In November 2016, on the very same day the Trudeau government announced its approval of the 890,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain pipeline, it also approved the 760,000 barrel per day Enbridge Line 3 pipeline.

The fight against the Line 3 pipeline has been somewhat overshadowed by the fight against Trans Mountain, but awareness about it is beginning to grow with the establishment of the Spirit of the Buffalo camp this past mid-July.

The camp is located near Gretna, Manitoba, a community situated near the U.S. border and about 100 kilometres south of Winnipeg on Treaty 1 territory.

The Spirit of the Buffalo camp is calling on Enbridge to stop construction of the pipeline because the corporation does not have the free, prior and informed consent of all Indigenous nations along the route.

Geraldine McManus, who also took part in the Standing Rock camp against the Dakota Access Pipeline, told CBC News this summer, “The earth that I walk on right here, this is my mother. I love her, I respect her and I’m going to protect her in any way that I have to.”

In contrast, the federal Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi, echoing his government’s line on the Trans Mountain pipeline, says, “Building this pipeline will reassure investors that Canada is a country where big, important things get done.”

The Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition, which is supporting the camp, explains, “Line 3 is a 1,660 km crude oil pipeline which travels from northern Alberta’s tar sands through Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and across the border through North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.”

The Coalition adds, “In operation since the 1960s, the Line 3 pipe has deteriorated substantially and is now operating significantly under capacity because of the aging and unstable infrastructure. Enbridge is now proposing to replace the pipeline, while expanding its capacity to nearly double and leaving the existing, decaying pipe in the ground.”

On September 1, The Manitoban reported, “Work on the pipeline has already begun in Manitoba, and protest groups have responded by setting up camps near the construction. The Canadian portion of the project is expected to be completed by December.”

Postmedia News has reported, “The camp is situated next to a pipeline construction site, along what is known as Border Road, just meters north of the Canada/U.S. border.” McManus says, “This road is on Crown land and we have every right to be here. This is historically Dakota territory.”

Opposition on the U.S. side of the colonial border is also strong.

Last year, the Associated Press reported, “Native American groups including Honor the Earth, which is led by Winona LaDuke, have threatened mass protests that would echo the fight over the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Reservation in the Dakotas.”

That article adds, “The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and the National Congress of American Indians are among the native groups that have passed formal resolutions against the project.”

The Spirit of the Buffalo camp is seeking your solidarity in the effort to stop this pipeline and infringement of Indigenous rights.

As noted on their Facebook page, “If you’re interested in supporting Spirit of the Buffalo, you’re encouraged to come out! Any amount of time you can spend at the camp is appreciated. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here.”

Image: Facebook

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Brent Patterson

Brent Patterson is a political activist, writer and the executive director of Peace Brigades International-Canada. He lives in Ottawa on the traditional, unceded and unsurrendered territories of the Algonquin...