Environment | Opinion

Tara Houska: Congress continues tradition of taking from tribes

Native youth in South Dakota take a stand against the Keystone XL Pipeline. Photo by Richie Richards / Native Sun News

Attorney Tara Houska urges Indian Country to hold strong against the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline:
Congress is again poised to significantly and negatively impact tribal lands via must-pass legislation. The Oceti Sakowin are unified against taking tribal lands that were never ceded to the United States, against a project that will bring increased violence, potential environmental destruction, and many other harms to their communities.

Although the decision to attach Keystone XL to must-pass legislation likely won’t be made behind closed doors as it was with the Apache Land Grab, the end result will be the same: tribal people dispossessed of tribal lands to benefit extractive industries.

At a minimum, Indian Country needs to strengthen ties with congressional leadership. Relying upon the agencies, committees, and members dedicated to ‘Indian issues’ is not enough. Numerous tribes opposed the taking of Oak Flat, that land is now held by a foreign copper mining operation. Numerous tribes are opposed to Keystone XL, yet it appears Congress will do everything in its power to assist a foreign tar sands operation with prevailing.

Tell Congress we will not stand for further dispossession of tribal lands. We are the original peoples of Turtle Island, the foundation upon which America was built. These are our sacred sites, our waters, our treaty territories; they are not for the taking.

Get the Story:
Tara Houska: Taking From Indians Is a Time-Honored American Tradition (Indian Country Today 2/9)

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