MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota regulatory panel on Tuesday signed off on Enbridge Energy's planned Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement across northern Minnesota, leaving only one minor state permit to go before construction can begin.
The independent Public Utilities Commission notified Enbridge in a filing that the company has complied with its pre-construction requirements. Enbridge said in a statement that the authorization to begin construction means only a final construction storm water permit is needed from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency before construction can begin.
The approval came one day after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the final federal permit for the project. The PUC had approved the project several times before.
MPCA spokesman Darin Broton said his agency has 30 days from Monday to decide.
Line 3 begins in Alberta, Canada, and clips a corner of North Dakota before crossing Minnesota on its way to Enbridge's terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Enbridge wants to replace the Minnesota section because it was built in the 1960s, and its increasing maintenance needs mean the company can run it at only half its original capacity. Replacement segments in Canada, North Dakota and Wisconsin are already complete.
Opponents say the project threatens spills in pristine waters where Native Americans harvest wild rice and that the Canadian tar sands oil it would carry would aggravate climate change.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The University of South Florida acknowledged this week that its campus in Tampa is located on land once occupied by the Seminole people and other Native Americans, an admission meant to give context to the Thanksgiving holiday most Americans are celebrating Thursday.
In a statement released earlier this week, the university's department of anthropology said it recognized “the historical and continuing impacts of colonization on Indigenous communities.”
The Tampa Bay Times said the acknowledgement was drafted by a diversity and inclusion committee, which consulted with members of the Seminole tribe.
Native Americans were the first people to inhabit the Tampa Bay area. European forces brought disease, slavery and destruction to Indigenous cultures. During the Seminole wars of the 1800s, President Andrew Jackson called for the removal of the Seminole people from the area.
The acknowledgement “is something that's been a long time coming,” said Sarah Taylor, a faculty member who chairs the diversity and inclusion committee. “Acknowledging the land you're on and land you're using is a traditional behavior of many Native American groups. It's a sign of respect. Acknowledging this is important to being able to start a dialogue.”
Over the last decade, other universities, including Northwestern, the University of Illinois and the University of Connecticut have issued land acknowledgment statements.
“It's a continuation of the rise in awareness of issues of social justice, systemic racism and the silences that have surrounded our understanding and knowledge of different communities and people which are contained or often hidden within the national story,” said Antoinette Jackson, chair of the anthropology department. “This acknowledgement is part of that trajectory, especially on the heels of the Black Lives Matter statements that people were putting out over the summer because of the rising issues that culminated with George Floyd's murder.”
By SOPHIA EPPOLITO
Associated Press/Report for America
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A mostly white high school near Salt Lake City will replace its contentious Braves mascot after nearly 70 years, the principal said Monday, as school and professional sports teams face increasing backlash about using Native American names and symbols.
Bountiful High School will start the process of selecting a “culturally sensitive mascot that will unite all stakeholders,” Principal Aaron Hogge announced. He did not provide a timeline or what replacement names are being considered but said the class of 2021 will graduate as Braves.
“At times, depictions of Native Americans has crossed a line of cultural respect,” Hogge said. “Attempts have been made over the years to become more culturally sensitive. I believe leaders and students in the past have had the best of intentions to create unity, respect, honor, courage and bravery when they used the Braves mascot.”
An informal mascot - a student dressed up in feathers - is no longer allowed at school events but calls for Bountiful to change the Braves name mounted this summer during a nationwide push for racial justice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the NFL team in Washington dropping the Redskins name.
Bountiful's logo also was changed in recent years from a Native American man to the letter “B” with a feather or arrow on it, Davis County School District spokesman Chris Williams said.
Administrators began reviewing the mascot in early August and created a committee to identify and discuss concerns by those wishing to remove it. They sought input from representatives of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, students, faculty and staff, as well as community members.
It's not clear how many high schools have built their sports team imagery around Native Americans, but advocates have said it's in the hundreds - down significantly from decades ago.
At the college level, Native American mascots seen as “hostile and abusive” have been banned in championship play since 2005. Some schools, including the University of Utah and Florida State University, have agreements with local tribes to use their names and imagery.
Professional sports teams that have Native American-themed names and mascots increasingly are facing backlash, including baseball's Atlanta Braves and the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. This summer, the Cleveland Indians baseball team said it would talk with Native Americans as it considers a name change.