Native Sun News Today: Indian Country battles Keystone XL again

Indigenous Environmental Network Director Tom Goldtooth spoke at an emergency rally at the White House, saying that the decision to grant a Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline "is an act of genocide and ecocide against the Dené and Cree First Nations and Métis, who are experiencing life and death reality of being downstream of the Alberta Canadian tar sands, the source of the highly toxic corrosive crude oil that would flow through this.” Photo courtesy Indigenous Rising Media

Pipeline permit causes avalanche of scorn in Indian Country
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor

SPEARFISH –– On March 23, the date the U.S. State Department granted a Presidential Permit for the previously rejected Keystone XL route, a Potawatomi philosophy Ph.D. speaking here was among the first of thousands to decry the pipeline proliferation it promotes.

“If treaty rights or religious freedom were respected, the decision about where to put it would have respected those to begin with,” said Michigan State University Professor Kyle Whyte.

Native Americans “have exercised tremendous leadership” in the movement to slow the production and distribution of fossil fuels, at the wellheads and along the pipelines, Whyte told an audience of about 100 people at the 19th Annual Black Hills Research Symposium.

Indigenous opposition to rampant oil and gas infrastructure development has a positive impact on the changing global climate, he said. “But you can only deal with climate mitigation and adaptation through full decolonization,” he added during his lecture at Black Hills State University.

Toward that end, Whyte urged members of the public to advocate “on a daily basis” for lawmakers to address unresolved “longstanding issues like treaty rights and funding for tribes to have more effective governments.”

Those are underlying issues, together with skewed history teaching, that lead to the likes of pipeline conflicts “in the first place,” he said.

Treaty council representatives, tribal governments, grassroots indigenous groups and non-Indian allies rallied against TransCanada Corp.’s original application for the Keystone XL Pipeline route across 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty territory for eight years of the past two presidential terms.

Former President Barack Obama’s State Department eventually responded that the project was “not in the national interest,” denying a Presidential Permit because of its role in greenhouse gas pollution and its lack of benefits for the domestic economy.

President Donald Trump disagreed, inviting TransCanada to resubmit its proposal and urging State Department approval, with the caveat that the pipe should be American-made. Trump later dropped the requirement, as his Administration faced a $15-billion free-trade lawsuit TransCanada Corp. filed against the United States over the permit denial late in Obama’s second term.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Pipeline permit causes avalanche of scorn in Indian Country

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