A Pipeline Runs Through It. Part one of an ongoing series by Indian Country Today
Divided by pipelines. Demand for jobs clash with traditional teachings, split families and friends along the Line 3 pipeline route. Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today, Feb 19, 2021
Part 1 of an ongoing series.
Jason Goward was overjoyed to get a high-paying job on Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline project.
The job, clearing ground with a contractor for the Canadian energy company, meant he could at last pay child support for his two young sons. He could buy groceries, pay for heat.
And maybe, just maybe, he could dig his way out of poverty.
“I thought if I worked for a couple of years at this, I could finally get ahead a little bit,” said Goward, 37, a citizen of the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe. “I didn’t think about the impact of the pipeline on our lands and way of life.”
As he worked along the pipeline, however, he watched sandhill cranes fly over his job site. One of the Ojibwe leadership clans is named after the crane — ajijaak, the ones who speak on behalf of the people. The cranes were frantically fleeing the wetlands at the sound and disturbance of the heavy machinery he operated.
Protesters gathered to oppose the pipeline, shouting at Goward and demanding to know why he was destroying his homelands. He recognized friends among the water protectors, as they are known, friends with whom he has worked on past community projects. One was crying.
And he thought of his young sons, who might one day want to hunt, gather medicines and harvest rice as part of their Ojibwe birthright.
“I had kind of an epiphany,” he said. “Maybe I’m not on the right side of this. I began to think of the pipeline’s impact on our water and wild rice; that rice is part of the reason Ojibwe came to this area so long ago.”
Abruptly, he walked off the job.
“I feel so relieved,” he told Indian Country Today. “I had so much guilt, embarrassment and shame hurting my ancestral lands.”A Pipeline Runs Through It.
This video of stories demonstrates how the seven teachings of the Anishinaabe are applied in the context of pipeline resistance. It shows how pipeline resistance is about so much more than concern about pollution when pipelines leak.
Among the Anishinaabe people, the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers, also known simply as either the Seven Teachings or Seven Grandfathers, is a set of teachings on human conduct towards others. Originating from traditional Anishinaabe teachings from elders, Edward Benton-Banai describes an in-depth understanding of what each means, in his novel “The Mishomis Book”. Benton-Banai’s book is an example of contemporary Anishinaabe teachings to be used in contemporary situations.
Nibwaakaawin—Wisdom: To cherish knowledge is to know Wisdom. Wisdom is given by the Creator to be used for the good of the people. In the Anishinaabe language, this word expresses not only “wisdom,” but also means “prudence,” or “intelligence.” In some communities, Gikendaasowin is used; in addition to “wisdom,” this word can also mean “intelligence” or “knowledge.”
Zaagi’idiwin—Love: To know peace is to know Love. Love must be unconditional. When people are weak they need love the most. In the Anishinaabe language, this word with the reciprocal theme /idi/ indicates that this form of love is mutual. In some communities, Gizhaawenidiwin is used, which in most context means “jealousy” but in this context is translated as either “love” or “zeal”. Again, the reciprocal theme /idi/ indicates that this form of love is mutual.
Minaadendamowin—Respect: To honor all creation is to have Respect. All of creation should be treated with respect. You must give respect if you wish to be respected. Some communities instead use Ozhibwaadenindiwin or Manazoonidiwin.
Aakode’ewin—Bravery: Bravery is to face the foe with integrity. In the Anishinaabe language, this word literally means “state of having a fearless heart.” To do what is right even when the consequences are unpleasant. Some communities instead use either Zoongadikiwin (“state of having a strong casing”) or Zoongide’ewin (“state of having a strong heart”).
Gwayakwaadiziwin—Honesty: Honesty in facing a situation is to be brave. Always be honest in word and action. Be honest first with yourself, and you will more easily be able to be honest with others. In the Anishinaabe language, this word can also mean “righteousness.”
Dabaadendiziwin—Humility: Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of Creation. In the Anishinaabe language, this word can also mean “compassion.” You are equal to others, but you are not better. Some communities instead express this with Bekaadiziwin, which in addition to “humility” can also be translated as “calmness,” “meekness,” “gentility” or “patience.”
Debwewin—Truth: Truth is to know all of these things. Speak the truth. Do not deceive yourself or others.Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers