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A group of tribal contractors who work on the Line 3 replacement project are speaking out against the destructive protests that have resulted in vandalized construction equipment, which you can read below:
To: Minnesota Tribal Leaders in the Community and Government,
On Monday, many of our Native workers again were forced to leave their job site on the Line 3 replacement project because protestors trespassed into a construction site and vandalized equipment. This not only created a hardship for our workers, it created additional challenges for our companies.
Protests that disrupt work, damage property, and threaten our employees while claiming to be on behalf of our Native people is creating additional tension and consequences within our tribal communities. They also intentionally create a false narrative that there is no Native American support for this project and the economic impacts and opportunities it brings to our people.
We respect the rights of everyone to express their opinions and to protest. As Native people, making sure our voice is heard is even more important and essential, yet what happened on Monday went far beyond and resulted in Native workers being forced to stop working as their job sites were overrun by protestors.
As a united voice of Tribal businesses, contractors and workers, we are encouraging leaders of Tribal communities across Minnesota to renounce these actions and call on these groups to stop future destructive and unlawful protests that endanger our Native workers and divide the communities in which we work and live.
Josh Whitebird, Whitebird/Casper (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa)
Thomas Whitebird, Whitebird/Casper (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa)
Mike Bass, Owner, MB Customs Development, LLC (Boise Forte Band of Chippewa)
James Jones Jr, Owner, Dirt Divers CRM (Leech Lake band of Ojibwe)
Robert Abramowski, President/CEO, FDL Pipeline Services, FDL Star Construction Inc. (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa)
Matt Gordon, Vice-President, Gordon Construction (White Earth Nation)
One could argue that these contractors released this statement because they have a vested financial interest in the project, which is true, but that doesn’t invalidate their perspective. These are business owners who have had their equipment damaged or destroyed just because they are trying to put food on the table for their families.