ACT Together: Sarah Holst’s Speech at the ‘Hold the Line March and Hearing to Stop Line 3 Pipeline’
On September 28, 2017, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Minnesota State Capitol to oppose the building of Enbridge’s Line 3. Enbridge plans to abandon the old, corroding pipeline and build a new one through some of Minnesota’s most fragile ecosystems, which also happen to be the only lakes where the wild rice, scared to the Anishinaabe people, grows. EcoFaith Recovery’s Intern Coordinator
Sarah Holst was asked to speak at the rally before the march as a “faith-leader.” Here are the words that Sarah shared:
I am going to start with words from local artist and musician Katherine Parent. In her song “From the Youth” she sings, “The only way that love can stop the wars, is if we fight for each other, and the only power that we’ve got to win, we’ve got to build it together.”
I was asked here today to bring a faith-leader perspective. And I will do so as a white Christian Settler. My ancestors came to this place from Czechoslovakia, Bohemia, and Germany in the early 1900s. They were looking for land that could sustain them, and water to give them life.
And my people were able to do this due to violent, dehumanizing decrees such as the Doctrine of Discovery. Today, I stand in the knowledge of my history, the memory of those who came before me alive in my blood, and I seek healing for them by struggling to end the legacy of racist genocide that my ancestors, often unwittingly, perpetuated.
I am standing against Line 3 as a Roman Catholic, as a faith-leader, seeking to reclaim a decolonized Christianity that takes responsibility and seeks reparations for the gruesome realities of the Doctrine of Discovery and the long history between the European Christian Church and genocide and ecocide. I work for a transformed, changed way of being a guest on this land by joining my voice with the outcry of indigenous leaders and putting my heart and body on the side of healing and hope.
I do so as a Disciple of Jesus, an indigenous Palestinian man with brown skin, who worked as a co-healer with the water and the mud.
Can my white Christian Settler siblings renew faith in this embodied, healing God? We say we believe in resurrection, so can we, with humility, admit our mistakes and resurrect from our own ashes?
Our chance begins today as we stand together to stop Line 3 and demand a clean up of the old corridor. And our chances will continue on… Christians have a story of the Holy Spirit descending from heaven in the form of a dove. Today, I am hoping we can learn God’s ways from the wild geese. Let us work in tandem, holding up our indigenous siblings as they powerfully and prayerfully lead, and lifting our own voices to call out, again and again and again, lending the power of our wings and lungs to the battle to protect the water, healthy, healed communities and the right to a sacred, connected way of life.
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