In mid-January, more than 20 health professionals presented testimony to Gov Tim Walz’s office on the health risks of Line 3. As a first-year medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School and as a tribal member of the Ohkay Owingeh and San Felipe Pueblo, I spoke about the impacts Line 3 could have on manoomin (wild rice) and its effects on the tribal communities whose culture and lives are deeply rooted. Four wild rice fields reside in the construction and operation of the pipeline pathway, and a total of 17 wild rice fields reside within a half mile of the pipeline pathway.
Manoomin is central to the Anishinaabe’s creation-migration story; a prophecy was told that the Anishinaabe were to move where the food grows on water. Additionally, manoomin is a sacred, traditional, and healthy food used for sustenance; it is a staple in Anishinaabe diets. Ricing activities also provide physical activity, a strong sense of community, and spiritual well-being that contributes to an average of $90,000 per year of prevented health care costs for Native Americans in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is going to hear from the public on Jan. 31.
It is time we make our voice heard and demand a transition to a renewable and sustainable energy future. Minnesota is in a position of unique opportunity where it can stop the Line 3 Replacement Project and move forward as a leader of green energy for other states to follow. Green energy will safeguard manoomin, tribal health, and future generations.
Thaius Somchai Boyd