BLACK SNAKE KILLERS
The Anishinaabe-led fight against the Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline.
Black Snake Killers documents the Anishinaabe-led struggle against the Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline — referred to by activists as the Black Snake — during the final 3 months of Line 3’s construction. Line 3 was built by Enbridge, a Canadian pipeline giant, to carry over 800,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Alberta, Canada, to a port in Superior, Wisconsin, USA. Along the way it crosses wide swaths of Anishinaabe territory, where treaties maintain Indigenous residents' right to live, hunt, fish and gather.
For almost a decade, Anishinaabe land defenders and their allies have fought Line 3, which has an emissions footprint roughly equal to 50 coal-fired power plants. They have attended public hearings, chained themselves to construction equipment to delay drilling under waterways, staged wide-scale protests and lived, sometimes for years, at resistance camps along the pipeline’s route. Throughout all of this, activists have been met with arrest, violations of treaty rights and frac-outs on their homelands.
The Line 3 pipeline crosses critical wetlands, forests and numerous waterbodies, including the Mississippi River, twice. A potential oil spill along the pipeline route threatens not just Anishinaabe lands and cultures, but the 18 million people that depend on the Mississippi for drinking water.
The struggle over Line 3 is just one of hundreds of Indigenous-led land and water defense movements ongoing around the world, against extractive industries.
Anishinaabe and many other Indigenous environmental activists worldwide argue that restoring land to Indigenous stewardship — thereby respecting Indigenous rights and keeping resources out of the hands of fossil fuel companies — is a key means of preserving biodiversity and protecting our planet from further environmental destruction.
For more on Line 3 and Indigenous-led movements against extractive industry, see the report "Indigenous Resistance Against Carbon (2021)" published by Indigenous Environmental Network and Oil Change International.