By Julia Isaacs

Within 24 hours of reading the invitation to the Treaty People Gathering, I felt clear I wanted to attend. The invitation said:

We rise together for treaties. We rise together for climate. We rise together for our water. We rise together for one another. As Enbridge builds Line 3 through Anishinaabe treaty land and the Mississippi Headwaters, we continue to stand strong in our resistance.

We will not stand by and watch a fossil fuel corporation line its pockets as so much is destroyed, producing oil we don’t need. On June 5–8, we will gather in Northern Minnesota to put our bodies on the line, to stop construction and tell the world that the days of tar sands pipelines are over. Only a major, nonviolent uprising — including direct action — will propel this issue to the top of the nation’s consciousness and force Biden to act. We are rising. Join us.

Attending the Treaty People Gathering was a powerful experience, even though I could only stay through the weekend, and so missed the big action on Monday. I share a few highlights, building on the theme “we rise together for one another.”

I traveled to Minnesota with a car caravan, the Wisconsin Solidarity Tour to Stop Line 3, organized by Tim Cordon, Social Justice Coordinator at the First Unitarian Society of Madison. Setting off Friday morning in a car decorated by my husband and stuffed with two traveling companions, homemade banana bread and cookies, and other essential gear, I felt accompanied by the well wishes of many — and grateful for those from 350 Madison, the Sierra Club, the Quaker community, the Forward! Marching Band, and others who gathered to give us a festive sendoff from Madison.

We stopped for a blessing at the Ho-Chunk pow-wow grounds in Black River Falls. One elder told us he had been praying for our safe travels since he awoke that morning. Another said he hoped to get to the Line 3 resistance camps one day, but for today, he was happy to be sending his best wishes with us. Another elder spoke of us as all being relatives, not just indigenous and nonindigenous people, but also the four-legged and the birds. And as I watched the barn swallows and tree swallows swooping in and out of the roofs of the bleachers circling the pow-wow grounds, I got a clear message, from the birds, the skies, the elders: “You are not alone.“

The sense of community grew on Saturday, when our car caravan arrived at an outdoor event space on the White Earth Reservation. Stumbling out of the car into the summer heat, we were delighted to find a well-organized group of young volunteers who welcomed us and helped cart our gear up the hill.

We arrived in time for the welcoming ceremony, led by a woman whose Anishinaabe name of Gaagigeyaashiik means Everlasting Wind; she also goes by Dawn Goodwin. We also heard from Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth. These were just two of the many women playing the traditional role of water protectors. The welcoming ceremony — with prayer and drums and songs, both traditional and in the rapping style of Thomas X — ended with servings of wild rice soup, available with chicken or in vegan style.

I became a contributing member of the community the next day, taking on parking duty from 8:00 a.m. to noon. As more people arrived for the daylong training in treaty rights and nonviolent direct action, the parking lot filled up, and my role shifted to shuttle driver, bringing people from their parked cars out on the road into camp. It was fun to welcome the many people arriving from all over the country, people of all ages, faiths, races, and cultures, responding to the call from the indigenous women leading the resistance to Line 3.

It was hard to leave on Sunday and I am already thinking about the possibility of a return trip. As I walked to my car to begin the eight-hour drive back to Madison, I saw a large group heading up the hill to learn scores of songs. Watching videos of the action on the Honor the Earth Facebook page on Monday, I heard those songs, sung loudly and repeatedly, so that each person risking arrest knew that he or she was not alone. We — the indigenous and nonindigenous people of Minnesota and Wisconsin, the people traveling in from Seattle or Boston, the people back home who were supporting the action, the four-legged, the birds, the water — were a community, rising for one another.

I invite you to be part of that community. You can help amplify the message by using the links on to sign a petition, email, and call President Biden, telling him to honor the treaty rights of the Anishinaabe, protect the climate, and stop Line 3. For those of us living in the Great Lakes region, we must stop Line 3 in Minnesota and Line 5 in Wisconsin and Michigan, trusting that people in other parts of the globe will rise up to stop dangerous fossil fuel projects where they live.

Join us in rising to protect the water, protect the wild rice, and protect the planet. We rise together for one another.