I don’t look to Washington, I look to White Earth

Greetings from the first day of our pipeline experience! Today we visited the Pine Point community in White Earth, and then we met with Honor the Earth and the White Earth Land Recovery Project. We learned about how they make solar furnaces for homes, how they prepare wild rice, and their efforts to save the seeds of traditional corn varieties. Then we moved on to visit the water protectors at Camp Turtle Island, an Indigenous camp devoted to restoring cultural knowledge and sustainable community living – and standing against the Line 3 pipeline.

The stories we heard today are beautiful. They’re stories of people with bold visions for their communities, rooted in a long history of resilience, guided by love of creation and hope for future generations. We learned about how solar furnaces can save families money on their energy costs and be part of a locally sustainable economy for generations to come. We sat around a camp table with Water Protectors, looked at maps of wild rice beds and the Draft EIS for Line 3, and talked about what it means to honor treaty rights. I’m deeply grateful for the gift of hearing these visions and for the hospitality we received – and I sit here at the end of the day inspired by their energy and their example.

I often feel despair when I think about the things our leaders do – things like leaving the Paris agreement. But days like today remind me of something really important. Our true leaders are the people who go to work every day to give life to a more beautiful vision – people like the ones we met today. When I look to the people who will take us beyond Paris, to a better world, I don’t look to Washington. I look to White Earth, and to communities everywhere that are writing a new story. Our future won’t be handed to us, but we can create the world we know is possible by following the leadership of the communities that are already building it. Today I feel much more hope than despair.


Brent Murcia works with MNIPL’s Just Solar program, serves as Office Manager, and leads MNIPL’s pipeline work. This week, he is on the road with MNIPL leaders, visiting our partners at the heart of pipeline resistance in MN.