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PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION On March 26, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council passed Resolution 13-60 "reaffirming the Yellow Bird Steele-Poor Bear administration opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline from crossing the Mni Wiconi Water Line, any part of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and any and all 1851 and 1868 treaty lands."
The Keystone XL pipeline's planned route crosses much of the Lakota treaty territory, meaning the resolution bans the Pipeline from most of the northern great plains. The resolution also cites the traditional and contemporary responsibility of all Lakota people: "through ancient indigenous cultural and spiritual concepts we have always respected and maintained good relations with the animals, air, land and water of our traditional homelands since time immemorial."
The Resolution also bans any governmental consultation with any entity of the Oglala Sioux Tribe to negotiate passage on behalf of the Tribe.
During the discussion, Debra White Plume of Owe Aku, a Lakota grandmother, spoke in favor of the Resolution. The facts presented by Mrs. White Plume not only spoke to the reasons to oppose the pipeline, but also demonstrated the success of education and training about protection of sacred water.
“Pila miya, to James Cross of Tribal Council, for bringing this, and all the council members here,”
Owe Aku has developed an educational and training program that has been presented at many different gatherings over the past three years, including Moccasins on the Ground, which was held in Manderson, South Dakota March 8-10. Trainings are planned for Yankton and Cheyenne River in the coming weeks.
“We just completed a Moccasins of the Ground Training here on the Pine Ridge Homeland in collective action with Great Plains Tarsands Resistance and Tarsands Blockade. More than 300 people participated in the three day training experience. We had a Water Ceremony conducted by our elders and an Icicuse Ceremony, Making of the Vow, with our Whip Bearer of the Tokala Warrior Society. It was very powerful. We are ready to move on in our Tour, every door to opposing the KXL is closing one by one. Soon the only door left open will be direct action. We intend to focus our limited resources on making NVDA training available to the grassroots people on the land in the Keystone XL pipeline proposed route,”
stated White Plume.
The Council resolution did not hesitate in using international law, citing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Article 32, sections 1-3, state in part "Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources", "particularly in connection with the development, utilizations or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources." The Resolution also spoke directly to the federal process and sent a message to President Obama that "the result of allowing these pipelines to cross Indian Country will be an ecological and environmental disaster." The public comment period on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline ends in the middle of April and the Resolution will be forwarded to the President of the United States.
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posted April 1, 2013 7:40 am edt