AntiNote: On 28 January 2019, three water protectors from the Fond du Lac reservation in northern Minnesota confronted a spokesman for the notorious Canadian oil transport company Enbridge Energy, Inc., which is currently attempting to to ram a deadly new tarsands pipeline down the throats of Native peoples and everyone else in Minnesota.
Enbridge, in its ongoing efforts to coerce the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe with “economic incentives,” was holding a job fair and business development seminar at the band’s casino in Carlton, Minnesota, in the same county where the company is already illegally storing pipes for its as yet unpermitted project. Water protectors have been tirelessly seeking to draw attention to these pipeyards as well as to the threat of increased predation of indigenous women and relatives which always accompanies fossil fuel infrastructure projects.
There are, of course, plenty of other reasons Enbridge can go fuck itself. It is rare, however, that these reasons are articulated to company officials directly. The following is a transcript of the water protectors’ impromptu statement, which they livestreamed on social media. Absent from the transcript are the mealy-mouthed replies of the company man. Up yours, Patrick.
One of the water protectors later posted pictures of the encounter, accompanied by this statement:
“I stood today with Grandmas table as I always will, and we here on Fond Du Lac reminded Enbridge to expect resistance. We drilled them on MMIWR [missing and murdered indigenous women and relatives], and S. and D. really layed into them. I was as respectful as I possibly could be, and police were still called, and we as tribal members were asked to leave our own casino, because an oil company has more rights to be here then we do.”
There are a lot of folk here today that you will probably be able to find a respectful dialogue with. I’m not one of them. I will not shake your hand. If you want my name, it’s Indigenous Resistance. I didn’t come here today with banners, but I’m sure you’re well aware of who I am and what I do—and I’m okay with that. I’m showing my face. You’re here on my land. And I made a solemn promise that every time Enbridge moves on this ground, I will be there to show resistance.
You want to “engage,” you want to hear us—but you don’t hear us. How many pipelines are on the Fond du Lac reservation right now? How many owned and operated by Enbridge? There are six of them. Why do we need this one? It’s a new line, it’s not a replacement project. Call it what it is. If you want to be honest about it, call it what it is. It’s not a pipeline. It’s the continued oppression of my people. You are perpetuating genocide every time you dig up this land.
The last time your people came through, a woman went missing. She was gone for years. She was taken by an Enbridge worker and she was gone for years. You don’t want to hear this, because you don’t want to normalize it in conversation. You don’t want to normalize the missing and murdered indigenous women and relatives that happen every time these pipelines come through and these man camps go up. You have nothing to say about that? Is there a list of things we’re allowed to talk about?
It’s a real concern. It’s a real thing. I don’t want them here. I’m getting sick of these white trucks going around, I’m getting sick of my people being denied the right to hunt, the right to gather. The government was shut down; I’ve got three children to feed. I don’t feel safe hunting my own grounds because of these white trucks—you guys have more of a right to be here than I do. I have to go get a fucking permit to gather wood. I’ve got to go get a permit to hunt my land.
I’m not protesting. My face is uncovered. I’m here having a normal conversation with this gentleman who is here to “engage” with the public, and I’m the public. I’m sorry, but I’m going to be heard and you’re not going to silence me.
The last time Enbridge was here, a woman went missing. I had to go all the way to Chicago to bring her home. And she did not feel safe coming home to the reservation. I don’t feel safe, with three children, knowing that these people are coming in. I don’t feel safe when your white trucks are parked all over my land. I don’t feel safe when I can’t hunt and feed my children by any means necessary. The government’s shut down, I can’t get food, I can’t get any heat. What am I supposed to do? Get a job and work for you? That’s not going to happen. You can’t pay me enough money to desecrate my own lands. You can’t pay me enough money. There is no amount of blood money that you can give me that will satisfy my family.
You don’t hear us. You’re still here digging up the land, throwing pipelines in. It doesn’t matter to me how many indigenous people you have working on this pipeline. It doesn’t matter to me at all. Every single worker who works on this pipeline can be indigenous. That doesn’t matter to me. What just happened in Ohio?i Do you know what happened over there? Do you think I’m going to sit and let that happen here? I’m not going to let that happen here. You can talk to every blood traitor here in this room who is willing to take blood money and perpetuate genocide and continue oppression. You can hire them all. That’s not going to make me stop. I’m going to stop this pipeline. I’m going to stop Line 3. I am going to stop line 4.
