"The Makwa Initiative stands to protect the sacred land and rice lakes of the Anishinaabe people" [1.1] against Enbridge's Line 3 Replacement Project (L3RP), a $7.5 billion project to add 1,031 miles (1,660 km) of new pipeline that will expand existing capacity to carry diluted bitumen and other crude oil from Alberta's Tar Sands to 760,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 390,000 bpd. Enbridge's plans for the existing Line 3, which has "experienced an accelerated rate of deterioration" indicated by an unusually large number of identified "anomalies" that threaten the integrity of the pipeline, is to leave it in the ground. The deterioration of the pipeline has required Enbridge to operate at a low pressure with high maintenance costs [4, 8]. Due to the adhesive nature of diluted bitumen, a spill in hydrological areas is especially devastating and effective clean up methods don't exist . Both the existing Line 3 and the proposed new Line 3 threaten "pristine aquatic ecosystems, the largest wild rice bed in the world, the headwaters of the Mississippi River, and and the Great Lake Superior" [4.2].
The project also disproportionately impacts the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) by "endangering primary areas of hunting, fishing, wild rice, and cultural resources in the 1855, 1854, and 1842 treaty territories", thereby threatening "the culture, way of life, and physical survival of the Ojibwe people" [4.2]. The Makwa Initiative is one of three Anishinaabe-led frontline resistance camps attempting to stop the Line 3 Replacement Project, along with the active legal opposition of White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Red Lake Band of Ojibwe, and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The project is currently waiting on obtaining a Certificate of Need and Route Permit from Minnesota's Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The PUC is set to make a decision on June 20th 2018, after which construction in Minnesota could begin if the project is approved. An overconfident Enbridge has already started construction on the new Line 3 in Wisconsin and in Canada, and they are already storing pipe in Minnesota despite the uncertainty of the regulatory process.
Anishinaabe opponents of the Line 3 project set up a frontline camp in February 2017 on private land on the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation in so-called northern Minnesota. The camp, named Camp Makwa, was established in response to the premature construction of the new pipeline, which was under way in Canada and Wisconsin . The camp established in the spirit of past and ongoing indigenous-led land occupations that seek to simultaneously block the development of fossil fuel infrastructure and revive traditional cultural and governance practices. More succinctly, it is "a space for people to come together, to practice and protect our treaty rights and make sure that Line 3 does not get constructed" [1.1].
The name of the camp - 'Makwa' - means bear in Anishinaabe [1.1]. Members of the initiative provide the origin story for this name:
"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.... 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" [1.1].
The initiative is leading a multi-dimensional campaign based on non-violent direct action (NVDA) to halt construction of the new Line 3, which is occurring on the Wisconsin and North Dakota sides of the state borders. Water protectors commonly perform a 'lockdown', which refers to various techniques used to render a person physically immovable. Water protectors typically do this by attaching and locking themselves to construction equipment, pipeline sections, cars, objects (typically barrels or PVC piping), doors, and other strategic locations. For example, activists chained themselves to the doors of a nearby Wells Fargo, which provides necessary financial support to Enbridge [1.2, January 12]. By doing so, activists disrupt the activities, business, and operations of the target, thereby increasing the costs of its involvement in the project. By locking down to construction equipment, activists intend to delay or even halt construction, which raises costs for the corporation and attracts media attention to the project and the resistance [1.3 ].
Makwa Initiative members (many of them Anishinaabe) locked themselves to cars outside Enbridge's construction site access points near Superior, Wisconsin [1.3, September 17th, 20th 2017], inside the last stretch of pipe installed in the Wisconsin stretch [1.3, November 8th,15th], and on welding equipment and an excavator at the last construction site in Wisconsin [1.3, November 15th, 2017]. Additionally, members of the Duluth Catholic Workers staged an occupation of the Enbridge office in Duluth in solidarity with the Initiative (though a lockdown was not performed) [1.3, December 8th, 2017].
