As we celebrate Earth Day, it’s crucial to reflect not only on the beauty and bounty of our planet but also on the ongoing threats it faces. One threat it currently faces is in the Straits of Mackinac, where the Anishinaabe people of Bay Mills consider the waters where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet as sacred. This area, rich in cultural significance and natural wonders, is now at the center of a battle for environmental justice.

For centuries, the Anishinaabe communities have depended on the abundant fish and wildlife in the Straits for their sustenance and spiritual well-being. The waters here are not just a source of livelihood but a living connection to their heritage and identity. However, this way of life is under threat from the presence of the Line 5 oil pipelines, operated by Enbridge, which pose a constant risk of oil spills in the Great Lakes.

In the 1950s, without consultation with the tribal nations or the public, the State of Michigan granted Enbridge permission to build the Line 5 pipelines, disregarding the potential environmental consequences. Since then, Line 5 has had a troubling history, with over 1.1 million gallons of oil spilled since its construction.

Despite this track record, Enbridge continues to push for the construction of a tunnel to house a new segment of Line 5, prolonging the pipeline’s operational life and perpetuating the risk of future oil spills. This tunnel project has faced fierce opposition from the Anishinaabe tribes, who argue that it jeopardizes not only their way of life but also the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes region.

Recent developments have seen the Bay Mills Indian Community, along with other Tribal Nations, filing legal challenges to overturn permits granted to Enbridge for the tunnel project. These efforts highlight the urgent need to protect the Straits of Mackinac and uphold the rights of indigenous communities who have stewarded these lands since time immemorial.

Granting Enbridge permits for the tunnel project disregards not only the safety concerns of local communities but also the potential for clean energy alternatives. Studies have shown that Line 5 could be decommissioned with minimal impact on jobs and fuel supply, paving the way for a transition to renewable energy sources.

As we celebrate Earth Day, let us stand in solidarity with the Bay Mills Indian Community and other Tribes who are fighting to protect the Straits of Mackinac. It’s time to prioritize the health of our planet and future generations over the profits of corporations. Together, we can ensure that sacred spaces like the Straits remain unspoiled for centuries to come, honoring the legacy of Earth Day and the principles of environmental stewardship. Join the fight:

Button: Donate Today
More blog posts
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.