Unofficial coalition of Mass organizers and water protectors protested tar sands pipeline
We can’t make it to every rally, not even close, nor can we help boost them all ahead of time or recap the many demonstrations in our region. But we’re often happy to help relay information, especially when local activists bring attention to a national issue in such numbers. The future came in from an unofficial coalition (explained below) about their action in Jamaica Plain last week:
On Wednesday evening, August 25th a coalition of more than 250 indigenous activists and allies gathered near the Jamaica Pond Boathouse to stand in solidarity with Indigenous water protectors in Minnesota against Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline and demanded that the Biden administration put an end to this dangerous and illegal project.
Mahtowin Munro, co-leader of the United American Indians of New England (UAINE.org) sent a greeting, in which she said “Enbridge and the Biden administration as well as the Canadian government are violating Indigenous treaty rights with pipeline and other extractive projects. When Indigenous people refuse consent, No means No!” She also called on people to “close their bank accounts with major Enbridge funders Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMOrgan Chase, Citibank, and RBC.” Jean-Luc Pierite, President of the Board of the North American Indian Center of Boston said, “It is very important to show up in solidarity with our Anishinaabe relations and their fight to shut down the dirty Line 3 pipeline project. Enough is enough.” Indigenous activist Little Wolf spoke about the importance of water in everyday life, and sang an indigenous song about the sacred water, after which the group spoke the words “Water is Life” in many languages.
Sabine von Mering spoke of an “upside down crime scene” in Minnesota where those who were trying to protect the water were put in jail, and those who committed the crimes were running free. All speakers highlighted the triple-threat of the Line 3 pipeline: 1. as a major source of greenhouse gases – equal to 50 new coal fired power plants it would greatly worsen global warming at a time when urgent action to reduce greenhouses gases was just confirmed by the recent IPCC report, and the Biden administration had pledged to take climate seriously. 2. being constructed on indigenous territory in violation of treaties, it represented a continuation of the worst kind of racist practice in US history, and 3. Canadian oil giant Enbridge’s notoriety for oil spills and other environmental violations, as well as the increased violence against indigenous women and two spirit people during such construction projects – two Enbridge workers having recently been indicted for human trafficking.
According to news reports, during the time of construction under hundreds of sensitive waterways and wetlands, the monitoring agency for Minnesota already recorded 28 spills of dangerous fluids. Given the importance of these ecosystems for the local indigenous economy – including the wild rice crops central to Anishinabee culture, this violation of treaty right was particularly egregious, people said.
Apart from Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz (D), one person in particular attracted the ire of the crowd: Gina McCarthy, the country’s first national climate advisor and former head of the EPA, was the main target of the action, and after an initial rally, the group of over two hundred marched across Jamaicaway and over to McCarthy’s local residence, chanting “Gina, Do Your Job. Stop Line 3. Or it is your Legacy”. Outside the residence, a few more people spoke, and then a small group went to deliver a collection of letters to Gina McCarthy’s doorstep. They encountered some resistance from residents at the entrance to the property, but the group’s marshal’s quickly deflected the situation, and the letters were safely delivered. As the crowd turned back towards Jamaica Pond, they shouted “We Will Be Back.”
Line 3 is a tar sands pipeline that would carry nearly a million barrels a day of crude tar sands oil, some of the dirtiest oil to burn and extract, from Alberta, Canada through Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin. It is owned by Enbrige, a Canadian oil company responsible for the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. Said attendee Roger Rosen: “I had to come here today, because Line 3 is an outrageous violation of the treaty rights of the Anishinaabe people of northern Minnesota and a climate disaster for the planet. Gina McCarthy must do her job and stop Line 3.” The Boston area activists mobilized as part of an international day of action, with events in cities including Chicago, Montreal, Washington D.C., and St. Paul. The rally at the St. Paul capitol, especially, drew more than 1,000 water protectors including activists who have been directly opposing this pipelines’ construction for more than 7 years. The JP event was organized by a coalition of activists and organizers from various groups in Massachusetts, including the United American Indians of New England and the North American Indian Center of Boston.