Environment | National | Politics

Native Sun News: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe linked to Keystone XL

The following story was written and reported by Talli Nauman, Native Sun News Health & Environment Editor. All content © Native Sun News.

Tribal council heads inaugurated Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Spirit Camp in opposition to Keystone XL Pipeline. Photo courtesy/Jennifer Baker

Resolution exposes Lower Brule’s ties to XL Pipeline
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News
Health & Environment Editor

LOWER BRULE — Critics of TransCanada Corp.’s proposal to cross Lakota Territory with the Keystone XL Pipeline revealed a paper trail April 3, which exposed the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe’s disposition to cooperate with the project.

“Be it resolved that the Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Council does hereby authorize Chairman Jandreau to sign a letter to President Obama and Secretary Kerry, stating Lower Brule Sioux Tribe’s prospective benefits and working relationship with TransCanada,” said the paper.

Certified and signed by Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Chairman Michael Jandreau, the paper is a Nov. 12 unanimous council resolution, which anticipates a community investment development program promised by the Canadian proponent of the tar-sands crude-oil pipeline.

The revelation occurred just five days after three other Lakota Nation tribal council heads inaugurated a spirit camp or “Iyuksan” not far from Lower Brule’s tribal headquarters in an effort spearheaded by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe to promote a unified inter-tribal stance against construction of the pipeline.

The Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada Corp. is seeking a Presidential Permit from U.S. State Department Secretary John Kerry and U.S. President Barack Obama to build the Keystone XL Pipeline across the Canada-U.S. border.

The Administration is bound to make a determination of whether the project is in the national interest. Obama has said that depends heavily on the evidence regarding its expected impact on climate change. On its way to the refineries and export facilities on the Gulf of Mexico, the line would go through the territory that was left to the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota by the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty.

The Lower Brule tribal resolution states that council members decided “the tribe would benefit from a potential working relationship with TransCanada,” after meeting with the corporation’s Tribal Relations Department.

Three weeks ago, six tribal chairs concerned about the corporation’s scheme met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington, D.C., they said at the inauguration of the Iyuksan.

Holder’s U.S. Department of Justice is one of eight federal agencies that are weighing in with the State Department on whether Keystone XL is in the national interest, according to the pipeline resisters in Bold Nebraska.

The list includes the departments of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, and Interior, as well as the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the Transportation Department.

“While none of these agencies is formally accepting public comments at this point on the KXL decision, we're encouraging activists to contact them via letter, phone, email and tweet to tell them KXL is all risk and no reward for our land, water and climate,” the Lincoln-based non-profit said.

Members of Bold Nebraska and the Cowboy and Indian Coalition visited the tipi encampment on the weekend of its inauguration in a show of mutual opposition to the pipeline project.

The camp is in the community of Ideal, located at a spot in the proposed pipeline corridor nearly centered between the Rosebud, Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River, Lower Brule, Crow Creek, and Yankton Sioux Indian reservations.

To emphasize concern for pipeline spills’ potential to sully ground and surface water in the Great Plains, spirit camp occupiers launched a program April 4 called Fresh Water Fridays.

Participants pray for protection of the Cheyenne River, the Ogallala Aquifer, and the Mni Wiconi Rural Water Supply pipeline, among other water sources threatened by the Keystone XL project. They want supporters to show solidarity by drinking only water on Fridays.

The Cowboy and Indian Coalition plans to take part in a peaceful nationwide assault on Washington, D.C. April 26, to demonstrate opposition to the pipeline. On April 25, the non-profit Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) has penciled into the calendar a training camp at Red Shirt for non-violent direct action to stop what it is calling “the black snake.”

Organizers of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s spirit camp team, Shield the People, and the United Urban Warrior Society promise other encampments to strengthen pipeline opposition.

(Contact Talli Nauman, NSN Health and Environment Editor at talli.nauman@gmail.com) Copyright permission Native Sun News

Join the Conversation