U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar visited a protest camp maintained by the Giniw Collective over the weekend to seek their input on energy policy.
The group says it facilitates “indigenous womxn, 2-spirit led frontline resistance to protect our Mother.” Most notably, they oppose Line 3, a pipeline project with bipartisan support designed to replace deteriorating 1960s infrastructure with a safer, more efficient line.
“Our collective hosted [Ilhan] & saw where Enbridge wants to put Line 3 tar sands under the Mississippi River headwaters,” the group wrote on Twitter along with a picture of the congresswoman at their small protest encampment.
Enbridge is the company tasked with installing Line 3.
Our collective hosted @Ilhan & saw where Enbridge wants to put Line 3 tar sands under the Mississippi River headwaters. We spoke of our sacred wild rice & climate crisis.
— giniw collective (@GiniwCollective) January 31, 2021
Omar’s meeting with Giniw came just one day after the group’s members locked themselves “to barrels of concrete, halting work at an Enbridge Line 3 worksite,” according to the Collective’s Twitter profile.
“Nobody is above the earth,” warned a Collective member in a livestream of the protest. “Even the fossil fuel executives, the corporate executives, the politicians, the world leaders know, if Mother Earth wants to kill you, she will.”
BREAKING: 2 Water Protectors locked to barrels of concrete, halting work at an Enbridge Line 3 worksite not far from the Mississippi River headwaters Enbridge wants to ram tar sands under.
— giniw collective (@GiniwCollective) January 29, 2021
The group is also responsible for many similar small demonstrations. On Jan. 14, they sent members to physically occupy a pipeline construction site near Backus, Minnesota. They also waylaid a semi carrying pipeline material in December.
During her meeting with the Collective, Omar spoke with Tara Houska, according to the Bemidji Pioneer. Houska is a prolific native rights activist who founded Giniw and played a central role in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
Omar’s move to associate with Houska, her allies and the Giniw Collective as her own constituency wrestles with an extreme uptick in crime and a movement to defund the police drew criticism from Minnesota’s U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber.
“Disappointing [that] Ilhan Omar ignores law enforcement needs in her own district & stands with the defund-police crowd, then travels to northern MN today to promote extreme Green New Deal & oppose Line 3,” he wrote Sunday.
The pipeline “would create thousands of union jobs,” he added.
Meanwhile, opponents of pipelines have enjoyed great success during the early days of Joe Biden’s presidency. Upon assuming office, Biden quickly revoked the permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline — a move critics say cost up to 70,000 jobs.
Omar and her husband also did not appear to wear masks during much of their meeting with the Collective.
— Kyle Hooten (@KyleHooten2) February 2, 2021