Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
WASHINGTON - John Yellow Bird Steele, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, has had a busy week already. In Washington to voice his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline on Monday, he got the news a Canadian company was transporting pipeline equipment through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Oglala Sioux Delegations at Candlelight Vigil Outside the Canadian Embassy
Five Lakota were arrested Monday evening in Wanblee, South Dakota when they formed a blockade to halt a convoy of trucks going through the reservation.
“From what I was told they sneaked in at 4:00 in the morning.”
Stated Steele Wednesday to the Native News Network at the Museum of the American Indian.
"We are still trying to find out all the details of why they thought they could come through our tribal land."
Steele said he has a meeting with South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard next week.
Since the South Dakota State Police accompanied the convoy, the Native News Network has a call into the governor's office to determine why the Canadian company was using the tribal Bureau of Indian Affairs roads instead of state highways.
Steele and several tribal council members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, along with American Indian actress Tantoo Cardinal, Métis, were at a reception that drew the delegates of the National Congress of American Indian, which concludes its Executive Council Winter Session today.
American Indian Actress Tantoo Cardinal, Métis, Speaks to Candlelight Vigil Protesters
Steele and tribal council members spent the day on Capitol Hill trying to persuade Congressional lawmakers to vote against the Keystone XL pipeline. President Steele and other Lakota leaders have opposed the pipeline because its proposed route would cross, in two different locations, the Mink Wiconi Rural Water pipeline. The Mink Wiconi Rural pipeline provides drinking water from the Missouri River to the Rosebud, Oglala and Lower Brule Lakota Nations.
After attending the reception at the Museum of the American Indian, the Oglala Sioux delegations walked over to a candlelight vigil outside the Canadian Embassy that was sponsored by the Sierra Club Washington DC Legislative Office.
The candlelight vigil participants were there in concert with 20 events held Wednesday worldwide to highlight the Canadian government lobbying efforts in support of oil companies' use of tar sands. This according to Jessica Eckdish, program assistant of Beyond Oil at the Sierra Club, who organized last night's event.
John Yellow Bird Steele
“We wanted to come over to show you our support. We are here in Washington to let Congress know we are against Keystone,”
President Steele told the crowd at the vigil.
"Just this week our reservation had the oil company's equipment come through our reservation. They had no business there."
"The problems we have had to face because of contamination on tribal land have resulted in our children suffering from cancer,"
Said a tearful Cardinal.
"We have to fight to oppose big oil companies coming and contaminating our water supplies."
Others joining President Steele at the vigil were:
Tracy "Ching" King, president of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation's Tribal Council;
Kevin Yellow Bird Steele, tribal council member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe;
Scott Weston, tribal council member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe;
American Indian actress Tantoo Cardinal;
Marty Cobenais, pipeline organizer at the Indigenous Environmental Network and
Attorney, Jennifer Baker, who serves as legal counsel for the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
posted March 8, 2012 1:10 pm est
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