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The Indigenous Environmental Network
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Tuesday, June 8th, 2021
Contact: or 320-496-6304
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Northern Minnesota jails and the Northern Lights Task Force abuse and deny rights of Indigenous activists and allies.
Park Rapids, MN: On June 7th and 8th, 2021, people from across the country gathered together in Northern MN to honor treaties and stop construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 toxic tar sands pipeline in Anishinaabe territory. The Treaty Peoples Gathering was a part of the Indigenous-led movement to stop Line 3. 
Following a weekend-long event, Indigenous people and allies shutdown work at an active Line 3 pump station near the Mississippi Headwaters. Approximately 200 activists dedicated to protecting land and water were arrested protesting Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline expansion project.
Before the arrests, officers from the Northern Lights Task Force received assistance from US Customs and Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security. DHS flew a helicopter dangerously close to the crowd, injuring people with the downwash. Protestors also complained of physical effects of an LRAD device used at the scene.
There are also now serious concerns about the treatment of organizers and activists who have been held for 16 - 20 hours without being booked and are being denied prescription medications. People with injuries incurred during arrest are being denied medical attention despite multiple requests for aid. There have been multiple violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. In Kandiyohi County Jail, Water Protectors are being denied their 6th Amendment right to speak to an attorney, resulting in friends and family members being denied the ability to check in on the health and wellbeing of loved ones.
While protesters were arrested in Hubbard County, the majority of arrestees have been transferred to Aitkin County, Kandiyohi County, Douglas County, Pine County, Todd County & Becker County. These counties are part of the 16-county Northern Lights Task Force, which has received significant funding from the Enbridge Corporation. To date, Enbridge has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars for weapons to suppress the public's right to express righteous anger at a system that prioritizes corporate profit over the public interest and the environment.
States Attorney Keith Ellison, Governor Tim Walz, and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan must intervene and stop allowing these county agencies to grossly misuse their power.
Established in 1990, The Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. I EN’s activities include empowering Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.
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The Indigenous Environmental Network  |  PO Box 485  |  Bemidji, MN 56619  |

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