Native Americans Prepare a “Last Stand” Against Keystone XL

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Faith Spotted Eagle, a Yankton Sioux, speaks in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, with Carl Hudson, Chief of the Southern Cherokee, right, awaits his turn to speak, during the U.S. State Department's sole public hearing in Grand Island, Neb., Thursday, April 18, 2013, to allow citizens to make their views known on the $7.6 billion Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Faith Spotted Eagle, a Yankton Sioux, speaks in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, with Carl Hudson, Chief of the Southern Cherokee, right, awaits his turn to speak, during the U.S. State Department's sole public hearing in Grand Island, Neb., Thursday, April 18, 2013, to allow citizens to make their views known on the $7.6 billion Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

The only reason the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline wasn’t approved years ago is that activists, deeming it a vital proxy in the larger battle to keep the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground, have applied relentless pressure on the Obama administration. But in the Great Plains, Native Americans have little confidence that the project can be stopped by traditional political activism.

On Sunday, Rob Hotakainen reported for McClatchy that some tribal leaders are preparing to mount a “last stand” against the pipeline if the White House approves its construction.

Hotakainen writes:

Faith Spotted Eagle figures that building a crude oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast would bring little to Indian Country besides more crime and dirty water, but she doubts that Native Americans will ever get the U.S. government to block the $7 billion project.

“There is no way for Native people to say no – there never has been,” said Spotted Eagle, 65, a Yankton Sioux tribal elder from Lake Andes, S.D. “Our history has caused us not to be optimistic. . . . When you have capitalism, you have to have an underclass – and we’re the underclass.”

Opponents may be down after a State Department study found that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would not contribute to global warming. But they haven’t abandoned their goal of killing what some call “the black snake.”

In South Dakota, home to some of the nation’s poorest American Indians, tribes are busy preparing for nonviolent battle with “resistance training” aimed at TransCanada, the company that wants to develop the 1,700-mile pipeline.

While organizers said they want to keep their strategy a secret, they’re considering everything from vigils to civil disobedience to blockades to thwart the moving of construction equipment and the delivery of materials.

“We’re going to do everything we possibly can,” said Greg Grey Cloud of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, who attended a two-day conference and training session in Rapid City last week sponsored by the Oglala Sioux Tribe called “Help Save Mother Earth from the Keystone Pipeline.” He said tribes are considering setting up encampments to follow the construction, but he stressed that any actions would be peaceful. “We’re not going to damage anything or riot or anything like that,” he said.

In some of the poorest communities in the country, others are looking at the project as a source of vital economic development. Read the whole story at

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  • Keetoowah

    Oil for Asia, Nothing for Native Americans

  • Anonymous

    And yet I have still had people insist to me that “we didn’t treat them so bad” – as if *even if that were true*, we *weren’t still sticking it to them*!!

  • delvalle7

    Hasn’t enough of their land been trespassed upon and stolen? It’s their land… if they say no it should be no.

  • tom allen

    Since this is not in the interest of National Security and only that of Non Tax Paying Big Business. I for one will not allow this contamination to go forward on any of the people of this country. The land and it’s water, is of the People’s Concern and interest, Not making Politicians or Oil Companies Rich! If China wants this Oil they can go to Canada and get it! WE DO NOT NEED ONE DROP OF THIS CONTAMINATION TO TOUCH THE EARTHS SURFACE!

  • Annie Stratton

    Many Native Americans exposed to the beliefs of christianity felt it had something to offer and studied it, Some adopted it. Sore disappointment to learn that Europeans often used the words but did not practice the teachings. Others truly practiced the teachings, and respected the Native Nations. And there are still Native Americans who believe and practice, some who don’t, many who adapt Jesus teachings into the teachings of the old way. Who are you to speak against someone who, in all apparent sincerity, from deep in her own faith, prays for peace and harmony for all people and nations? She offers a gift from her heart. You do not have to agree with her faith to acknowledge her gift. It is not your place to accept or reject it. I am mixed Navaho/Paiute, not registered but raised in a traditional way, not christian but honor those christians who live by their teachings.

  • Anonymous

    God, if there is such as thing, has left this dying planet. We are allowing the wealthy and Godless, to defecate all over His gift called Earth. The waters and lands run red with the blood of the innocent and voiceless, massacred by the same.

  • Anonymous

    I have been following IDLE NO MORE. They are remarkable group that could stand our support.

  • Anonymous

    And the Asian, and the African and the Indonesian, and the middle Easterners, and the South Americans. Anyone who does not believe in their Golden Calf, are now considered “extremists.”

  • seabreezn .

    In the Northeast US we are also fighting Mobil Exxon for using old pipes to reverse flow of tar sands through ME, just shy of a large water source to many residents…Safety is a huge issue =look @ Kalamazoo 3 years after a tar sands spill=same state . “If” there was an investment into safety = new pipes, better layout plan . People would be a bit more considerate…but , it’s TAKE chance & potentially damage a land of the people . Commen sense mid-line is the approach we look for…Good Luck , Spirit Speed .

  • Dennis Smith

    It makes no sense to give the resources of this great nation to the undeserving and legally steal land from hard working citizens. And for no benefit other than to make the rich even richer. God speed to the Native Americans with their fight. We are doing what we can in Kentucky to stop XL. Nobody wants this Albatross except the Wealthy and their Republican Yes Men

  • Darryl Harris

    Heads up FAM. I have had a account on MSNBC for a long time now and I posted a discussion Last weekend and MSNBC FB liked our Sedition Action Now page, and I am not sure where or how they saw it…… The Site is a community page that Charges the Republicans for Sedition against the Government, nullification, and shutting down the government, constantly refuse to vote on issues.

    You will find more in our petition to Congress and the White House.. Together we are powerful…

    You will see links to the petition in our Page Notes and posted on our page… As you all already know Every Red State is trying implement Tar Sands or Ramp up it’s production, while trying to bring in the “New Jim Crow” … Well not our watch… Please check it and invite your friends to like it, as MSNBC did…. Peace Love and Light….

  • Orchid

    Each State is required to uphold the Federal Endangered Species Act which stops development that will harm a species or it’s habitat.

  • Anonymous

    What exactly has to happen for us to realize that burning ever heavier fossil carbon deposits at ever increasing rates will have consequences for the world we leave behind ?

  • Darryl Harris

    We are fighting it in Indiana, Chicago and MIchigan, Enbridge connections to Key Stone… in the Midwest..

  • Darryl Harris

    So True…

  • Darryl Harris

    Ever Since Citizens United Supreme Court Decision allowing Personhood for Corporations, GOP controlled States are seeking to use Title 10, (States Rights) to legally institute, a slave state and formulating Alliances through Not for Profits to carry it out. Giving Industrialized Farming Companies who receive Federal Subsidies,”Constitutional Rights” under the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision allowing Personhood for Corporations has been mentioned in various articles, and comments on twitter. My opinion is that States who participate in these kinds of legislative activities should not receive any Federal Tax Dollars and should be reviewed for intent and purpose for such laws that allow Constitutional Rights for Corporations and giving them the Right to Harm. Sign The Petition

  • Darryl Harris

    Think they would learn by listening to the people but they haven’t: Look at what they are doing in Indiana too….