a very stressful situation for them. I hope the pipeline doesn’t go ahead.

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    1. It seems to be the way of this world that governement/Big Business are not about saving or protecting anything that gets in the way of making money. The Indigenous communities around this pipeline are doing an incredible job but ultimately if Biden doesn’t step in and stop this (like he said he would) then it is likely that Big Oil will win again. Thanks for reading!

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  8. Thank you for sharing and raising awareness about this issue. I am from India so I had no idea that this was happening. Can’t even imagine the lasting consequences this will have on the environments. I hope the campaigners succeed.

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  9. This is a really important post. It is great that you share ways that people can actually take action and do something. We have similar issues in my hometown and it is really annoying that most people choose to close their eyes to the problem and do nothing about it. Thank you for sharing!

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  10. Thank you for raising awareness and showing how I can help this cause. I knew about the pipelines but hadn’t realised how dangerous it is and how much it’s going to impact the environment and other people! This is a really important post x

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    1. Sadly, many of the oil pipelines in the U.S. run across Indigenous land and under their water supplies. They spill all the time with the media often being complicit in its silence when (not) covering these stories. I am so glad you’ve found ways you can help via this post — you’re support is much needed. Thank you!

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  11. Such an amazingly informative post, Molly! There were a lot of protests where I live when they started and there was a lot of media coverage on it. So sad that it threatens Indigenous land and our overall environment. Thanks for sharing x

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

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    1. It’s terrible how many oil pipelines around the U.S. are built through Indigenous land without their permission or any consideration of the environmental impacts. Destroying sacred sites and vital water supplies for Native nations should never be allowed — but here we are again. I hope you can join the call to action in any way that’s possible, all help is much appreciated! Thank you for reading!

      Like

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