Welcome Water Protectors
Our ancestors told us that we would have to make a choice between two paths- one well-worn and scorched, the other green.
That time is now.
In this time of climate chaos, social unrest, and growing division in the political spectrum; new ways of being must be born, modeled, and shared. Honor the Earth maintains that this new model must be grounded in Indigenous Knowledge, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and a deep reverence for our Mother Earth. For thousands of years, our ancestors lived here well. In traditional times, our ancestors lived in homes made from local materials and lived in harmony with the seasons and all our relations. We understood balance leads to a high quality of life, and as descendants, we wish to maintain this way of life.
The time is now to turn back to those ways while embracing the new ecological technologies that will enable our modern communities to live in harmony with our Mama Akiing, our Mother and each other.
Anishinaabe women have a sacred responsibility to protect the water, and are now calling on all allies, niijiiwag, and those of strong hearts, to join us and protect our waters from the Enbridge corporation and the Canadian Tar Sands.
For four years, Honor the Earth has been fighting the Enbridge corporation. In 2015, their Sandpiper proposal was successfully defeated and now we are opposing the Line 3 project. We have spent countless hours preparing and submitting comments, attending meetings and hearings, educating community members about the project, and working to develop an Anishinaabe Cumulative Impact Assessment on the project. Alongside us, a coalition of other groups has also been fighting this proposal. We have been formal intervenors in the state regulatory process via Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission. An allied group of youth- the Youth Climate Intervenors- have come together to oppose this project and the continued frittering away of their future.
Over 72,000 people offered testimony on this project, in many hearings; of those over 68,000 testified against this project. State agencies, including those agencies responsible for a deep review of this project, have not seen the need for this project. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the Office of Administrative Hearings all expressed serious concerns about the project. The Administrative Law Judge rejected Enbridge’s preferred route, and the Department of Commerce concluded there is no need for the new, expanded line. Consequently, we were all shocked on June 28th when the five commissioners of the Public Utilities Commission voted to approve the project. In perhaps the most blatantly illegal move of that day, the P.U.C. also agreed to run the Line 3 along Enbridge's preferred route with modifications to be approved by the Fond du Lac Band, within 60 days, or the end of August, without provisions for a full assessment. Fond du Lac has been strongly opposed to the project from the start and the Public Utilities Commission has forced them into a decision on which part of their ecosystem, or the Anishinaabe ecosystem would be sacrificed for a Canadian pipeline company and a project which is not supported by the people of Minnesota, nor Canada.
We will not allow this project to move forward. We will not allow our children’s future to be sacrificed for corporate gain. The time to transition to a fossil fuel free energy system is now. We can not sit idly by and watch the expansion of the fossil fuel industry at a time when we need a massive expansion of the renewable energy sector. And we need to re-localize our economies to insure food security, and that we have heat and energy. We see that expending $7 billion or so on a new fossil fuels pipeline when there is no adequate water piping system in the city of Flint Michigan is unconscionable. It is wrong. We see that Line 3 is the carbon equivalency of 50 new coal fired power plants The time to make change is now, and it is absolutely urgent that we protect our future generations.
Giwaaginogaanikemin: We are making the Domed Lodges
We are protectors. We are protecting our Mother Earth and our future generations We are opposing this Enbridge expansion on many fronts; because the project makes no sense. It is a huge stranded asset for a corporation, and a huge liability for a community in a time when pipelines leak, and water is barely drinkable in much of the country.
We are also clear that our work must be about insuring that Indigenous Nations, in this case, the Anishinaabeg, provide the leadership for the next economy. We can see clearly that our current economy does not work , and it is time to do better. Our organization is involved in that work --from divestment to investment in solar technologies. We are involved in work to support the restoration of local food systems and local economies; and we are interested in a sustainable future. We are not interested in any wasting, whether money, water or lives.
We wish to return to our Mino bimaatisiiwin, our good life of respect. In our prophecies, this is referred to as the time of the 7th Fire. We are told that we must make a choice between two paths; one well worn and scorched, the other green. We have chosen a path, and we invite you to join us.
