Rev. Carroll Joins the Fight Against the Line 3 Pipeline

By Rebecca Shipman, [email protected]

The Anishinaabe people, along with many other Native, non-native, religious, and secular groups, have organized to protect their water and land under the name TreatyPeopleGathering. Enbridge, the multinational natural gas transmission company, started construction on the “Line 3 Replacement Project” in December of 2020. Of the 1,095-mile-long pipeline, 355 miles will run through Minnesota, disrupting Anishinaabe treaty land and the Mississippi River Headwaters. 

The Line 3 Pipeline poses an enormous threat to the health of the Mississippi River, which runs through 10 states, and would affect the environmental conditions of countless communities. It would carry 700,000 barrels of tar sands oil from Canada each day and have a climate impact on par with the Keystone XL Pipeline, posing an existential threat to waterways like the Mississippi.

On the morning of Saturday, June 5th, Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll, Sr., founder of Green The Church (GTC), arrived in Hubbard County, Minnesota, to stand in solidarity with water protectors and represent GTC in this fight for public health and environmental justice. Rev. Carroll was eager to be part of direct action. While GTC works within the Black Church to amplify green theology and sustainable practices, and act as a catalyst for political change, Rev. Carroll saw this visit as “a great opportunity for the African American Church to show up on the front line in solidarity with so many others”.

Rev. Carroll and leaders from GTC’s partners MN350, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, and Green Faith Minnesota, stayed at Northern Pines United Methodist Camp. Saturday evening, protesters attended training conducted by Native leaders and rallied to listen to climate activists, including Winona LaDuke. Rev. Carroll led the singing of “Wade in the Water” as the group gathered on the shore of Fishhook Lake on the campgrounds.

On Monday, Rev. Carroll marched with a group of protesters down a 5-mile road, toward a small bridge crossing the Mississippi River. A tent was set up by the bridge; as the protesters gathered, members of the Native community played drums and smoked a peace pipe. Then a group of artists moved to the front of the crowd and painted “STOP LINE 3” on the ground. Young men broke away from the group and walked off the bridge, clearing a path through the brush as they did so. Protestors used this path to make a pilgrimage from the bridge to bathe in the waters of the Mississippi. As members of the previous night’s rally recognized Rev. Carroll, they began to sing again, “I went down to the river to pray”.

After the Line 3 action, Rev. Carroll made a personal pilgrimage to visit the site of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis. The art and memorials left by mourners have been moved to the building next to the convenience store Floyd left immediately prior to his death. A young woman curating the space explained she was unable to watch the video of the murder, but the memorial enabled her to internalize what happened.

As we try to cope with the tragedy of police brutality against Black bodies, Rev. Carroll suggests applying what he learned at the protests—everyone has a talent to lend towards the fight; we don’t have to shoulder it all by ourselves. “What happened in Minneapolis, what happened in Grand Rapids is the same piece. Although we feel alone and isolated, we have to get out, we have to learn how to work together. We have to write a new story. We have to draw bigger circles. We have to draw circles that include Black and Brown people, that allow us to work together.”