The initiative also complements direct action tactics meant to slow and halt the pace of construction with engagement in the regulatory process, court system, and other formal avenues. For example, the Initiative supports a January 2018 Joint Tribal Petition filed on behalf of 5 Anishinaabe bands that challenges the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission's (PUC) recent controversial decision to exclude the cultural resources survey from the state's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) [1.2 January 5th, 4.4 January 4th, 5, 6]. The Joint Tribal Petition requests three things from the PUC, with all work funded by Enbridge: postpone approval of the EIS until a full cultural resources survey is completed along the entire proposed route and all route alternatives, add within the EIS an analysis of potential cumulative impacts to treaty resources, and establish a cooperative structure for performing this work that includes state agencies and all stakeholder tribes [4.4 January 4th, 2018, 5]. In support of this petition, the Initiative will be participating in a rally and 'pack the room event' hosted by MN350 at the relevant PUC meeting [4.1]. According to a press release from the Initiative, its members "know that occupying space is as much about power and voice as it is about speaking into a microphone, and it is vital that the public has a claim to where testimony is heard" [1.3, October 21st, 2017].
Other forms of mobilization include the use of rallies and marches that feature speakers and song and dance. A march called 'Hold the Line' was held in Saint Paul, with a rally held on the steps of the state capitol building [1.3, September 28th, 2017]. A rally was later held at an Enbridge pipeline storage yard in Minnesota (where pipe for the new Line 3 is being stored), despite the illegality of Enbrige's required permits for pipe storage which were applied for and issued before the project's environmental review was completed [7, 1.3 December 11th and 24th, 2017]. In other words Enbridge has already purchased the pipe for the Minnesota section and is storing much of it in the state despite the uncertain outcome of the regulatory process. According to a speaker from the Initiative, "We have to hold [Enbridge] accountable. That's what we're here to do, we're here to show the state of Minnesota that these pipes are already here. That Enbridge doesn't care about the process. It doesn't care about public engagement" [1.3, December 11th, 2017].
Members of the initiative also attended public hearings for Line 3 in Duluth, Crosslake, Hinckley, East Lake, and others [1.3]. For the public hearing in Duluth, the Initiative held a march to the hearing building. An uploaded video shows dozens of water protectors marching through Duluth, with the prominent banner reading "Stay the hell out of [outline of the state of Minnesota], stop line 3!" [1.3, October 18th, 2017]. The hearing room and building is filled with mainly white people wearing green shirts or stickers in support of Line 3; the Initiative claims in a press release that many are Enbridge workers who are payed to attend the hearing and that the company provides talking points and pre-written speeches [1.3, October 21st 2017]. The parking lot is occupied by large trucks carrying pipes and construction equipment, effectively limiting the space available for public parking [1.3, October 18th, 2017]. A second video of the Duluth public hearing shows water protectors attempting to speak after hours of waiting outside the hearing room due to full capacity; however, the presiding judge tells a native woman to be quiet because she already spoke [1.3, October 21st, 2017]. The water protectors express doubt that the white judge is able to accurately memorize the face of everyone that already spoke. After threatening to remove the water protectors if they don't sit down, they begin to chant "shut it down!" and the drumming and singing restarts, effectively ending the public hearing, which was clearly not designed to receive testimony from the mainly Anishinaabeg group of water protectors.
The Initiative summarizes the exclusion water protectors faced throughout their engagement in the regulatory process: "We went to the public hearings and found them full to the brim with Enbridge employees who were paid to be there. We fought again and again just to have 3 minutes to speak. Now we watch as truck after truck come into our communities carrying pipes and out of state pipeline workers. We made our comments, but they didn’t listen" [1.3, November 15th, 2017] ... "Our experience both in Duluth and at prior hearings has been that the hearing process is unfairly claimed and dominated by pro-pipeline interests" [1.3, November 21st, 2017].
