Treaty People Complete Their 160 Mile Walk of Enbridge Line 3

September 30, 2021

Barbara With

On September 30, 2021, Treaty People Walk Line 3 brought their prayerful walk to Superior, Wisconsin. The Indigenous walkers and their non-native allies are urging President Biden to follow Article VI of the Constitution and take immediate action to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to cancel Enbridge’s permits. 

Photo: Elizabeth Clark
Photo: Jan Penn

In light of the evidence that Enbridge, its contractors, consultants and “independent” inspectors have been repeatedly violating water withdrawal permits, Treaty People Walk Line 3 brings an urgent message to the world: stop Enbridge Line 3 from pushing any tar sands through the already damaged and damaging pipeline. 

The 160-mile walk along the route of Enbridge Line 3 started on September 12 in Backus, Minnesota and ended at Wisconsin Point in Superior, the Line 3 endpoint on the Enbridge terminal on Lake Superior. This came after Treaty People walked over 250 miles from the Mississippi headwaters to the Minnesota State Capitol in August, and the day before Enbridge claims it will will start pumping tar sands oil through the line, despite their gross violations of water protection rules.

Uniting with the Treaty People Walk Line 3 in Superior were water protectors from Wisconsin and Michigan who have been standing together in opposition to Enbridge Line 5. Making multiple trips to the front lines of Line 3 in Minnesota, they have offered continuous support to the Anishinaabe in 1855 Treaty Territory and continuous opposition of Enbridge Lines 3. 

Line 5 Wisconsin

Running from Superior through northern Wisconsin and Michigan, Enbridge Line 5 is currently operating without permits in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon National Forest, as well as through the Bad River Indian Reservation. Enbridge easements to operate on the reservation expired in 2013. In July 2019, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa filed suit against Enbridge to force the decommissioning and removal of Line 5. Enbridge has refused, and in response, has charted a dangerous new line to run 42 miles through the million-year-old granite of the water-rich Penokee Hills above the reservation.

Map of Enbridge’s proposed new Line 5 through northern Wisconsin. Map by Carl Sack

Line 5 Michigan

Enbridge Line 5 is also operating illegally under the Straits of Mackinac. In November 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) terminated the 1953 easement that allowed Enbridge to build and operate Line 5 in the Straits. On May 12, 2021, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin water protectors met in Mackinaw City for the Enbridge Line 5 eviction. 

Treaty People Walk Line 3 bears witness to the pipeline’s destruction and celebrates the natural beauty of Mother Earth that they strive to protect. Through treaty teachings, song, prayer, and solidarity with fellow water protectors, they are walking to honor the treaties—the supreme law of the land—and praying for Nibi (water), manoomin (wild rice), and the Anishinaabe land that is being violated by Enbridge.

The journey to stop Enbridge’s violation of Treaty Rights and destruction of land and waterways of the upper Midwest continues. Water protectors will be traveling to Mooningwaanekaaning Minis—Madeline Island—to stand together in solidarity in opposition of Enbridge Lines 3 and 5 at the celebration of the signing of the 1854 Treaty, taking place on October 2, 2021. Together, they will continue their protection of the Great Lakes, upholding their Treaty rights, and ensuring the next seven generations have clean water.

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