Indigenous sovereignty around the world has been continuously threatened by a capitalist desire for natural resources, despite the hundreds of treaties made to protect their rights and land. In the United States, the development of Enbridge's Line 3 Pipeline threatens the ancestral land and waters of the Anishinaabe people of the Great Lake Region which subsequently compromises their health, safety, and survival of their culture. Indigenous activists and water protectors have been gathering in Minnesota to protest its construction since 2014 and they need support from students now more than ever. Sovereignty and Stewardship: The Pipeline Problem will be rooted in education on the Line 3 protest, tribal sovereignty, treaty protections, and indigenous modes of environmental stewardship. This will prepare participants for a week of direct local action in DC including campus advocacy and political demonstrations which will carry into continuous advocacy for native voices.
Dates of Engagement: March 9 - March 13, 2022
Cost of Program: $50
Nicolas Burch is a second-year MA student in Global Governance, Politics, and Security with a concentration in politics and a regional focus in East Asian / Pacific affairs. As a native Chamorro from Guam, Nicolas is intimately aware of the connection between the survival of indigenous culture and the health and sovereignty of ancestral lands. His undergraduate research involved examining how environmental security concerns relate to the self-determination movement in Guam and he hopes to advocate for further recognition and legal protection of indigenous rights at the international level after graduating. Inspired by the calls in recent years for environmental justice and sovereignty from exploitative practices on native land, Nicolas hopes to advocate for tribal protests on campus through Alternative Breaks and the Student Advocates for Native Communities (SANC). The Anishinaabe of Minnesota’s difficult fight against the development of the Enbridge Line 3 corridor is a movement Nicolas feels strongly about in particular and is hoping to increase awareness and solidarity for this cause among the AU community.
Emily Bass - Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, nature has always been an essential and ever-present part of Emily’s life that has fueled every aspect of her political and educational work. As an Undergraduate student at AU she is channeling that commitment through a double major in Political Science and Environmental Studies, with a focus in Indigenous Affairs in the United States and Canada. However, in her time at AU the lack of educational opportunities concerning Indigenous history and issues has motivated her to spread awareness and understanding through involvement with Alternative Breaks and the Student Advocates for Native Communities (SANC). Outside of school she has stayed intimately tied to the political realities of home by working with Congresswoman Suzan DelBene as a Legislative Intern as well as now Washington State Representative Jamila Taylor and future-Lakehaven Water and Sewer Commissioner Liz Olhsson as a Campaign Manager.
Day 1: In the morning we will be meeting with the White Earth Land Recovery Project over zoom to discuss their Food Sovereignty Initiative and manomin (wild rice) practices. After a break for lunch we will meet with two members of the White Earth Nation’s Natural Resources Department: wild rice manager John Bekkerus and food sovereignty specialist Zachary Paige. In the evening we will speak with a representative from the White Earth Band’s government. We will end the day by creating social media graphics about what we learned which will be shared via both the @stopline3.altbreak and @thegreenau Instagram accounts.
Day 2: Today we will be joined by two professors from the White Earth Tribal and Community College. We hope to sit in on two classes: INST-118: History of White Earth and INST-115: History of Governance of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and then have a Q&A. In the evening we will speak with a representative from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe’s government. We will end the day by creating social media graphics about what we learned which will be shared via the @stopline3.altbreak Instagram accounts.
Day 3: Today will be focused on direct action to Stop Line 3. The morning will consist of making calls and writing emails to government officials from Minnesota and the federal government to urge them to Stop Line 3. In the afternoon we will be meeting with different political officials/Army Corp of Engineers in DC on behalf of the movement and urge them to take action to halt the pipeline.
Day 4: Today will be focused on direct action to Stop Line 3. The morning will consist of meetings with banks and other organizations in DC to urge them divest from fossil fuels. In the evening we will be hosting a speaker (with Sunrise AU and the Office of Sustainability) and urge people to donate to Line 3 frontline bail funds.
Day 5: Today will be focused on Campus: will be writing a letter to the editor for The Eagle and partnering with AU environmental organizations to urge AU to divest from fossil fuels. We will then be attending meetings with heads of different AU departments urging them to start the process to teach more classes on Native issues and history.