Ms. Magazine: Standing up for water, land and climate: Meet 10 Indigenous women fighting the Line 5 pipeline

In Anishinaabe culture, women are viewed as the inherent protectors of niibi (water). Traditionally, women are seen as being ruled by the moon through cycles of reproduction, as the moon also rules the oceans and controls the cycles of the tides. Babies live inside a mother’s womb in their own miniature oceans, and the waters of life usher babies into the world. Anishinaabe women have songs and ceremonies to honor and show gratitude to the water, and indigenous women are often the leaders of environmental movements aimed at protecting the water. This couldn’t be more true in Wisconsin and Michigan, as Tribes and Treaty Partners brace for Enbridge’s Line 5 replacement project.

Excerpt from article:

Earlier this year, Indigenous women leaders from the Great Lakes region sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers citing concerns over the social and ecological impacts of a new Enbridge tar sands pipeline project, Line 5. The women noted Enbridge’s track record for oil spills and aquifer breaches, as well as concerns regarding tribal usufructuary rights, irreversible damage to local biodiverse ecosystems and waterways, and rises in gender-based violence and human trafficking—all serious issues when the same company constructed the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota last year.

The Line 5 pipeline was originally built in 1953, and continues to operate nearly 20 years past its engineered lifespan, transporting approximately 23 million gallons of crude oil each day through northern Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and under the Straits of Mackinac. Already this pipeline has spilled over a million gallons of oil. Enbridge claims its new pipeline would only be a replacement project, meant to support ongoing gas needs—yet, studies show that Line 5 would have little to no effect on current gas prices.
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