Shutting Down Line 5: A Sovereign Nation’s Fight Against Enbridge’s Line 5 Oil Pipeline

Photograph by MI-CATS

Organizers from the Little Traverse Bay Bands (LTBB) of Odawa Indians, along with environmental activists, took to the water and Mackinac Bridge over Labor Day weekend protesting Enbridge’s sixty-two year old pipeline running through Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac.

Started originally as a single day event ended up as a two day demonstration with a kayaktivist flotilla on Sunday, followed by a Labor Day Bridge Walk. Both included banners, t-shirts, and signs displaying a public outcry to shut down Enbridge’s LIne 5.

Photograph by Nancy Haun

The LTBB Odawa Indians are a federally recognized tribe under Public Law 103-324 and are ceded, according to the Treaty of Washington of 1836 (7 Stat. 491) and the Treaty of Detroit of 1855 (11 Stat. 621), as protectors of our Lakehead Systems and the surrounding bodies of freshwater Enbridge’s Line 5 is currently using to transport crude [1]. If a spill were to occur, the LTBB of Odawa Indian’s territory would be contaminated beyond restoration — putting an end to the Odawa’s way of life.

Line 5 is an environmental threat to Michigan’s Great Lakes when used to transport crude of any kind. Enbridge is responsible for spilling over 6.8 million gallons of oil into our environment [2]. Including the Line 6B catastrophe that devastated Michigan’s Kalamazoo River — with diluted bitumen being one of the many toxic compounds found in the spill [3]. Sparking the Odawa Tribe’s justification for shutting down Line 5 — outlined in Tribal Resolution #030515-01 [2].

Photograph by Dylan Hock

Enbridge jeopardizes not only LTBB’s life line to freshwater, but the rest of Michigan’s Great Lakes community [4]. Our freshwater is a shared resource, according to the easement and agreements made under Act 10, P.A. 1953 — Great Lakes Submerged Lands Act (GLSLA) and public trust law [3]. Therefore, any entity putting our public resources at risk is not only in violation of the GLSA. They are also violating Tribal land agreements made between Indigenous populations and respective governments.

Photograph by Michiele Bourdieu

This lack of accountability and public oversight into corporations who exploit our shared commons is not a surprise considering today’s neoliberal environment [5]. Corporations are allowed to undermine both State as well as Federal law to maximize their profits. And it is because of corporate entities like Enbridge why Treaty lands are being exploited with little to no governance favoring the sovereignty of Indigenous tribes.


1.] Decommission and Safe Removal of Pipeline Running under the Straits of Mackinac. (2015, March 19). Retrieved September 12, 2015, from

2.] FLOW Takes Lead Authoring Line 5 Letter to Governor: Elevating the Public Trust Duty to Protect the Great Lakes | Flow For Water. (2014, July 2). Retrieved September 13, 2015, from

3.] Enbridge Must Restore Environment Injured by 2010 Kalamazoo River Oil Spill | U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region. (2015, June 8). Retrieved September 12, 2015, from

4.] Enbridge Line 5 An Oil Pipeline Under the Great Lakes (2015, April 28). Retrieved September 12, 2015, from Line 5 Factsheet.pdf

5.] Lack of Transparency. (2015, September 3). Retrieved September 12, 2015, from


About JeremyRoyer_

A Blackfoot Indigenous-Aboriginal first and foremost, while at the same time beating back oppression, capitalism, and racism.
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One Response to Shutting Down Line 5: A Sovereign Nation’s Fight Against Enbridge’s Line 5 Oil Pipeline

  1. Pingback: Shutting Down Line 5: A Sovereign Nation’s Fight Against Enbridge’s Line 5 Oil Pipeline | Jeremy Royer

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