G.A. Minutes 3-22-14

We’re back in the small gallery again. Yesterday was the 1st day of spring so of course we had 6+ inches of snow dumped on us. That’s pretty normal for this area. When we were here a week ago we were saying that, by looking at the way everything was melting, we’d being going back to the CJM Memorial soon. It doesn’t look that way now. It’s supposed to be cold for the next few days and then the melting will begin again.
Our good friend, the City official, is visiting with us tonight. We haven’t seen him in several months so have lots stories re: corruption and intrigue within the halls of our so called government to catch up on. We know the authorities are rotten to the core but the extent to which this is true still amazes us. Our friend tells us many “for our ears only” stories and we are again, astounded. Our mayor really disgraced himself a few days ago and will possibly not be reelected. We ask our friend if he will run for the office. He laughs heartily and declines.
An Occupier gives a report on the NWA conference in Bemidji that a few of us attended. She says nearly all the speakers, organizers and most of the participants were local Anishinaabe folks. The speakers each presented a unique viewpoint related to Anishinaabe culture and Ma’iigan (the wolf). The Occupiers attending learned a lot and are glad they made the trip.
Almost all the Occupiers attended a public hearing last Thursday concerning the proposed Enbridge Alberta Clipper Tar Sands pipeline. Enbridge wants to greatly increase the capacity of the current pipeline that runs from Canada to Duluth MN/Superior WI. Another company wants to take that tar sands oil and ship it in barges across Lake Superior. This public hearing is supposedly to solicit the opinions of the residents of the Twin Ports. Those speaking in favor of Enbridge are all wearing suits or business attire and stand to make a lot of money if this pipeline increase is allowed. They speak of the financial benefits the project will bring. Those opposed wear various types of clothing and speak of precious water, air pollution, climate change and the need to preserve the planet for future generations. At first it appears the crowd is evenly split but as time goes on it becomes apparent the supporters are greatly outnumbered.
The climax is reached when a group of residents from the Fond du Lac Reservation begin speaking. They say that although their tribal chairperson signed an agreement with Enbridge a few days ago to allow the pipeline which runs across their land to increase capacity, the agreement will not stand. They say their chairperson did not have the authority to singularly sign the agreement and she is in the process of being removed from her position. They remind Enbridge that there are already 2 Enbridge pipelines on reservation land that had been placed secretly years ago. They demand Enbridge remove these pipelines and also ask, “So you’re having this big meeting with all these Duluth people. Where was our meeting? How come you didn’t come out to our reservation and hear what we had to say?” The whole table of well-dressed white men from Enbridge is speechless. They have no answers. When they leave, they don’t look too happy.
Another Occupier mentions there will be a forum about Native people, their allies and methods for working together at UWS 4pm next Tuesday, March 25th. Should we cancel the G.A. and attend the forum? Unanimous happy octopi.
Someone says NORML will be having a presentation at the Zuccone 7pm Sunday March 30th.
One more Occupier states another good Public Resistance email has been received. She makes sure she has everyone’s email addresses so she can send it out. She also reports that the city of Victoria, Australia has just passed a law saying that any form of protest is illegal and punishable by 2 years in prison. A short discussion about the possible type of constitution in effect in Australia develops. The Occupier says as far as she can tell, Occupy Victoria continues to protest.
We bring up the topic of May Day again. It seems many progressive groups want to do something for May Day but no one group feels equipped to take the lead. The Occupiers also are too over committed to take on such a project. One Occupier says, “If nobody gets anything together my partner and I will take our big May Day banner and go down to People’s Power Plaza/Ma’iigan Corner and hold it as long as we can tolerate”.
We notice it is quite dark outside. Many hours have passed. We pack up; call it a night and plan to meet at UWS on Tuesday.