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“As far as I’m concerned, Enbridge screwed up our lake, and they’re taking money directly away from our families,” Jerry Libby, an Anishinaabe wild rice harvester, told the Guardian. “It makes us feel anguished — this is our staple food, you know.”
Why This Matters: For the Indigenous Anishinaabe harvesters, the low water levels prevent them from harvesting wild rice, which is sacred and part of their ceremonies. This “depriv[es] them of a major source of physical and spiritual sustenance, as well as a significant source of income,” the Guardian writes. Line 3 runs across some of the country’s most significant water bodies for wild rice.
And beyond the harm Line 3 poses to Indigenous communities, it’s a fossil fuel pipeline. Once operational, the pipeline will be responsible for emissions equivalent to 50 coal plants, according to analysis by the nonprofit Oil Change International.
Rights for Wild Rice
There have been protests against the Line 3 pipeline since Minnesota regulators approved the project back in 2015. This summer, a series of protests faced violent pushback from law enforcement, including protestors kettled outside the governor’s residence being kettled.
In addition to protests, a tribal court lawsuit is working to prevent the pipeline and protect wild rice. Using the concept of rights of nature — which posits nature has a right to flourish and isn’t human property — the wild rice is the plaintiff in a case against the state’s Department of Natural Resources. The state appeals court recently gave the case a step forward, ruling that the tribe (the northwestern Minnesota’s White Earth Band of Ojibwe) is immune from being sued but the state isn’t.
By Elizabeth Love, ODP Contributing Writer Authorities in the Canadian Arctic territory Nunavut, announced a state of emergency this week due to a possible contamination event affecting the City of Iqaluit’s water supply. Tests were performed after residents reported the smell of gasoline coming from their tap water, but they came back clean. However, […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer For 40 million people living in the Western US, the Colorado River basin is their source of water supply and last month, the federal government declared a water shortage on the river for the first time. Within the basin, Thirty Native tribes have recognized rights to more than one-fifth […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer As water shortages continue to grow in the West, with the Colorado River drying up and the country’s two largest reservoirs at record lows, desalination — the process of taking salt out of salt water — could make ocean water drinkable. And it’s increasingly becoming part of the water […]
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