Honor the Earth's Ride the Line makes stop near Lake George
A group of riders on horseback looking to raise awareness about protecting Minnesota's waters made a stop at the pipeline storage site outside Lake George on their way to White Earth Nation on Wednesday.
Honor the Earth's Ride the Line horse ride began in Wisconsin in opposition to various Enbridge pipelines in Wisconsin and Minnesota, including Line 3 and its proposed route through parts of Hubbard, Clearwater and Cass counties.
About 15 of the 27 riders participating mounted their horses a few miles east of Lake George on Wednesday. Following a prayer song and circle to send off the riders, they rode to the pipeline storage site.
The ride was led by Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth who said she was honored to have riders travel from South Dakota to participate.
"We have prayed and ridden this proposed pipeline route for five years," LaDuke said. "The proposed pipeline cuts through the heart of our best wild rice lakes and territory, and we have very little left in this world, so we will protect that."
Five tribes have now intervened in the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission process: Leech Lake, White Earth, Fond du Lac, Mille Lacs and Red Lake.
"This is a huge battle for the Ojibwe," LaDuke said.
Honor the Earth invited water protectors, like Mason Red Wing from the Crow Creek Tribe in South Dakota, to join the ride. Red Wing participated in the pipeline opposition of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock last year, and says when they are talking about pipelines going under water it hits home. When Honor the Earth asked for their support on this ride, Red Wing said he didn't hesitate.
"We left home July 8 and we started, one ride in Wisconsin riding along a pipeline there. Then we came over here and started in Minnesota about two weeks ago. It's been a good journey so far," Red Wing said. "Our purpose, being from Crow Creek and South Dakota, is to help support these indigenous peoples from a different region. This corporate greed that just keeps occurring over and over again needs to stop. We want to raise awareness about everything that's going on with pipelines going through water. I get that there's pipelines all over but when you're going under water that's just a real sketchy situation. Anything can happen there and you can damage an entire ecosystem."
Red Wing and his fellow riders from South Dakota connected with LaDuke and tribes in this region.
"When you talk about tribal or spiritual concerns, all of our people are connected to this earth. So with that simple connection right there you feel obligated to do something to help Mother Earth. That's just kind of the way we were all raised. It's been pretty neat being here and experiencing the diversity of indigenous peoples—the Ojibwes over here and we're Dakota, Lakota Sioux over there. It's been pretty fun getting to see that interaction between peoples."
Enbridge wants to replace its aging Line 3, which carries Canadian oil to Superior, Wis. It would go through areas conservationists say are environmentally sensitive and along reservation land. Line 3 is a 1,097-mile crude oil pipeline built in the 1960s. Enbridge has applied to the state to replace and relocate it, and to allow new pipe to carry ore oil.
The state Commerce Department held 27 public meetings where a draft environmental impact statement was discussed and will make recommendations to the state Public Utilities Commission. The PUC could decide next year whether to allow the Line 3 pipeline to proceed.