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News Every Day |

Pipeline construction sparks debate on Minnesota reservation

FOND du LAC INDIAN RESERVATION, Minn. (AP) — About a month ago, Taysha Martineau walked out of the protest camp she built in a small patch of woods near her home on the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation and knelt in the middle of the road.

Elders from her community surrounded her, scolding, telling her to leave.

“Go!” they shouted. “We want you out of here! Don’t do this to us!”

For several weeks, Martineau had been welcoming activists to the plot of land she had dubbed Camp Migizi — which means “eagle” in the Ojibwe language — to take part in the yearslong fight against the Line 3 oil pipeline, a 380-mile replacement project that Enbridge Energy began building across northern Minnesota in December.

But for some in the community, the pipeline and the protest that follows its construction have attracted outsiders — and with them, trouble.

A day earlier, growing tension over the protesters’ presence on the Fond du Lac Reservation had boiled over. The Carlton County Sheriff’s Office said it had received a call alleging that three people connected to the pipeline protests had thrown suspicious packages into a Line 3 worksite, just a half-mile from the camp. An emergency alert was sent out to people in the area. The sheriff called in a bomb squad.

No bomb was ever found, and the case remains under investigation. But accusations flew, on both sides. Martineau called it “law enforcement-induced hysteria” on Camp Migizi’s Facebook page. Forty households within a half-mile radius had to be evacuated for several hours, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

It was that threat, in part, that brought the elders — among them, the tribal chairperson — to Martineau’s camp. But that moment at Camp Migizi was one among many, part of a long,...

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