Every time you enter indigenous lands I am going to be there. You were issued your warning. That white mask? Operation Black Snake? We’re out here. It’s an idea. You can’t arrest an idea. You’re not going to be able to stop us. You can call and arrest me right now. Go ahead and do it. Let’s remember Standing Rock. Let’s show Fond du Lac right now how far you guys are willing to go to protect your pipeline.
Let’s show them how Fond du Lac is willing to protect this deal. How much money did my reservation take? I will reiterate again. There is not enough money to replace the lands that you guys are ruining. When that pipeline breaks, my grandchildren aren’t going to be able to gather wild rice. My children are scared. I’m scared. My children are worried every time they see a white truck. I told my children I was going to stop Line 3. That’s a promise I made to my children.
We can talk about Line 4, we can talk about Line 5, we can talk about Line 67. We can talk about the pipelines in Canada, we can talk about the indigenous people in Canada who are suffering because of your pipelines. What do you want to talk about? How about what happened in Ohio? You don’t know what I’m talking about? You don’t know what happened in Ohio?
I can come to you and speak to you time and time again. I can come here respectfully, my face uncovered. You can learn my name, you can meet me. But you don’t see me as a person. You guys don’t see me until I throw on a mask and I’m yelling. You don’t hear me. You’ll leave this room, and this conversation won’t go any further than this room.
I would like your company to leave. The reality of that is it’s not happening. I’ve been as respectful as I can be. I have attempted to be as respectful as I can be. I could come in here smudging, praying, noble savage, begging you guys to hear me, and you’re still not going to hear me until I throw on that mask and I’m on that line stopping this pipeline. And that’s what I’m going to do. And that’s what I’m here to remind you: to expect resistance. It’s out there. We’re out there. And we’re tired of the racist resource colonialism that is continued by your company. We’re tired of it. How small is Fond du Lac? And there are six pipelines!
The goal of this conversation is to normalize MMIWR with the people who you hire. I’m not going to come back here nicely if there is a child, an elder—if any one of my people go missing this time. I will not come back respectfully. I will not stand for that. That will not happen in Fond du Lac.
I don’t want another Standing Rock. I don’t want that. I don’t want a million people out there in the woods, camping on my lands. I don’t want that. I’m sure the rest of Fond du Lac don’t want that. But the reality is, this pipeline is coming and it’s coming fast, and you still aren’t hearing us. There are already six pipelines here. We don’t need another one. You can call it a replacement project all you want.
Normalize MMIWR in conversations with the people who you hire.
It hasn’t been. I have a woman coming in from the Bakken oil fields who will be discussing all of this. It hasn’t been discussed here.
Patrick, you need to understand that we do not want you here. Do you understand that? We do not want you here. So when you’re saying that you want us to be respectful to you, you might as well kick me in the face. You are representing a company that is raping our land.
You are representing a company that perpetuates continued genocide and oppression. That is what you represent to me. I can’t see you as a human being as long as you wear that [Enbridge shirt]. You work for the company because you get paid by the company. You may have kids to feed. I don’t know.
Do I have to show you videos of your company? Were you not at Standing Rock? My god, Patrick, you don’t know what we’re talking about, or what? Obviously we need to have a discussion.
I’ve been at this for years. This is my life. These are my lands, and I’m not comfortable with Enbridge being here. I’m never going to be able to sit down at a table with you and eat respectfully and offer training programs. I can’t do that. Because what you people represent to me is the murder of our women. Children missing.
I have three children, Patrick. I’ve got three beautiful indigenous little girls. Growing up, do you know what they teach you? One in three. I want you to take a look at my children and tell me which one. Which one are your workers going to target? Which one is going to go missing? Which one is going to get assaulted? One in three.
You are that threat. Your company is that threat to my children. Every time those white trucks drive past my home, my children are scared. They don’t understand why this is still happening, when I told them I’m going to stop Line 3. I came here respectfully, as respectfully as I possibly could, sitting here in dialogue with you, sitting here watching my aunts and my uncles saying, “Fuck yeah, let’s get paid by Enbridge, that sounds great!” That’s dirty money. That’s dirty. That money you’re getting is dirty money. That company you’re working for—that’s colonialist as fuck. That’s capitalist as fuck. You’re going to come in here and dig up my land, and say, “Hey, I know you can’t hunt and gather and fish right now, I know you’re terrified for your children…” and you’re going to offer to pay me!
Featured image: the illegal pipeyard at Omar’s Sand & Gravel in Carlton, Minnesota (1854 treaty territory)
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