every molecule in me, and in you, and in us, carries the memory of right relationship…
Liz Loeb, MNIPL Associate Director, delivered the following remarks on July 22, 2021, as part of the Jewish Voices for Peace political education gathering to stop the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline.
Hello friends. It is such a delight and such a gift to be with you all today. Thank you so much to Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg for inviting me, and to everyone who organized this powerful conversation.
My name is Liz Loeb, I use she/her pronouns, and I am here on Dakotah land in NE Minneapolis, one block away from the Mississippi River. I am the Associate Director of Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light – often called MNIPL. MNIPL works statewide and nationally to organize people of faith, conscience, and spiritual practice at the intersection of climate justice and racial justice. MNIPL been working in relationship and in deep partnership with the Native and Indigenous women who are leading at front lines of the movement to stop Line 3, ad we are proud to be invited into solidarity, into witness, into action, and into dreaming towards a world whether water is sacred, where Native treaty rights and sovereignty are respected, and where rural communities can prosper and thrive.
As a queer Jew, I know that my life cannot be separated from a relationship to the earth and to all beings. As a Jew of Ashkenazi inheritance whose family has lived in diaspora for longer than we can remember, I long for a sense of home, of place, of land and of belonging. And here in Minnesota – a Dakotah word that means “where the water is so clear it reflects the sky” – I know that aliveness and liberation for which I most yearn cannot be possible while living on stolen land, and while we continue to violate the treaty rights and sovereignty of Native people.
A million years ago in what sometimes feels like another lifetime ago, I had the privilege of studying quantum physics. I learned that we are made of stardust, that time and space and the galaxy are infinite and unknowable and real and magnificent all at once, that all life and the possibility of life consists at its core of relationships and change, that all of our actions have an impact, that that impact extends beyond any measure of our horizons, and that matter is not solid at all. We are not solid at all. We are made of constant motion, of oscillating electrical charges that spin and spin in a web of interconnection and interdependence. The being I call me or you was created by thousands of years of light travelling in all directions. I tell you this in order to invite you to feel in the resonance and magnetic field of your body and sinew and bone what I mean when I say that every molecule in me, and in you, and in us, carries the memory of right relationship. So when we become part of a movement to stop a pipeline, to join water protectors, to fight for Native sovereignty and treaty rights, to honor the water, to create a just transition to sustainable and renewable resources rooted in racial justice and an end to white supremacy, we are doing the work of coming home to ourselves. We are fueling liberation with the gorgeous fire of our sensual desire. We are doing t’shuvah at a cosmic scale.
How then, amidst all these big feelings and pretty words, do we do the thing that calls us to the woods and the trees and the rivers?
At MNIPL, we have spent years building relationships of active solidarity with Native and Indngenous women at the front lines. We show up, we organize other people to show up. We come with the grounding of spiritual practice in many different forms. We leverage our resources and institutional power. We organize local and statewide organizations to throw down, to turn the pressure up, to act in multiplicity and in collective strategy to yes and yes and yes to stop the line 3 pipeline, but also to stop all pipelines, but also to build a world where the life of the plant and the lives of our relatives cannot be made into a thing to be bought and sold and owned, but also to end the relationships of violence and extraction that make pipelines possible at all.
Right now, we are part of a national solidarity movement, and there are going to be lots and lots of chances for you to be part of that. That might mean coming to the front lines in ways that are possible for you, it might mean organizing others, it might mean having conversations and doing political education, it might mean writing and speaking and using forms of media to change the narrative and the conversation, it might mean pressuring the Biden administration, it might mean direct action and civil disobedience, it might mean things we haven’t even yet glimpsed. All I know is that we need you, and we need the wondrous possibilities that you bring in all of the many different ways that you are able to bring them.
I encourage you to learn about the Line 3 pipeline, about why it so deeply threatens our ecosystem, and about all of the ways that the pipeline route violates the legally guaranteed treaty rights od Native people and of sovereign Native nations. And more than that, I encourage you to tap into your joy – into your most expansive glimmering not of what we are trying to stop, but of what we are here to create. Take courage from the rights of wild rice – Manoomin – which the White Earth Nation legally recognizes as a relative with the “inherent rights to exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve, as well as inherent rights to restoration, recovery, and preservation.”
One last thing, which I would be remiss not to tell you. The same police tactics that led to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis are being used to threaten, harass, intimidate, and harm water protectors on Native treaty land in Northern Minnesota. Learn about the Northern Lights Task Force – an unaccountable, multi-jurisdictional militarized law enforcement operation created to terrorize water protectors in service of profits for the Enbridge oil company, and heed the calls to action from the front lines. Earlier today, Winona LaDuke, a member of the White Earth Nation and one of the core leaders on the front lines to stop line 3 is being held in an Aiken County jail, after being held for days in a Wadena County jail, all for the crime of praying on Native land. Native women gathered outside the Aiken County jail, singing and praying for their sister, and they are asking us to join us. Follow Honor the Earth and MNIPL on Facebook for updates – things are happening fast and unfolding in real time. We need national pressure and a national movement, and we will do our best to keep letting you know how to be part of it.
Thank you friends. It fills my heart to be here. Love and love and gratitude