Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 29, 2021

MINNESOTA: Sheriff Illegally Blocks Private Property at Namewag Camp

Top photos by Unicorn Riot

Hubbard County Sheriffs Barricade Access to Indigenous-led Private Property, Falsely Imprisoning Dozens of Water Protectors

Article by Brenda Norrell
Censored News
June 29, 2021

Update: Water Protectors file for restraining order against sheriff

PARK RAPIDS, Minnesota -- Hubbard County Sheriff’s Department escalated state repression when it served a notice to Namewag camp, located on private property, stating that the sole entrance to the property will be barricaded with no one allowed in or out, Giniw Collective said on Monday.

“This is a blatantly unlawful attempt to target and repress Indigenous-led efforts to defend our land and water. The state of Minnesota appears to not understand treaty law, it also seems Minnesota doesn’t understand U.S. property law either,” said Tara Houska, Giniw Collective, after the notice was served at 6 am on Monday.

Photo by Tara Houska

At the midnight hour on Tuesday, Unicorn Riot reported law enforcement had left after forming a police barricade and arresting Water Protectors.

"After 14 hours, the police finally left the Namewag Camp driveway, yet some are staged at a nearby power line easement. A person who locked down to one of the parked vehicles was extracted and arrested," Unicorn Riot reported live.

"At around 6 p.m. supporters of the Line 3 resistance camp and fellow water protectors arrived at the Namewag. Cars began getting parked in the road in an attempt to block the massive police presence. At about 7 p.m. supporters' cars began getting towed. At least 8 arrests so far."

The Intercept reports, "Water Protectors see the road blockade as another example of local sheriff’s offices working to protect the interests of Enbridge, the Canadian tar sands pipeline company.

"The Namewag camp has been used as a jumping-off point for water protectors conducting direct-action protests, sometimes involving demonstrators locking themselves to pipeline construction equipment or obstructing access to construction sites."

An attorney for pipeline opponents said it is a political blockade.

The Intercept reports, “This is quite simply nothing less than an overt political blockade,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney for the pipeline opponents and director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund’s Center for Protest Law and Litigation. “This is an outrageous and unlawful effort to blockade people who are engaged in protected First Amendment activity and to punish them for their opposition to the Enbridge pipeline, where Enbridge is serving as the paymaster for Hubbard County sheriff.”

Verheyden-Hilliard was referring to an Enbridge-funded escrow account set up by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to reimburse public safety agencies for activity related to Line 3. So far Enbridge has reimbursed Hubbard County $2,660 for riot helmet face shields and chest protectors as well as equipment related to removing pipeline opponents locked to construction infrastructure.

The Intercept 

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