By Geoff Browning:
I had the pleasure of hearing Winona LaDuke, an indigenous activist, author, and water protector, speak at the Tribal People Gathering in northern Minnesota earlier this month. The Treaty People Gathering was an invitation for native and non-native people of faith to join them in stopping the Line 3 pipeline from being built through Anishinaabe Treaty Land.
LaDuke explained to us what is at stake for native people and for all of us if Enbridge, the Canadian pipeline company, is allowed to complete Line 3 through the White Earth Reservation. It will mean pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of dirty tar sands oil through some of the most pristine and sensitive ecosystems in North America. They will have to cross 67 rivers to complete the pipeline, some of them multiple times.
For those not familiar with LaDuke, she is an enrolled member of the Ojibwe Nation who grew up in Ashland, OR, graduated from Harvard University, and did her master’s thesis on reservation subsistence economy. She is the executive director of Honor the Earth, a charitable organization she co-founded with the non-native folk-rock group the Indigo Girls.
And she is very clear about when America was great, it was when they could drink from any stream or lake on their reservation and when you could ride beside a herd of Bison for 3 days straight.