A Native American and environmental rights charity has bought a former Enbridge office that will be converted into a museum dedicated to treaty rights and culture. Enbridge is the company that runs the Line 3 oil pipeline in northern Minnesota.
Local women-led group Honor the Earth has been opposing Enbridge’s Line 3 project for more than seven years. The Park Rapids office building, which was once owned by Enbridge and served as a Carnegie library, will be transformed by the nonprofit organization into the Giiwedinong Treaty Rights and Culture Museum. Giiwedinong is an Ojibwe word that meaning “in, at, to the north.”
According to a news release from Winona LaDuke, executive director and co-founder of Honor the Earth, “We’re going to turn this former Enbridge building into a monument to Indigenous history, culture, treaty, and civil rights to help change the narrative in the Deep North, which will probably include at some point a powerful exhibit about the Line 3 struggle.”
Pahlen Reality claims that the old office building cost $184,500 to buy.
Throughout the pipeline’s development, protesters and activists frequently conducted rallies in front of the Enbridge Park Rapids headquarters.
A 337-mile section of the Line 3 pipeline runs through Minnesota and transports tar sands from Alberta, Canada, to oil refineries in the Midwest. According to Enbridge, the new pipeline was finished in 2021 and that it was required to modernize the aging infrastructure. Numerous arrests were made during the pipeline’s construction.
Tribal governments have vehemently opposed the pipeline’s construction and operation, claiming that doing so would violate treaty rights and put pollution at danger in the rivers where many Native Americans gather wild rice.
Enbridge stated in a statement to the Reformer that the building of the Line 3 pipeline was intended to replace an older pipeline from the 1960s with a newer, safer one that was constructed of thicker steel and had “advanced coatings.”
The business stated in the statement that “Enbridge personnel used the Park Rapids office during the planning, engineering, and construction of the Line 3 Replacement Project.”
With donations from supporters, Honor the Earth also acquired more than 700 acres of farmland in 2022. This includes 160 acres of farmland acquired from R.D. Offutt Company, a Minnesota-based producer of potatoes, some of which are used to make McDonald’s french fries. On Tuesday, November 1, Honor the Earth will have a Da de los Muertos event to honor the organization’s acquisition of the former Enbridge headquarters.