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Fond du Lac Reservation elders calling for peace after bomb scare

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CLOQUET, MN-- "Enough is enough," said a group of elders from the Fond du Lac reservation as they counter-protest a group of Line 3 protesters.

"We've supported their right to protest here and protest the pipeline. But there are too many out-of-town people coming in that have no real good stake in our care and concern for our water," said an elder man from the reservation who wishes to remain anonymous.

This call for change comes after last Friday's events when law enforcement was called to investigate a suspicious package that was thrown out of a vehicle during a protest against Line 3.

"It scared and caused a lot of concern and trouble for a lot of the elders and the other homeowners here on the hill," said the elder.

While that package was found not to be explosive, the elders said the protesters' behavior is intolerable. So, they're hoping coming together will spread some peace.

"I'm seeing the relationship is mellowing, I'm not seeing a lot of radical behavior right now," he said. "And that was our purpose, was to come here and calm down."

Elders said they'll continue to keep an eye on the protesters for as long as necessary.

The elder added, "I hope they are able to screen who they bring in a little better and keep this a safer community."

Those protesters have been camped out near the Enbridge pipeline re-construction site since January.

In a statement Found du Lac Band Chairman Kevin Dupuis reminded people that the reservation entered into an agreement with Enbridge over this reconstruction project.

He said they considered that move extensively.
DuPuis asked people to respect the band's sovereignty adding that it's offensive and inappropriate for non-Indians and outsiders to claim they are there to protect the band and its resources. 

KBJR 6 did reach out to the protestors for comment but did not hear back by publication time.

CLOQUET, MN -- Fond du Lac Band leaders are asking outside Line 3 protesters who have disrupted reconstruction work on the pipeline and garnered large law enforcement presences on multiple occassions to "leave now."

Protesters have been camping near the Line 3 reconstruction site on the reservation since January.

The message from Band leaders that they are no longer welcome comes several days after authorities were called to investigate a "suspicious package" that was apparently thrown from a vehicle during a protest on Friday.

The investigation, which Band leaders say is still ongoing, prompted an evacuation notice to those living nearby in Carlton County.

While authorities later determined the device was not an explosive, Band leaders are saying enough is enough.

"The Reservation Business Committee (RBC) respects the right to voice dissent peacefully, but attempts to intimidate and disrupt the lives of FDL Band members are neither peaceful nor respectful of the Band's sovereignty," according to a press release from Band leaders Tuesday.

"We have a responsibility to promote public safety and protect the health and welfare of our
people," Kevin Dupuis, Fond du Lac band chairman, said. "In order to uphold that responsibility, the RBC has a simple message to outside protestors instigating violence and violating Band law: Leave now. You are not welcome here."

DuPuis added that the Band plans to take appropriate legal action against protesters who violate reservation laws. He said the Band is also investigating violations of the Band's land use ordinance and COVID-I9 orders.

Fond du Lac Band leadership entered into an agreement with Enbridge over the Line 3 reconstruction project on its reservation land.

Dupuis said that decision was made after "extensive consideration."

"A tribal, sovereign decision has been made. After numerous meetings, as well as thoughtful and careful deliberation by our elders reflecting on our community's values and of those yet to come, we stand by that decision," Dupuis said. "We ask that the public respect our sovereignty. Outsiders' actions, regardless of intention, are diverting limited resources away from protecting our community and the community at large."

The Chairman emphasized only tribal governments speak for tribes.

"It is offensive and inappropriate for non-Indians and outsiders to claim they are here to protect the Band and its resources."

In previous interviews with Line 3 protesters camped near the reconstruction site, they have sited their concerns about the reconstruction project's potential environmental impacts.

Enbridge got the final green light from the state of Minnesota to begin the reconstruction project in December, after years of regulatory review.

Briggs LeSavage

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Emma Quinn

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