Youth leading the way Against Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline

By Ruth Breech

Seventeen-year-old Rose Whipple is from the Santee Dakota and Ho-Chunk nations, and serves as the Twin Cities Organizer for Honor The Earth. She’s working tirelessly to protect her homeland from Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline. Here’s why.

Rose Whipple. Photo Credit Jaida L. Grey Eagle

How would the Line 3 pipeline impact your community?

The Line 3 pipeline would directly impact my community because it is going through the heart of Anishinaabe and Dakota territory here in Minnesota. This pipeline would be the biggest pipeline North America has ever seen. It would go right through the Wild Rice beds, which is a very sacred food to the Indigenous people here, and we have been harvesting it for thousands of years. Once that oil leaks into the soil of those Wild Rice beds, that Wild Rice can no longer grow.

Minnesota is one of the only places in the world that can naturally grow Wild Rice, and it is getting closer and closer to being completely desecrated — all because of big companies like Enbridge. This pipeline would also be going through several treaty territories here in Minnesota, where the Anishinaabe were given the right to fish, hunt, gather, and harvest Wild Rice. But if the trees are cut down, animals’ homes are destroyed, and water is poisoned. There won’t be any more fish or animals to hunt because they will all be gone.

Minnesota is home to over 10,000 lakes, the Mississippi River, and the biggest freshwater lake in the world –– Lake Superior. The Line 3 pipeline would be going directly through it, affecting 1/3 of the world’s fresh water.

Humans can not survive without water. And by poisoning 1/3 of the world’s fresh water, Enbridge is perpetrating genocide. It is incredibly important that people stand up, raise their voice, and fight back against the Line 3 pipeline because so much is at stake! No matter where you live, it will be affecting you and the next seven generations. The risks are too high. We need to stand up, raise our voices, and fight back against Enbridge and their proposed Line 3 pipeline from desecrating our land, water, and communities.

How did you get involved in organizing?

What really drew me to this work was seeing all of my people stand up and take a stance together at Standing Rock. I had never seen other modern Indigenous people come together like they did at Standing Rock before. It really taught me how important and amazing it is to be Indigenous and to be resilient. I had never had to worry about having clean drinking water since I live in the cities — but going to Standing Rock really taught me how privileged I was, and how much I take for granted. Seeing how resilient and strong my people were at Standing Rock really pushed me to try and make my own stance against the pipelines affecting us here in Minnesota. My brothers and sisters I met at Standing Rock told me that I have a voice, and taught me how to use it.

What is your hope for the future?

My hope is ultimately that the world ends its reliance on fossil fuel and things that harm our planet, and we start moving to green renewable energy that is healthy for both humans and the Earth. I hope our governments start listening to its people and not foreign pipeline and oil companies. Winning to me would look like all of these pipeline companies and their projects being shut down, and the government agreeing to start using green-renewable energy instead, and looking at more efficient ways to stop climate change.

How can people help?

What people can do to help us win is simply to speak out, talk about these issues with your friends, call your representatives and local officials, and come to actions and protests!

There are also so many small things people can do in their communities, like going to community gardens, boycotting companies that are destroying the earth, asking your local stores to use solar panels, etc. We need to protect the Earth from Corporate greed!

You can help by donating to Honor the Earth and Rainforest Action Network today to continue to the fight against Line 3