The Makwa Initiative started one day in august. We were driving down the road and came across a bear lying on the shoulder. Its fur was matted with blood, guts hanging out on the gravel, with a long split gaping down its side. It had clearly been hit by a large vehicle. Less than a mile away we happened upon a construction site. We stopped and watched as huge machines cut down trees, slashed at the soil, and with engines roaring, spitting exhaust, dug a long gash in the side of mother earth. One of the workers told us they were digging the easement for the Line 3 Replacement Pipeline. Those of us from Anishinaabe reservations like Fond Du Lac know how these pipelines affect our land, the animals, and the water. Animals are forced to go around the construction and are killed on the road. As the pipes leak the forest becomes quieter and quieter around it. You can even tell how much its leaking by seeing how far from the pipe the silence begins. On Fond Du Lac one pipeline company has even planted invasive parsnip on the land of the easement. When animals and people touch the plant they get horrible rashes that burn and itch. The parsnips are spreading all over our land.
Makwa means bear in Anishinaabe. We started this project to honor the bear we found killed by a pipeline truck on the side of the highway. We want to make sure no more have to be killed for this project. The Line 3 Replacement Pipeline is destroying their homes and ours. Line 3 is violating our treaty rights by polluting our waters, killing the animals, and destroying the habitat for our sacred plant medicine.
The Line 3 Replacement Project is a 7.5 billion dollar pipeline project proposed to carry dirty crude oil from Alberta, Canada through the sacred lands, waters, and wild rice lakes of the Anishinaabe people to refineries in Superior, WI. Enbridge has planned this new pipeline to replace the existing 50 year old Line 3 Pipeline, which according to Enbridge Integrity Supervisor Laura Kennett is in “the deterioration stage…as external corrosion growth is increasing in an exponential fashion.” What’s important to remember is that even before this “deterioration stage” line 3 has always had a catastrophic effect on the environment. On March 3rd 1991 this particular pipeline caused the largest inland oil spill in US history, rupturing in Grand Rapids Minn. and spilling 1.7 million gallons of oil into the Prairie River. Rather than removing the leaking pipe, Enbridge plans to leave the old line 3 in the ground to rot and contaminate the water and soil, while simultaneously building a larger pipeline on the same easement. Unlike the old Line 3 this new pipe is permitted to carry tar sands oil, the dirtiest oil on the planet and almost a million barrels of it.
The Anishinaabe people were told by the creator to protect the wild rice. We are standing up against this pipeline and by doing so we are standing up for our wild rice. We want our children and grandchildren to be able to practice the ceremony of the wild rice harvest. In the treaty of 1837 the US government promised we would be able to do this on reservation and off our reservations. In 1999 the supreme court of the United States affirmed this right. The Makwa Initiative is therefore a space for people to come together, to practice and protect our treaty rights and make sure that Line 3 does not get constructed. Water protectors at the Makwa Initiative will do whatever it takes to stop Line 3 from going through sacred land and waters. The Makwa Initiative stands to protect the sacred land and rice lakes of the Anishinaabe people. For this reason we say NO LINE 3. Please come stand with us and help prevent the Line 3 replacement project from infringing on our treaty rights.
JAIL SUPPORT and LEGAL FEES that our water protectors are facing and will be facing through our efforts to stop line 3 are very expensive and WE NEED YOUR MONETARY SUPPORT! Please donate to our legal fund. Miigwech / Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.