Spoiler alert: Will discuss plot from Tank Girl, but it came out in 1995 so you had plenty of time to see it.
Tank Girl started as a comic book drawn by Jamie Hewlett and written by Alan Martin that spotlights Tank Girl, her boyfriend Booga a mutant Kangaroo, and their adventures in drugs, sex, and violence. My first interaction with it’s content was from the movie Tank Girl, released in 1995 which just so happens to be the same year I was born (coincidence? I think not). It would become my favorite movie catapulting me into the comic book world. The film stars Lori Petty as Tank Girl and her life in a post-apocalyptic world in 2033 after a comet hit the earth causing a global drought. The main conflict in the film is over the availability of water. A single company Water & Power has all the water and operates on slave labor to get the water they don’t have. Tank Girl and her rag tag group of friends siphon water, leading to Tank Girl’s friends being murdered. Without getting too much into the plot Tank Girl ends up taking on this company and destroying it (teamed up with Ice Tea as a mutant kangaroo so it’s really worth watching).
While Tank Girl has been an influential icon for me almost my whole life, for the first time in my life I realized she’s a Water Protector. A few weeks ago, I learned about Line 3. Line 3 is an old Canadian pipeline that transports tar sands from Canada to Wsiconcin. Tar sands look like the black top people use for driveways, but they can’t be transported through a pipeline as a solid, so it gets mixed with cancer causing chemicals and pushed through at a high pressure. The pipeline has had over 900 “structural anomalies” stated by Enbridge, the company responsible. Their plan to fix it consists of leaving this old pipeline exactly where it is contaminated and all, and carve out a new pathway for a brand new pipeline.
If you thought it can’t get worse, it does, so buckle in. The brand new pipeline is not only outdated technology in a world that is switching to renewables, but the land it goes through in Minnesota is Ojibwe Treaty Territory, watersheds including going under the Mississippi River, and cutting through wild rice fields. The Ojibwe people have stepped up to fight against Line 3 to protect the water, the burden to fight for justice once again being placed on oppressed groups. Not only are Natives the most managed ethnic group in the US, but reservations are currently some of the most contaminated land in the US. Contaminating watersheds wouldn’t just affect Natives, it would affect everyone who depends on that water shed. That should sound scary but what makes it terrifying is that Line 3 will extend to Superior, Wisconsin, which is where Lake Superior is. The Great Lakes system is completely interconnected putting all these bodies of water at risk.
These companies just want more money, meanwhile we just want clean water. That’s why I’ve spent the last few weeks applying for a grant through my job. Recently the grant was approved so I along with a team of organizers and community leaders have spent the last 2 days traveling to Minnesota to join our Indigenous brothers and sisters in the fight against Line 3. Yesterday I got to stand by the Mississippi River for the first time as night was falling. Water is extremely powerful, I was surprised when I couldn’t hear it. The frozen top insulates the water and the sound. I was blown away by the quiet, seemingly silent to me but bursting with life inside and providing life to its surrounding. In the moment I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. We fight for the water because it gives life and we need it but also because it has its own identity and was here so much longer than we have been.
Maybe it’s all the comic books I read or the movies I was raised on but I felt the call to step up as a Water Protector because it’s the right thing to do. Our Native community has asked for more boots on the ground because as the ground thaws for spring construction can move forward making every moment count. Every moment we cause the pipeline to delay is money we are costing Enbridge and money is the only language corporations speak. I urge anyone who can travel to come as well.
I will document my trip here in hopes of raising some awareness about what is happening at Line 3. I am currently fundraising money so supplies can be purchased for the Water Protectors Camp, if you are able please donate here, everything helps. There is a large need for mud boots in particular.