This exclusion is corroborated in the resignation letter of the DOC's Tribal Liaison Officer, Danielle Oxendine Molliver, who resigned in 2017 primarily due to "the failure of the State of Minnesota to fulfill its obligations of good faith and fair dealing with the tribes in connection with the Line 3 Project" . As Molliver continues, "[t]he Department of Commerce has not fulfilled its public duty to act in a fair, genuine, professional, respectful, or transparent manner as required. Consistent with my liaison duties to advise management, I have provided expertise and attempted to work with Commerce to address these concerns. However, Commerce has not shown a willingness to address them" . Indeed, according to the January Joint Tribal Petition concerning the cultural resources survey, the state's historic- properties work on the project "has been so inadequate that it could be used as a 'what not to do' example in future guidance" [5 p.1].
It is necessary to emphasize that cumulative impacts on indigenous peoples and communities "are a combination of pre-existing stressors (existing conditions or co-risk factors) and any other contamination or new activity that affects environmental quality. Characterizing risks or impacts ... entails telling the cumulative story about risks to [treaty] resources and a culture way of life" [15, p.1]. The cumulative impacts of the Line 3 Replacement Project are substantial, and to the Anishinaabeg, a matter of survival. The Line 3 Replacement Project "violate[s] the treaty rights of the Anishinaabeg by endangering critical natural resources in the 1854, 1855, and 1867 treaty areas" [4.2]. The project "threaten[s] the culture, way of life, and physical survival of the Ojibwe people. Where there is wild rice, there are Anishinaabeg, and where there are Anishinaabeg, there is wild rice. It is our sacred food. Without it we will die. It’s that simple." [4.2].
Disproportionate impact on Anishinaabe tribes, bands, and individuals is recognized in the Minnesota's EIS and the Anishinaabeg Cumulative Impact Statement [9,3]. However, in response to numerous shortcomings of Minnesota's EIS, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT) (which includeseew the Fond du Lac and White Earth Bands among others) in collaboration with Honor the Earth conducted an alternative impact statement called the Anishinaabeg Cumulative Impact Statement . The Statement integrates Indigenous science and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), the absence of which "leads to the approval of projects that continue the legacy of colonization and genocide experienced by Indigenous Peoples (IP)" [3.1 pg. 1]. The stated purpose of the document "is to explain and illustrate interspecies equity, intergenerational equity, the value of non-economic principles, cultural and spiritual knowledge, and full-cost accounting for Euro-western regulators and non-native allies" [3.1 p. 4]. By consulting both Tribal and non-native experts, the statement addresses numerous shortcomings of Minnesota's FEIS and related laws, regulations, and policies, which are not designed to assess cumulative impacts; including the impacts of oil sand development on Anishinaabe and other First Nations north of the border, 'uppipe' and 'downpipe' impacts, impacts to future generations, impacts to communities located near refineries, impacts exacerbated by historical trauma, and more [3.1]. Rather than considering each impact in isolation, all impacts in the Anishinaabe Statement are "understood in the context of the Anishinaabe responsibility to land and relations and the impact of the historical trauma the Anishinaabe people have faced" [3.1 p. 9]. The creation of the Statement is described as a "bold and courageous assertion of self-determination" [4.5]. A full accounting of all cumulative impacts are outside the scope of this entry. Please see Chapter 5 of the Anishinaabeg Cumulative Impact Statement for an in-depth analysis and discussion [3.6].
