Blanket given to President Obama carries a hidden message

The NO KXL message on the star quilt presented to President Barack Obama. Photos from Dallas Goldtooth

A star blanket presented to President Barack Obama during his visit to South Dakota last week carries a hidden message.

The artist who created the quilt stitched "NO KXL" on the back. The message ensures that tribal opposition to the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline will always be present at the White House.

"What a powerful and subtle way to be a part of this movement," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said on Facebook, where he shared photos of the quilt and the hidden message.

A larger view of the blanket. Photo by Ruth Hopkins / Twitter

The blanket was a gift from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. Obama accepted it during the May 8 commencement exercises at the Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, just a few miles from the southern edge of the reservation.

Tribal member DeVon Bursheim made the quilt, Sota Iya Ye Yapi, the tribe's newspaper, reported. It features an eight-sided star pattern that typically symbolizes honor.

Amanda Wilkening, a graduate of Lake Area, presented the blanket to Obama as Tribal President Bruce Renville watched from the audience, Sota Iya Ye Yapi reported. Renville brought three tribal students as guests, the paper said.

Obama's visit was met with protests urging him to reject the pipeline. Goldtooth, who was one of the organizers, met with the tribal council and secured their support for the effort, the paper reported.

Then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) met with tribal leaders in South Dakota during his 2008 presidential campaign. Photo from Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association / Facebook

The star quilt isn't the first that Obama has accepted in South Dakota, where he campaigned in 2008 presidential. He can be seen with a blanket in a photo from the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association.

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