Shanai Matteson is a writer, artist, and cultural organizer who lives in rural Palisade, Minnesota—in the community where she grew up, and where her family settled over 100 years ago. In 2020 Matteson moved with her two children back to Palisade, and has been living at one of the pipeline resistance camps created by Anishinaabe water protectors to stop the Line 3 oil pipeline. Line 3 crosses the Mississippi and Willow Rivers here in northern Aitkin County.
In October, construction of this new pipeline was completed, in spite of a years-long and growing resistance movement in which over 900 people were arrested for taking direct action. Though Enbridge announced that the pipeline was now fully operational, efforts to stop flow of tar sands oil and to resist further destruction of land, water and native rights continues.
As a non-Native person living in occupied Anishinaabe lands, much of Matteson’s recent artwork and writing concerns settler accountability, and finding ways to evolve and grow a land ethic grounded in truth-telling and repair. This piece was written at a tender time, when the camp and community that had been here throughout the past year felt the impact of the pipeline being finished, even as struggles to defend land and water continued.