The Statement documents the numerous historical traumas the Anishinaabeg have experienced over the past few centuries and the ecological destruction they have already witnessed. "Since the signing of the treaties of 1837, 1854, 1855 and 1867 there has been significant loss of Tribal Cultural Properties due to state management practices and decisions made which caused significant impact to Anishinaabeg communities. This assessment understands this loss as theft" [3.6, p.1]. However, the Statement shows that despite this "significant loss of traditional cultural properties... there is much that has been retained" [3.7]. Most significant is "the concentration of high-quality lakes, rivers, and streams in the heart of the 1855 treaty area" which "contains a high number of manoomin [wild rice] waterbodies, historic manoomin camps, and is crisscrossed by historic trade and migration routes" [3.7]. The "indirect and cumulative effect of [losing this area], in addition to direct impact of pipeline construction, operation and potential release, would have a significant and adverse economic, social, medicinal and religious impact on the Band members, other tribal communities and low-income communities" [3.7]. These impacts are an existential threat to Anishinaabe culture: "[f]or a people whose identity is intimately tied to their relationship with the land, the loss of that intimacy can leave people without an identity, or a sense of self/community" [3.7].
The Anishinaabeg Statement extensively documents a myriad of historical and current stressors that place Indigenous Peoples in general, and the Anishinaabeg in particular, at a high health risk [3.6]. The Amherst Wilder Foundation's study on health disparity in Minnesota found that "social and economic conditions and structural racism contribute significantly to the relatively poor health outcomes of the American Indian population in Minnesota" [3.6]. A Minnesota Department of Health report also emphasized structural racism as a key contributor to health inequalities. Research has found that classic social determinants of health "do not sufficiently explain the high rates of poor health and mental health, particularly with respect to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression" among indigenous peoples, which has prompted indigenous scholars to examine "how historical and societal determinants of health, particularly the role of place-based historically traumatic events (e.g., forced relocation and land loss), environmental microaggressions (discrimination distress based on land desecration), and disproportionate exposures to high rates of lifetime trauma, not only are hazards to contemporary IP health but may also persist for generations." [3.6, p. 77].
The multitude of traumatic experiences further include "boarding schools, federal relocation programs, termination programs, repression of religious institutions, theft of significant cultural items and patrimony, [and] increased morbidity rates from American induced chemicals and diseases" [3.6, p. 84]. The Statement reviews recent research in historical trauma, intergenerational trauma, and epigenetics that show the impact of these events may persist for some individuals and families over generations [3.6, p. 83-84, 12, 13]. One study reviews the "amassing of evidence at the cellular level that powerful stressful environmental conditions can leave an imprint or "mark" on the epigenome of cellular genetic material that can be carried into future generations with devastating consequences" [12, p. 176]. Noting that Anishinaabeg communities, in particular Rice Lake and East Lake are already "under stresses of socio-economic conditions creating conditions of higher health risks", tribal members reported that the new Line 3 project will increase stress [3.7]. This stress causes additional psychological and physical health issues [3.7]. In addition to existing health and socioeconomic deficits, indigenous peoples on Turtle Island also face deficits in nutrition, access to jobs, education quality, physical and informational infrastructure quality, human rights protection; linguistic, cultural, and natural resource protection, and more [15, p.2].
Previous studies on oil spills and affected indigenous communities have found that traditional practices decrease due to perceived contamination [see 3.6, p. 86]. Due to the type of crude oil being transported by Line 3, an oil spill would be especially devastating in the water rich region. Line 3 will transport 'dilbit' (diluted bitumen) in addition to other types of heavy (and light) crude oil. Because of the dense, viscous, and adhesive nature of dilbit, it must be pumped at higher temperatures and pressures than conventional crude oil. This immobile heavy oil is mixed with chemical diluents that allow the oil to flow . These properties affect how dilbit interacts with the environment in the case of a spill. While conventional oil will begin to evaporate promptly after exposure, dilbit begins to revert to a high density and adhesive state . According to a recently released National Academy of Sciences report, due to dilbit's tendency to form a residue, "spills of diluted bitumen pose particular challenges when they reach water bodies. In some cases, the residues can submerge or sink to the bottom of the water body" [17, p. 3]. Furthermore, the report states that there are "few effective techniques for detection, containment, and recovery of oil that is submerged in the water column and ... available techniques for responding to oil that has sunk to the bottom have variable effectiveness depending on the spill conditions." [17, p. 4].
