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Mark Anthony Rolo: Declaration of war against Keystone Pipeline

A view of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Spiritual Camp in South Dakota, a camp to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline. Photo from Shielding the People / Facebook

Reporting for The Progressive, Mark Anthony Rolo discusses tribal opposition to the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline:
Just outside Winner, South Dakota, on sparsely populated land, sits a small camp made up of two Army tents and a few teepees, surrounded by 1,500-pound hay bales that protect against the prairie’s raging winter winds.

Above the camp fly flags from six Sioux Indian tribes. And down a nearby embankment is the camp’s sweat lodge. Though fragile and vulnerable to the elements, Spirit Camp is a revered spiritual fortress for these Sioux nations. Spirit Camp was raised for prayer, council fires, and ceremonies, but should a proposed Canadian oil pipeline get President Obama’s clearance to run through the Dakotas and down to Texas, Spirit Camp will become the headquarters of a people prepared to go to war.

“We buried medicine in that pipeline route,” says Gary Dorr, who is a Nez Perce native and one of Spirit Camp’s coordinators. “In February, we held a ceremony and a spirit leader said the camp is the embodiment of a prayer. Right now, we are a spiritual camp. But if construction of that pipeline does break ground we’ll become a blockade camp.”

From coal and uranium mining in the Southwest, nuclear waste dumping in southern Minnesota, an oil boom of hydraulic fracking in North Dakota, to what could become the world’s largest open pit iron mine on the southern shores of Lake Superior, Indian Country has been battling against more resource extraction threats and potential hazardous spills as a greed-driven globalized economy surges.

Get the Story:
Keystone XL: a 'Declaration of War' in Indian Country (The Progressive February 2015)

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