Water protectors and state sanctioned violence

Protecting water from fossil fuel pipeline projects is an example of #LANDBACK. There is the devastation to the earth during extraction of fossil fuels, during pipeline construction, and when the pipelines leak. The tons of carbon dioxide that will be added to our atmosphere when that fuel is burned. The acidification of the oceans as the water attempts to absorb some of the carbon dioxide from the air.

The routes of pipelines are an example of blatant environmental racism. As just one example, the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) was originally going to be built upstream of Bismarck, North Dakota. When there was an uproar from the people there who were concerned about contamination of their water, it was moved to cross the Missouri River just a mile upriver from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
(see: Bismarck residents got the Dakota Access Pipeline moved without a fight)

The world saw the despicable display of heavily militarized law enforcement personnel and their equipment attacking Indigenous people who were praying to protect the water.

And silence, never been so loud
And the violence, never been so proud of our people.

So many times Indigenous treaty rights were and continue to be violated.

I’m sharing some of my own experiences with fossil fuel pipelines to show how widespread this work to protect the water has been, and continues to be. In Indianapolis in 2013 I was trained to organize and lead nonviolent direct actions as part of the Keystone Pledge of Resistance. Eight years later Enbridge Energy has cancelled the Keystone pipeline project.

I supported the Wet’suwet’en peoples in British Columbia as they struggled to prevent the construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline through their beautiful lands. Multiple times militarized Royal Canadian Mounted Police attacked the First Nations people.

I participated in gatherings to protect the water from the Dakota Access Pipeline in Indianapolis, Iowa and Minnesota. Numerous water protectors were arrested by the state.

I haven’t been involved with the current work against the Line 3 pipeline. (see: Stop Line 3 ). But I am writing about recent events there because there is good news about stopping, at least temporarily, state sanctioned violence against water protectors at Line 3.

In a development progressives called a “huge legal win in the fight against Line 3,” a Minnesota court on Friday ordered police in Hubbard County to stop impeding access to the Giniw Collective’s camp, where anti-pipeline activists have been organizing opposition to Enbridge’s multibillion-dollar tar sands project.

Last month, (county sheriff) Aukes unlawfully blockaded a 90-year-old driveway that serves as the only means of entry and exit to the Giniw Collective’s camp, which is a convergence point for Indigenous-led protests against the expansion of the Line 3 pipeline. Police officers also cited and arrested individuals who attempted to use the driveway to travel to and from the camp.


Under the pretext that the small portion of the driveway extending from the Camp’s private property onto Hubbard County property is now suddenly a “trail” and not designated for vehicular traffic local sheriffs have either physically blocked access, at times by forming a line of over twenty officers, several armed with clubs, or issued citations to water protectors who have driven vehicles on the driveway, even when delivering food, water, or other necessary supplies.

Court Orders Police to Cease Illegal Blockade of Indigenous-led Water Protectors Camp at Line 3 Issues Restraining Order Against Sheriff Aukes and Hubbard County

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