Originally published on WagingNonviolence.org
When Dawn Goodwin went down to the bank of the upper Mississippi River on Dec. 4, she just wanted to spend some time honoring the traditions of her people. Goodwin was part of a small group of Mississippi Band Anishinaabe women visiting a traditional teaching lodge, or waaginoogan, near where Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 oil pipeline would cross under the river. Upon reaching the waaginoogan, she was distressed to see the stumps of clear-cut trees and other damage where Enbridge had cut a path for the pipeline. Gazing at the destruction, Goodwin felt moved to act.
“I thought, I needed to pray here,” Goodwin said. “I wandered off toward one of the trees they had cut. I sat down to pray and visit with it.”
Although Goodwin has been fighting to stop Line 3 for years, in that moment she had no thought of engaging in a direct action. All around her were severed stumps, and a tree feller stood idle. “The machine was turned off, so I knew I was safe,” Goodwin said. Only when a sheriff’s department officer came toward her through the bushes did she realize she was technically trespassing in the pipeline construction zone. Because of her actions, nearby work had to stop.