A Guide to Joining the Fight Against Line 3

by Jakob Gingrich, Xerxes Minocher, and Rachel Niesen

A note from Rachel: We have been called out by two Indigenous activists in Madison for having used art in this article that was not made by a Native artist. I engaged with Moselle (the artist) after having seen it shared on #stopline3 social media pages and did not take the time to question whether this was the right art for this particular project before I made the decision to reach out to Moselle about using their art.  Moselle is an incredible artist and a strong ally to the Stop Line 3 movement but we should not have highlighted an allies art over the art of an indigenous person. I am deeply sorry and realize now that by doing this I contributed to the erasure of native people from an issue about native rights. I thank the Indigenous activists who took the time and energy out of their week to inform us of our mistake.

We write this as a small affinity group that is beginning to organize more closely for Line 3 resistance. We’re sharing some info about Line 3, our experiences, what we learned from them, and how you can help in the fight. We want to first acknowledge that this article was written by non-Indigenous people and as a result lacks nuance that it might otherwise have. Additionally, as non-Indigenous activists, the knowledge we are sharing pertains most to other non-Indigenous activists.

What is Line 3

Line 3 is a pipeline expansion project set to double the amount of oil currently traveling from the Alberta Tar Sands through to Minnesota and into northern Wisconsin. The Line 3 expansion project is a symbol of the way that wealthy, white, elite interests control decision making on a global scale. Line 3 is not just an investment in the fossil fuel industry and climate destruction, but also in direct and tangible harm to Indigenous communities. Line 3 expands the police surveillance of Indigenous communities, and creates a predatory environment through the building of what Indigenous leaders call “man camps” (locations near tribal land where large groups of out of town workers stay) which have been linked to the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Two-spirit people. In short, Line 3 is an investment in the  continuous colonial project that is the United States of America. 

Indigenous groups out of Minnesota like Honor the Earth and Giniw Collective have been fighting against Line 3 for over seven years. In recent months, the front-line resistance to Line 3 has extended a call for allies to increase their engagement in the movement due to increasing construction as Enbridge gets ready to drill under sacred waterways (like the Mississippi river). Indigenous leaders have been employing the tactic of nonviolent direct action at Enbridge’s construction sites as a method of slowing down construction and, as a result, making the project less profitable. In addition to the direct actions occurring at construction sites, there has been and continues to be a movement to “Defund Line 3” which has resulted in numerous protests across the country at Chase Bank, Liberty Mutual, Citi Bank and some of the other major investors in the Line 3 project.

Ways to Support Indigenous-led resistance to Line 3

  • Donate
    • Donate via venmo to @Taysha-Martineau to support Camp Migizi, a Line 3 water protector camp.  Taysha runs Camp Migizi and is also the leader of Gitchigumi Scouts, a group that patrols and searches for missing and murdered Indigenous women and Two-spirit people.
    • Donate to Giniw Collective to support Indigenous leaders on the front lines) 
    • Donate to the Line 3 Legal Defense Fund to help pay bail and other legal fees for water protectors
    • Donate to RISE Coalition, a group of Indigenous women organizing against Line 3.
  • Join a direct action
    • You can find out about some public actions and events by following Giniw Collective, Camp Migizi or the Welcome Water Protector Center on social media or by following StopLine3.org. 
    • Other actions are advertised via a rapid response network, which you can learn more about after attending a direct action orientation, held on Sundays and Tuesdays.
  • Support a camp:
    • You can do camp chores and projects to help Indigenous water protectors maintain camps so that they have more time to focus on strategy, action, and leadership. Types of chores could include chopping wood, art projects, building platforms for tents, fixing the muddy roads, or even doing dishes. Miscellaneous chores arise frequently at the camps.
      Our Experience: When we went up at the end of the week of action, there were actually no direct actions left to happen (which we only found out when we got there), but it’s still possible to pitch in and contribute to make your stay feel balanced.
  • Watch/scout the pipeline construction.
    • Help scout out sites where Enbridge may be drilling early, or developing sooner than anticipated. This helps keep an eye on the pipeline construction, helps leaders plan for actions and is something you can do on your drive back to Wisconsin, if you have time available.
      Our Experience: We suggest going in a minimum of pairs – some sites are empty, and some have security guards in pickup trucks watching you and waiting to drive up and speak to you if you intend to cross onto property.
  • Join the Pipeline Legal Action Network.
    • Any attorneys, in particular attorneys who are interested in treaty rights, environmental issues or activist campaigns should reach out. Additionally, there is a need for people willing to do coordination and logistic support regardless of whether or not you have a legal background. 
  • Host a Defund Line 3 action in Madison.
    • You can plan an action on your own or with an affinity group, or you can join an organization talking about Line 3 Resistance to learn more. Local organizations include Extinction Rebellion, 350 Madison, WI Student Climate Action Coalition, and DSA.

