I'm a Native American proud to be working on Line 3


September 3, 2021

Alex Kormann, Star Tribune

Contractors worked on clearing a strip of land at the Line 3 work site in Aitkin County near Palisade, Minn., Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. Protestors have been gathering for multiple days at a Line 3 work site near the Mississippi River in Aitkin County. A pair have even set up camps in the tops of trees on the work site. Indigenous activists claim that the pipeline construction violates Ojibwe treaties and threaten the river and environment. (Alex Kormann/Star Tribune)

If you read news about the Line 3 pipeline currently under construction in northern Minnesota, you would be led to believe that a foreign company is violating the rights of Native Americans who live there. That is so far from the truth. I should know - I'm an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation who also owns a construction company that has been working on the pipeline since December.

I can understand the public's misperception, because opponents of Line 3 have created a false impression that Native Americans are uniformly opposed to the project. This narrative is accepted by people because Hollywood celebrities and politicians far removed from Minnesota say it must be true, so others believe it. As with most things in the world today, you can't always believe what you see on your smartphone. People should listen to those of us who are actually working on the project, living where this pipeline is being built and creating economic opportunities for our people.

My father started Gordon Construction in 1983 as an excavating company, based in Mahnomen, Minn. There were not many Native-owned businesses at that time. As it grew, we expanded into commercial building construction in 1990. We became a union shop in 2000, and when I took over the business in 2008, we were doing a lot of work building schools, roads, bridges, water mains and storm sewers. At the same time our business expanded, we made sure that our safety and environmental record was strong so we could work on even larger projects. Today we are 200 people strong.



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