MINOT, N.D. — If you went only by the headlines, one could reach the conclusion that our Native American neighbors are united in opposition to pipelines, specifically, and oil and gas development, generally.
Take, for example, a recent article by Rebecca Mitchell about a recent demonstration in Wadena, Minn., against the Line 3 pipeline replacement project. Paragraphs are devoted to the point of view of the activists, and one Hollywood celebrity, all of whom presume to speak to represent, or at least support, the Native American view of the issue.
Buried in the last paragraph of the article is this acknowledgment that the Native American view is hardly monolithic, and certainly far more nuanced than professional activists like Winona LaDuke would have us believe: “Earlier in the week, Enbridge spokesperson Juli Kellner pointed out that the Line 3 replacement project has the support of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and that the White Earth Nation ‘was also included and invited to be part of the process’ with Enbridge.”
It’s worth noting that Line 3 is being built through the Fond du Lac Band’s lands. The tribe was initially against the project, but after negotiations, were able to reach an accord with Enbridge, much to the consternation of the aforementioned activists.
The Leech Lake Band also opposed the pipeline initially until Enbridge obliged them with a shift in the pipeline’s route.
These are important facts.