Art by Moselle Singh

Going Up to Resist Line 3

Once you have done a Line 3 orientation and a direct action training, you will need to think about where you will stay when you join Line 3 resistance in person. You could choose to stay at one of the Water Protector camps or you could stay at a nearby campsite or hotel.

  • The camps:
    • The Welcome Water Protector Center “culture camp”is open any time for anyone to visit.
    • Camp Migizi “action and culture camp” currently has an open call for people to come and support but this might change. Message them on facebook or at campmigizi@protonmail.com receive permission to come.
    • Email giniw@protonmail.com to express interest in supporting Giniw Collective actions and staying at their camp. However, in a recent Line 3 NVDA training it was stated that Giniw is unlikely to be extending invitations to visit right now. 
      We have not listed other camps that are not “open” at this point to our knowledge
  • Camp nearby or find a motel 
    • Some of the areas where Line 3 actions have been  happening are Aitkin County, MN, Palisade, MN, Park Rapids, MN, Bemidji, MN and Duluth, MN. See a map of the pipeline to plan your lodging.
  • Things to consider when deciding where to stay:
    • A rule of thumb to be guided by is to at all times be making sure that you are providing more in terms of labor, resources, and support to the Indigenous fight against Line 3 than you are taking.  This is a question to take into consideration when deciding where to stay and why. 
    • The sheriff’s departments in the counties where the pipelines are being built are being funded by Enbridge, so there’s extra incentive to harass and surveil water protectors.  Depending on your numbers and sense of safety, this may be a reason to stay at one of the camps 
    • The towns surrounding the pipeline construction tend to be fairly “conservative.”  They may not be particularly friendly to someone they have pegged as having come to the area to fight Line 3.  Additionally, as Indigenous leaders have said, pipeline construction tends to increase the rate of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Depending on your numbers and sense of safety, this may be a reason to stay at one of the camps 

Build an Affinity Group

Indigenous organizers have recommended that allies wanting to engage in the Line 3 resistance on the front lines form an affinity group. An affinity group is a small, informal group of people that have come together for a specific purpose, in this case to support the larger Stop Line 3 movement. If you would like to be a part of an affinity group but do not know who to connect with or where to start, please feel free to reach out to us.

Some considerations and suggestions for affinity groups:

  • Coordinate and plan for being self-sustainable with other activists from your community (it can help to bring your own water, snacks/food, stove).
  • Plan like you’re camping independently, with food support provided by the camp.
  • Share emergency contacts and jail support info.
  • Discuss and prepare for the “level of risk” that each party is willing to take.  
  • Support each other logistically (sharing cars, food) and emotionally (debrief with each other after an action).
  • If you would like to be a part of an affinity group but don’t know who to connect with or where to start- feel free to reach out to us to get connected. 
Art by Moselle Singh

Security Culture in Northern Minnesota

You are likely not going to have all of the information that you want to have when going to an action. Try and trust that the reason for this is that it provides greater protection for leaders of the Line 3 resistance. Here are some practical steps you can take protect yourself and other activists.

  • Use encrypted messaging apps when coordinating/planning ways to support Line 3. Set a timer to delete messages after a few days or weeks for direct action threads.
  • Don’t take pictures at actions without explicit permission from Indigenous leaders
  • If you have a car with leftist bumper stickers, you will stand out as someone who came to support water protectors which will draw attention from law enforcement and the surrounding community.  If there are ways to cover up these bumper stickers, consider doing that. 
  • If you are going to an action where you know there is a risk of arrest- make sure that you have deleted all information, messages, etc. from your phone with any information about Line 3 resistance.
  • Make sure that you and someone else is aware of your risk level prior to going to the action. Risk levels can range from red: expecting to be arrested to green: not willing to be arrested. 
  • Make sure you have written down important phone numbers on your arm (emergency contact, jail support) prior to going to the action.

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