The Wiconi Un Tipi Camp is located on the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Photo: Wiconi Un Tipi Camp

Native Sun News Today: Tribal activists renew fight against Keystone XL Pipeline

Blocking the pipeline on Lower Brule

By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor

LOWER BRULE – Launching a $30,000 fundraising drive for a kitchen at Wiconi Un Tipi Camp, the No KXL Dakota Alliance announced a November 21 signing ceremony for the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred Against Tar Sands and the KXL Pipeline.

The camp in Lower Brule is strategically located to block the path of a proposed power line that TransCanada Corp. has slated to carry electricity to a pumping station on the Keystone XL tar-sands crude pipeline route through unceded 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty territory.

Pipeline opponents set up the camp after taking part in similar ones near Ft. Yates, North Dakota on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, which were erected in 2016 to oppose Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline across the territory.

“We need a new structure; there’s all sorts of holes in the walls,” said Wiconi Un Tipi Head Cook Maria Birch, who also cooked for the Kul Wicasa Camp within the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock. She wears 42 pounds of clothes to keep warm while cooking in the tent now in use, she told the Native Sun News Today.

Eggs and canned goods freeze on the shelves; wind blows dirt onto the cooking utensils and puts out the gas stove flame, she said.

No KXL Dakota is trying to raise $30,000 to install a sturdy kitchen and dining area by the end of November. The cook tent “is in dire need of replacement, having seen heavy service at the camps near Cannonball, North Dakota,” alliance member organization Dakota Rural Action noted in a written release.

Dakota Rural Action on YouTube: Wiconi Un Tipi Camp Kitchen Winterization Project

“Many holes dot the ceiling, and there is no insulation or adequate protection from the elements for the cooks or for those seeking a hot meal and respite from the wind and cold.” The South Dakota statewide non-profit organization is the fiscal receiver for donations to the camp.

“We have until the end of November to raise $30K for an engineered, insulated cooking and dining facility that can withstand central South Dakota's heavy wind and snow loads and double as a winter sleeping quarters for camp when temperatures really drop,” it said.

Wiconi Un Tipi Camp plans to host a prayer ceremony at 4 p.m. on November 19 to kick off a gathering culminating with the November 21 signing of the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred against KXL and Tar Sands, according to Protect the Sacred representative and Ihanktonwan Treaty Committee leader Faith Spotted Eagle.


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