According to the US Department of Transportation, which used data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Association, an average pipeline has a 57% chance of a major spill in a 10-year period . Using that same data, the U.S. State Department found that Enbridge's annual spill rates are higher than the industry average [3.6]. Enbridge's Line 3 is responsible for the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. In 1991, the pipeline leaked 1.7 million gallons of oil near Grand Rapids, Minnesota . Enbridge's Line 6B also spilled 843,000 gallons of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River in 2010, a spill that has yet to be cleaned up. In December 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the Kalamazoo River superfund site has been targeted for immediate and intense action.
It is worth emphasizing that while a diluted bitumen spill would likely devastate the region, the impacts of standard pipeline construction, operation, and maintenance on manoomin [wild rice] waterbodies and beds and historic trade and migration routes are substantial. Construction of the new Line 3 requires the clearing of 1,500 forested acres, guaranteeing "short-term and long-term impacts to wildlife from soil runoff, introduction of invasive species, and habitat loss" [3.6, p. 10]. "[P]ipeline impacted forest areas take over 100 years to return to pre-construction states", and wetland areas may never return to this state if there is "significant altering of the hydrology" [3.6, p. 10]. According to testimony submitted by Paul Stolen, a former MN DNR regulator, "[i]mproper topsoil separation can decrease re-vegatation, making the area more susceptible to invasive species establishment and erosion issues. Shallow buried lines can also heat up the surrounding soil, resulting in earlier spring growth, and the lack of winter snow cover... Construction of work pads in hilly locations can greatly increase the amount of excavated land and increase the overall impacts. Construction methods around waterways and in floodplains can greatly increase impacts." [3.6, p. 11]. Biologists and engineers testified that the construction of Line 3 would "significantly impact the manoomin along the route" [3.6]. According to the MN Department of Natural Resources Wild Rice Report, "any factor that can affect water quality, season water levels, lakebed conditions, regional climate, aquatic vegetation, or the natural genetic diversity of wild rice could potentially threaten natural stands." [16, p. 3].
The Cumulative Impact Statement also considers the ecological and social impacts of the development of Alberta's Tar Sands, which has resulted in the destruction of millions of acres of boreal forest and the pollution of carcinogenic and toxic chemicals into the land, water, and air [3.6, 27]. This has lead to heightened levels of cancer and other diseases among Cree and Dene First Nation communities, in addition to increases in sexual abuse, human trafficking, and murder [3.6, p. 95, 14]. Impacts on communities that live near the refineries that will process the crude oil from Line 3 are also considered. Refineries are disproportionately sited near low income and black communities, which is a case of environmental injustice in itself. The Statement reviews the impacts on black communities living near the Marathon refinery in Detroit, who the Michigan Department of Health confirms suffer from "elevated rates of cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease, and kidney failure" [3.6, p, 98]. The Statement states that some of the oil from Line 3 will end up at this refinery. Enbridge's U.S. affiliate agreed to pay $1.1 million to the state of Wisconsin for violating a litany of state requirements related to air quality [3.6, 28]. The assistant state attorney general noted that Enbridge failed to properly seal storage tanks and other facilities, potentially allowing large amounts of chemicals to evaporate into the air . Enbridge also started construction without construction permits and operated the facility without the proper air pollution control operation permit .
Global impacts, particularly accelerated climate disruption, are considered in the Anishinaabeg statement as well. Extracting, refining, transporting, and burning oil sands energy contributes to significantly more greenhouse emissions than conventional oil [3.6, 18]. The expansion of tar sands development and infrastructure could contribute to 'carbon lock in', which is characterized by "persistent market and policy failures that can inhibit the diffusion of carbon-saving technologies despite their apparent environmental and economic advantages" . In other words, the Line 3 Replacement Project and similar proposals to extract and transport Tar Sands oil will slow the transition to clean renewable energy, and climate related impacts will intensify.