Michigan Tribes Condemn Canadian Government Over 1977 Treaty

Michigan tribes have taken aim at Canada for invoking a 1977 treaty allowing for the operation of Line 5 to continue.

These tribes say previous treaties between them and U.S. have higher authority than the one issued by Canada. The 1977 treaty prevents any interference that would affect the operation of any transit pipelines unless there is an actual threat of natural disaster.

Line 5 operator Enbridge has maintained the pipeline is safe but tribes around the state say they risk losing their way of life if there were to be a leak in the straits of Mackinac. Chairperson of the Bay Mills Indian Community Whitney Gravelle said the risk of losing their right to fish and other natural resources is too high.

“Tribal nations treaty rights in this area predate and supersede any of Enbridge’s interests including any rights the government of Canada or Enbridge may claim are bested by treaties, easements, and their subsequent orders,” she said.

Nonprofit Oil and Water Don’t Mix hosted today’s meeting over zoom and also condemned Canada for invoking the treaty.