On the Red Lake sovereign nation land located in what is today known as northern Minnesota, an occupation has started at a location above the Enbridge-owned pipeline built without permission of the Red Lake Nation in 1949 (hashtag #RLblockade). A helicopter from Enbridge briefly landed next to the site (video), near the town of Leonard.
It is expected if the occupation proceeds for three days, the flow of oil - which may include controversial tar sands bitumen extracted from Alberta, Canada - will have to be shut down. The 72-hour countdown has started around roughly 3PM Thursday.
Enbridge Energy LP has been trespassing on Red Lake Nations Ceded lands in Minnesota by operating multiple pipelines without an easement. Nizhawendaamin Indaakiminaan, a group of grassroots Red Lake tribal members and allies, demand that the flow of oil through these pipelines be stopped. Enbridge Energy LP purchased these oil pipelines from Lakehead Pipeline, who originally built these pipelines in 1949 on Red Lake land without obtaining the permission of the Red Lake sovereign nation. According to Marty Cobenais, pipeline organizer for Indigenous Environmental Network and a tribal member of Red Lake, "Enbridge Energy LP still does not have permission to have these pipelines" on an eight acre piece of Red Lake land just southeast of Leonard, Minnesota.
Today Nizhawendaamin Indaakiminaan have occupied the land directly over these pipelines on Red Lake land. They demand that these pipelines be shut down immediately. "The goal is to stand in solidarity not only with our first Nation brothers and sisters in Canada but also to protect our Mother Earth and all of our children and future generations on this earth," says Tito Ybarra, a member of Nizhawendaamin Indaakiminaan and an enrolled member of the Red Lake band of Ojibwe.
Supporters have been invited onto the site by tribal members to support the blockade, and currently volunteer media from the new UneditedMedia collective, TC Indymedia & [informally] OccupyMN are on site. Internet access appears stable enough for @uneditedcamera to periodically livestream as the camp takes shape for the long haul, also aided by mild weather. Also @samRichards10 and Robert DesJarlait (@r_desjarlait) are providing updates. Desjarlait tweeted "This isn't a blockade, as some have reported. There is nothing to block. It is a non-confrontational protest." However, it does have potential consequences akin to that created by a blockade.
Additionally it appears that Enbridge recently scrubbed some content pertaining to controversial "Line 67" from their website. With the dangerous Transcanada Keystone XL pipeline intend for tar sands bitumen mired in political controversy, the prospects for extending the capacity of Line 67, are relevant to the situation. (There are several public hearings in the region scheduled on Line 67 in coming weeks.)
// UPDATE 3/1/13 11:30AM : Marty Cobenais of the Indigenous Environmental Network issues statement on behalf of blockade protesters http://www.ustream.tv/uneditedcamera
Below the fold: Press Release.