Care and Resistance at Line 3

Description

This project seeks to connect concepts of care and resistance as practiced at protests against the Line 3 pipeline across the Canadian border through Ojibwe (Ashinaabe) territory into what is also known as Minnesota. I situate these concepts within broader contexts of Ojibwe resistance as practiced through survival, protest, rice production, and faith, and I focus on these concepts as sites for interfaith allyship.

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The Seven Grandfathers

The painting “The Circle of Life” by Odawa artist and poet, Zoey Wood Salomon captures the Anishinaabe perspective of cycles in balance, a worldview where the gifts of light, lessons, earth, animals and knowledge are part of one continuum.

Zoey writes, “The people of the fires are symbolized by our seven grandmother/grandfather teachings of love, respect, honesty, bravery, humility, truth, and wisdom. Three fires also remind us to maintain balance in our body, our mind, and our spirit" (The Gifts of the Seven Grandfathers 2021).

"The Seven Grandfathers" or "The Seven Teachings" are traditional values of many Ashinaabe nations. They have been represented in Indigenous art for centuries. Artist Thomas X asks adherence to the values from allies entering into the Resist Line 3 protest space: Thomas X - 7 Teachings - Bing video

Trade corridor, 1760s

Ojibwe (Chippewa/Ashinaabeg) peoples historically lived in areas surrounding the Great Lakes on what is currently recognized as the United States-Canadian border. After decades of conflict alongside English and French forces, the Ojibwe experienced forced relocation to reservations within their own territory on both sides of the Canadian-U.S. border.

“The Ottawa.” Accessed December 6, 2021. https://project.geo.msu.edu/geogmich/chief-Petoskey.html.

 

Ojibwe women harvesting wild rice

Wild rice makes a tiny exploding sound when it is struck by a cedar knocking stick. A burst, followed by the sounds of rice falling into a canoe below.

“It’s the sound the universe made when it began,” I was told by my long-time teacher. It’s the sound of life beginning, life continuing. Wild rice, what we know as manoomin, is the food that grows on water, the staple that lies at the heart of my people’s culture (Houska 2020).

Line 3 resistance leader Tara Houska writes about the importance of access to gathering and harvesting wild rice - a right guaranteed by the Treaty of 1837 even through the ceding of Ojibwe land to the United States (Canada has similar treaties). Ojibwe resisters argue that in addition to inflicting violence onto the land and water and contributing to the looming threat of climate change, Line 3 threatens access to wild rice through its construction and potential for oil leaks. Houska's reference to the sounds of wild rice harvesting as the beginning of life/the earth is one example of alternative modes of knowledge production that challenge Western hegemonic discourses. What does it mean to know and to be? Wild rice, which would be considered by many current settlers as merely a food, is a source of sustenance, care, kinship, and spirit for many Ashinaabe people historically.

Houska, Tara. “What the Climate Movement Can Learn From Indigenous Values.” Vogue, September 24, 2020. https://www.vogue.com/article/what-the-climate-movement-can-learn-from-indigenous-values.

Resistance

Resistance can mean the physical act of protest/blockading; it can mean art/poetics/aesthetics; it can mean prayer; it can mean property damage; it can mean, for some people, to simply exist; as pictured here, resistance can be "love." I’m interested in how we can think about various modes of resistance in tandem with dismantling oppressive structures.

Transborder Line 3 resistance

In August of 2021, members of Hope Mennonite Church gathered in Winnipeg to protest TD Canada Trust, a bank and lead financier of Line 3. Members of the church prayed and sang, and reports suggested that one member cut up his bank card as an act of symbolic resistance (Snodgrass 2021). This is one example of transborder pipeline resistance: what happens to borders here between people?

Stories of care

Pictured here are "Grandmothers for Mother Earth: Protect All Relatives." The poster suggests an extension of kinship for beings living on earth - an act of care. I am interested in the ways that these protestors and water protectors practiced self-care, community care, and the ways in which these modes of care do or do not connect to reciprocity as being within an ecosystem. 

Honor the treaties

Pictured here is an image created by artist Ernesto Yerena for "Honor the Treaties" - a campaign created by Native artists "to visually convey the issues most vitally impacting the land, resources, and cultures torn apart by American imperialism and colonialism" (Honor the Treaties 2021). 

This collection will be a conglomeration of treaties between the Ojibwe/Ashinaabeg/Chippewa people and the U.S. and Canadian governments. Printing out excerpts of these treaties and physically displaying them could highlight a list of failed promises between these settler governments and the Ojibwe people. Although first nations should not have to rely on treaties to maintain rights to hunt or fish on their own land, they are being used to appeal the pipeline. One is especially pertinent, as the pipeline impacts waterways crucial for hunting and fishing: Treaty of 1837, Article 5. “The privilege of hunting, fishing, and gathering wild rice, along the lands, the rivers and the lakes included in the territory ceded, is guaranteed to the Indians” (The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary, University of Minnesota, The Ojibwe People's Dictionary (umn.edu).

 

Mississippi headwaters before Line 3

CONSTRUCTS OF VIOLENCE / BEFORE LINE 3

Mississippi headwaters after Line 3

VIOLENCE // AFTER LINE 3

This image depicts headwaters depleted by the construction of Line 3; an act of violence toward the bodies, lives, and spirits that rely on this water and its production of wild rice for sustenance. Here is just one example of colonial violence against Indigenous peoples.

Gender - care, action, defense

Pictured here are Line 3 Resistance leaders in front of a message: "Justice for Missing Murdered Indigenous Women Girls Two Spirit." Reports have linked Line 3 pipeline contractors to sexual harrassment and assault, particularly of Indigenous women and girls: part of a much larger issues related to infrastructure "man camps" and their impact on the phenomenon of missing and murdered Indigenous womxn 

Bernd, Candice. “Sexual Assault Cases Linked to Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Workers.” Truthout. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://truthout.org/articles/exploiting-more-than-the-land-sex-violence-linked-to-enbridge-line-3-pipeliners/.

Indigenous womxn are leading fights against environmental injustices and violences across the globe, and often facing unique repression because of their gender. I want to include archival images, interviews, Tweets, and posts that examine gender, Indigeneity, and resistance. 

 

I also want to conduct interviews with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous womxn and 2-spirit folx as I am able on both sides of the border who engaged in Line 3 resistance - I can ask about action, defense, violence, repression, as well as care, relation, hope, art, and faith. I am interested in ethics of care here not because womxn are innately more capable of caring, but because social norms and traditions often place womxn in care roles, for worse or for better.

 

License

All rights reserved.

Created date

December 2, 2021

Cite as

. 2 December 2021, "Care and Resistance at Line 3", Center for Ethnography, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 9 December 2021, accessed 13 June 2024. http://www.centerforethnography.org/content/care-and-resistance-line-3