We are now unveiling our newest effort- the Water Protector Education and Culture Project. Through this project, we are creating spaces for Water Protectors to gather and learn about our lands, our traditions, and models for a new sustainable future. We are creating the space for our people to practice our way of life on our land, and learn traditional cultural teachings. We are a working model, we are a community which is making the changes needed to have a healthy, sustainable community in the future. We are also working with local and national partners to utilize sustainable design and traditional building methods for our community.
Please come to see the future we will make. Come to join us.
Miigwech Bi-azhegiiweyeg- Welcome Home
Part of this effort is building our traditional lodges, or Waaginooginan. We are building these lodges, and offering them to our people.
Our women leaders are being asked to protect the water, and join us in our new lodges. We know that it is time to listen to the Women, and we are here. Our first lodge, our Waaginoogan has been brought to life. It has been blessed by our women. We know there will be many lodges up here in the North Country, Giiwedinong. This is the time to come home. Bi-azhegiiweyeg.
This territory is the headwaters of the Red River and the Mississippi River; the territory of the Great Lakes. We are asking you to come to us as Water Protectors, as friends. We are asking you to come with us to envision the next economy, and to make that vision for our future: here, omaa akiing.
We will be establishing more lodges and will be working to develop the sustainable infrastructure for the lodges and other camps. We will stand, like our sisters and brothers throughout North America who stand against the expansion of the fossil fuel and mining industry and the destruction of water and land. Our ancestors did the same, we follow their instructions.
It is time to move to the next economy and to honor our covenant with Mother Earth. For more information as our lodges make ready, we invite you to support us and follow us on Honor the Earth- let us make a beautiful future.
Each year, Minnesota posts signs welcoming fishermen and hunters to the North Country. It is time the North Country welcomes Water Protectors. Our way of life here and the water, plants, and animals that life depends on are under attack by a system that sees the earth as a source of profit and not our mother to respect and care for.
Who are Water Protectors? You’re probably one of them! They are all those people working to stop the aquatic invasive species -- zebra mussels, milfoil, etc. -- from entering our lakes. They are people concerned about the agricultural run-off that has stricken hundreds of lakes in Minnesota making swimming and fishing prohibited. Water Protectors are those people working to keep the Boundary Waters free from pollutants. And, Water Protectors are the folks working to keep new pipeline corridors out of lake country. The current concern is the Canadian corporation, Enbridge, that is proposing a new route for their Line 3 replacement across a pristine water-rich environment. The lakes, streams, wetlands, and the Mississippi River would all be at risk.
Water Protectors are everywhere. They are an important part of Minnesota’s tourist economy. They own property and pay taxes. They generate millions in the North Country. The University of Minnesota estimated a decade ago that over $700 million was spent in the four-county area of Aitken, Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard counties alone. That amount is more than the tourist-rich metro area of the Twin Cities. Water Protectors work every day to preserve the North Country’s pristine waters for our children and their children to come.
Honor the Earth has issued an invitation and call to Water Protectors nationally and internationally to celebrate the beauty of the water and land. We are preparing materials to help orient visitors to the land, the struggles we are facing and the locations of public and private campgrounds.
Since much of the pipeline is proposed to cross county and state land; Honor the Earth is welcoming Water Protectors to camp on any of that land- within the state of Minnesota, camping for up to two weeks on state or county land is allowed without a permit. Please check local regulations, and also abide by our Leave No Trace policy; this is land for future generations. As well, easements to the Enbridge Company have been approved on land held by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, and there are many alumni who may wish to protect the land of their Alma Mater.
Our way of life, the water, plants, and animals here are under attack by a system that sees the earth as a source of profit and not our mother to respect and care for.
In recognition that water is more important than oil and that there is more that unites Minnesotans than divides us, we are welcoming Water Protectors to Minnesota. We hope you will join us.
Here is how you can join us in welcoming Water Protectors -- Honor the Earth is issuing a set of Water Protector friendly stickers for businesses who wish to welcome Water Protectors. We ask that you proudly display one at your shop to indicate that Water Protectors are welcome. You will be listed in our north country resource guide as a local business who is friendly to those supporting water issues. We expect many visitors to join us. We are also working to provide discounts for individuals shopping at Water Protector welcoming businesses as well as in-kind donations.
Please join us in supporting those who continue doing the courageous work of speaking out in support of protecting Minnesota’s water (nibi), wild rice (manoomin), and Ojibwe people. We are proud to be Water Protectors. Join us.