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A group of people has set up a camp next to an Enbridge Line 2 testing and maintenence site along the Canada-U.S. border near Gretna.

The group is there to protect the land, not to protest, says organizer and Dakota woman Geraldine McManus.

"I have to stop this right here. I'm not letting them pass. I don't care. I will lay right on that line. I will chain myself to anything I have to chain myself to. Doesn't matter to me. I'm ready to go the long haul with this," McManus said.

The group arrived at 2 a.m. Wednesday and doesn't plan on leaving any time soon, McManus says.

"I'm here as long as it is going to take to shut this down. It's not just about shutting them down and not letting them through; it's about making them responsible, making these corporations responsible," she said.

The organizer says they believe that the initiators of this pipeline project failed to include Indigenous people in the conversation.

"This is Crown land right here, this is our land. If you wanted to go across this land, why didn't you ask us Indigenous people in the first place? You only asked a few chosen people. That's not our community, those couple of people that they asked and the few people that approved this line. That's not a majority consent," McManus said.

McManus has participated in similar events before, such as the Standing Rock protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2017.

"I don't believe that anyone has the right to keep destroying our environment, our waterways, our food sources ... and we see it every day around the world, what's going on. The pipes leak, it's a given, they all leak. And if that's what's going to happen then at some point as human beings we've got to just say no," McManus said.

Five people were at the site - called the Spirit of the Buffalo Camp - shortly after noon, where a sacred fire had been lit and the group participated in prayer. McManus says she expects thousands more to join them in the future.

"We are aware that a number of individuals are observing our Line 2 maintenance work site near the Canada U.S. border. Safety of our workers and others present near the site is our number one priority. Enbridge respects people’s right to express their views safely and in accordance with the law," said Michael Barnes, an Enbridge spokesperson, in an email statement.

enbridge line3The Enbridge Line 2 testing and maintenance site on the U.S. side of the border

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