‘Water protectors’ sit inside pipeline to halt construction

“I refuse to be complicit in settler colonialist practices and feel that I have to put my body on the line to protect indigenous communities’ sovereignty and all of our futures,” one protester said.

According to a group called Giniw Collective, protesters “locked to each other” inside a pipeline to halt construction of the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project Thursday morning.

Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline goes through Backus, Minnesota, which is where two “water protectors” sat inside a segment of the pipeline. Dozens more anti-pipeline protesters stood by to protest the 1,097-mile oil pipeline that runs near various reservations in Minnesota.

One of the “water protectors,” Abby Hornberger, said that when she moved to Minnesota, she found “a state that had formed ‘ambitious’ climate goals yet endorsed one of the dirtiest fossil fuels, tar sands oil,” according to a release from Giniw Collective.

“Enbridge’s last-ditch effort to build fossil fuel infrastructure is killing people and the planet,” she continued.

Protesters gathered at the site of a segment of Enbridge Line 3 in Backus, Minnesota, Thursday.

“I realized that indigenous ways of knowing and practicing harmony with the environment are continuously ignored,” Hornberger said. “I refuse to be complicit in settler colonialist practices and feel that I have to put my body on the line to protect indigenous communities’ sovereignty and all of our futures.”

The other protestor inside the pipeline, Andrew Lee, said he has come to realize that neither the government nor Gov. Tim Walz will “protect us.” He said he was protesting in order to “protect the treaties that my ancestors failed to uphold.”

“I believe it is my duty, as a colonizer and as a person with the privilege to do so, to put my body on the line to stop the Enbridge Corporation from building this pipeline,” he said.

A few months ago, two anti-pipeline protesters were arrested after locking themselves for five hours to an excavator that was being used along Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline.

The group Giniw Collective describes itself as “an indigenous-women, two-spirit led frontline resistance to protect our Mother, defend the sacred, and live in balance.”