BEMIDJI, Minn. – This morning, 11 water protectors locked to one another in front of all entrances to Enbridge’s Bemidji, MN, office, protesting the company bulldozing through Minnesota wetlands, watersheds and Anishinaabe treaty territory as lawsuits led by three Ojibwe tribes opposed to Line 3 remain pending.
The Enbridge office sits in Beltrami County, one of the top-billing counties to the “Public Safety Escrow Trust” funded by Enbridge and overseen by Minnesota to pay police for all costs associated with Line 3 protests. Much of Northern Minnesota has heavily militarized, purchasing riot gear, less lethal weapons and ammunition, etc.
Law enforcement along the proposed route have billed thousands of hours of “overtime” to Enbridge, with Cass County alone billing 7,500 hours to the Enbridge escrow account in 3 months. Indigenous people and local Minnesota residents have reported heavy surveillance, targeted pullovers and harassment by law enforcement in connection with Line 3 resistance.
Water Protector Khalea said, “During Ferguson so many people came out and supported us, and I want to keep doing that… I am here for the liberation of all oppressed people, for the earth, for the liberation of all of our people, I am here to stand with Mother Earth and to protect the water and the wild rice and to stand with my Indigenous friends and loved ones as we all fight this collectively, we are all opposing these systems of oppression.”
Water Protector Alex said, “This is part of my responsibility as someone who is a guest on this land and as someone who faces the impacts of climate change. Enbridge lies.”
Water Protector Ishmaiah said, “I have spent the last several years fighting for the liberation in St. Louis, specifically Black St. Louis, and I see this as expanding and having a more holistic approach to what that fight can look like, because this land and this water touches us, and I think without that connection, grounding myself in the land and the water, doing solidarity with my Indigenous family, we can sometimes forget about the universal struggles around us.”
Water Protector Adam said, “We need people, we need bodies, to come up here and Stop Line 3. We need those of us who have benefitted from settler colonialism to put our bodies on the line and be in solidarity with Indigenous leadership to stop this construction.”