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Young Activists Run From Mobridge To Minnesota In Solidarity With Pipeline Protesters

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ReZpect Our Water
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Members of the Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, and Lower Brule tribes left Mobridge, South Dakota Monday on foot. Most are young, juniors and seniors in high school. One runner is 12.  

They are running almost 1,100 miles to Perch Lake Township in Minnesota.  

Older mentors’ chaperone and drive alongside with water and snacks, but everyone pitches in. 

“I don't think we've had a single person who hasn't ran,” said organizer Montgomery Brown. 

It’s called a healing prayer run and Brown said it has a long history.? 

“Before indigenous people came about to riding horse, a lot of messages were carried on foot,” he said.  

In 2016, Brown ran from Standing Rock to Washington, D.C, in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. He said a lot of people joined in support, including some from Minnesota. He said now it’s his turn to reciprocate. 

“So coming and standing in solidarity with our friends and our families, and our relatives in Minnesota, you know, that's just a way of, of honoring what they passed down to us,” he said. 

Activists are protesting the Enbridge Line 3 Project, which is underway in Minnesota. The Line 3 pipeline already exists, it was built in the 1960s. Enbridge is replacing it.? 

But Line 3’s new route is different. Protesters say it crosses numerous watersheds, contributes to climate change and violates treaty rights.

Joseph White Eyes is another organizer for the prayer run.? 

“They're allowing them to destroy our habitats something that sustained the people out that way,” he said. “And it’s just astonishing, the desecration that's being allowed by the United States government, it’s, it’s a lot.”?? 

Enbridge responded in an email to SDPB:

“The?Line 3 replacement project?is safety and maintenance driven, and it replaces an aging pipeline with a safer one made of thicker steel with more advanced coatings, helping to protect Minnesota’s environment for generations to come. After six years of review and multiple approvals, it is the?most studied pipeline project in Minnesota history. 

Enbridge has shown ongoing respect for tribal sovereignty.? The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently concluded “the commission reasonably selected a route for the replacement pipeline based upon respect for tribal sovereignty, while minimizing environmental impacts.” As the result of negotiations with tribal leadership Line 3 was routed outside of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation and through the Reservation of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.? Both Leech Lake and Fond du Lac have spoken and written in support of project permits.? White Earth Nation was also included and invited to be part of the process, and because of their concerns Line 3 was routed outside of the Upper and Lower Wild Rice Lake and its watershed.?  

Line 3 construction permits include conditions that specifically protect wild rice waters.? As a matter of fact Enbridge pipelines have coexisted with Minnesota’s most sacred and productive wild rice stands for over seven decades. 

The Line 3 Replacement Project included a first-of-its-kind Tribal Cultural Resource Survey led by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa who managed review of the entire 330-mile route in Minnesota through the 1855, 1837, and 1863/1864 treaty areas.? Fond du Lac employed tribal cultural experts who walked the full route identifying and recording significant cultural resources to be avoided.? The project is now being built under the supervision of tribal monitors with authority to stop construction, who ensure that important cultural resources are protected.?  

The project is already providing significant economic benefits for Minnesota counties, small businesses, Native American communities, and union members – including creating thousands of family-sustaining construction jobs, and millions of dollars in local spending and tax revenues.? As of the first quarter of 2021, Enbridge had already spent $250 million project dollars specifically with tribal nations, citizens, communities, and contractors. 

Last week the MN Department of Natural Resources suspended the use of some water sources due to low water flow in specific watersheds.? We prepared for water restrictions to come into effect and have adjusted our work plans to protect and conserve water. ? 

The project is 70% complete in Minnesota and on track to be in service by the Q4 of this year.? Line 3 is providing significant economic benefits for Minnesota counties, small businesses, Native American communities, and union members – including creating thousands of family-sustaining construction jobs, and millions of dollars in local spending and tax revenues.? Enbridge has already spent over $250 million project dollars specifically with tribal nations, citizens, communities, and contractors.”