Ojibwe water protector Tara Houska shot with rubber bullets paid for by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc.

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On August 2, Ojibwe water protector Tara Zhaabowekwe Houska tweeted: “Rubber bullets bought and paid for by Enbridge. Fuck Line 3. For the land, for the water, for the rice, for love of those to come, we stand.”

Houska is a citizen of Couchiching First Nation (near the Minnesota/Ontario border) who graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2012 and founded the frontline resistance Giniw Collective in 2018 to stop the Line 3 pipeline from crossing Anishinaabe territory in northern Minnesota.

On August 1, the Giniw Collective posted: “Water protectors fighting Line 3 are enduring increased repression and violence from the state and local police.”

It adds: “For the first time in this campaign, police used pepper spray, mace and ‘less than lethal’ bullets on unarmed Water Protectors just south of Thief River Falls on July 29th at Red Lake River crossing at the Red Lake Treaty Camp. Twenty people were arrested and are being held in Pennington County Jail over the weekend including Tara Houska, other members of Giniw & Non-Native Accomplices.”

The water protectors arrested on July 29 were released on August 1.

The Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. 760,000 barrel per day Line 3 tar sands pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin (just south of Duluth, Minnesota). 531 kilometres of the 1,659 long kilometre pipeline would cross Minnesota.

It would also cross over 3,400 acres of wild rice waters. Anishinaabe water protector Winona LaDuke has stated: “Wild rice is our life. Where there’s Anishinaabe there’s rice. Where there’s rice there’s Anishinaabe. It’s our most sacred food. It’s who we are.”

This past March, Emily Atkin reported in Heated: “Enbridge established a financial relationship with Minnesota law enforcement in May 2020, when the state Public Utilities Commission approved Line 3’s route permit. That permit required the oil giant to set up a special fund that would reimburse police responding to anything pipeline-related.”

That article highlights a reimbursement request from the police for “nearly $72,000 worth of riot gear and more than $10,000 in ‘less than lethal’ weapons and ammunition, including tear gas, pepper spray, bean bag and sponge rounds, flash-bang devices, and batons.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the construction of the Line 3 pipeline in Canada in November 2016.

The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has documented that the top five financiers of Enbridge are Canadian banks: TD Bank, Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, RBC and CIBC. Collectively they have provided billions of dollars in financing to Enbridge.

You can follow the Giniw Collective on Twitter at @GiniwCollective.

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