Native American peoples across the continent have been trying to protect their lands, their families, their homes and ways of life since First Contact with Euro Americans in the 15th century, and now come new threats, new intrusions, new dangers, giving rise to new strategies, new tactics and—for some tribes—new declarations of war.

The threats posed by fossil fuel extraction and transportation interests are examined from their source to their distribution point. How are people being affected by disasters and how are communities preparing for potential disasters in the future?

Enbridge was incorporated by the Imperial Oil Company—itself a Canadian exploitative manifestation of the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny—as the Interprovincial Pipeline Company in 1949, and began laying pipelines and buying existing pipelines at the same time that US federal policy was to terminate treaties with the tribes wholesale and force the Indians to move off the lands—guaranteed to them in perpetuity by the treaties—into urban areas.

Some tribes lost their entire reservations when the United States terminated their treaties. Most—if not all—other reservations became “checkerboarded” as the US sold off “surplus” Indian land to non-Indians. Only 10% of the White Earth Reservation remains in Indian hands.

Many of Enbridge’s aging and leaking pipelines date from that era, and the Canadian giant—already operating more than 3,000 miles of pipelines—is determined to build more, exploiting weaknesses and gaps in state and federal regulations and using the powers of eminent domain against US citizens defending their homes, farms and families. First Daughter and the Black Snake brings the legacy of these colliding histories into focus.

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