The Lakota Vow To Die Rather Than Let The KXL Pipeline Pass

Remembrance: Members of the American Indian Movement stand near the Wounded Knee Massacre Monument

Remembrance: Members of the American Indian Movement stand near the Wounded Knee Massacre Monument

By: ALBERT BENDER / People’s World

The Oglala Lakota and activists of the American Indian Movement have taken a vow that the only way the KXL Pipeline will pass through South Dakota is if they are dead or in prison. This vow was taken back on Feb. 27, Liberation Day, an event to commemorate the infamous 1890 massacre of Native people by U.S. soldiers.

A four-directions walk is held each year which ends at Wounded Knee to honor the murdered innocents and the Lakotas’ honored and continued history of resistance.

This year’s commemoration was to face a new threat in the form of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Oglala Lakota Nation is actively organizing to oppose the construction of the pipeline. The 1,700 mile-long pipeline would transport a whopping 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from western Canada through South Dakota and points south before emptying its toxic product in refineries on the Texas coast. These oil pipelines have a history of disastrous leaks.

The proposed Keystone Pipeline would cross at two points with a pipeline that is the main water source for the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation and also for the neighboring Sicangu Rosebud Reservation.

The first Keystone Pipeline which stretches from Alberta, western Canada, to Illinois spilled 12 times in just its first year of operation. The company that constructs the pipelines, TransCanada, had predicted that its pipelines would only sustain spills once every seven years. Quite, frankly, any spill is too much. The Lakota, in conjunction other native nations along the proposed pipeline route have sworn to engage in direct action to halt the heinous pipeline of death.

The native nations of the Dakotas have already seen the deadly effects of the “pipelines of death” on the native communities of western Canada. A frightening example, is Fort McMurray, a First Nations reserve in northern Alberta, Canada whose health is being destroyed as the meat from the bush is now contaminated. Also, arsenic levels, resulting from the pipelines in the Fort McMurray communities are 453 times above the acceptable risk level. In Fort Chipewyan, Alberta and other Native reserves, cholangiocarcinoma, a very rare form of cancer of the bile duct is now appearing. Also, appearing are colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers.

In January, 2010 there was a 3,000 gallon spill of Alberta tar sands oil near Pembina, North Dakota. As is so often the case with these spills , there is still no official report on the cause of the spill. Pipelines usually weaken at the weld points and there are many such points on the tar sands pipelines.

Tar sands are ecologically considered the most destructive oil production projects on earth.

Everything about the tar sands pipelines is considered inimical to human existence. For example, one barrel of tar sands oil requires between 2 and 4.5 barrels of water and produces two barrels of toxic waste and one barrel of oil. That water becomes mixed with toxic sludge and is stored in huge tailings ponds many of which can be seen even from space with the naked eye. Canadian tar sands is licensed to use more water than Alberta’s two major cities, Calgary and Edmonton combined.

Reportedly, in the U.S., a final decision on the pipeline is due to be made by President Obama sometime in 2014. Native nations are prepared to give their all to stop the project, while hoping that the president will not approve the deadly pipeline.

The Lakota are also working with other tribes in organizing Moccasins on the Ground, a direct action movement to prepare people for massive actions if Keystone receives approval. Many have already received training in opposition tactics.

All things considered, it is small wonder that the Lakota are willing to risk death or imprisonment to stop Keystone.


Photo: Popular Resistance

24 thoughts on “The Lakota Vow To Die Rather Than Let The KXL Pipeline Pass

  1. ray thompson

    When yellowstone starts to erupt and all of the other volcanoes start there wont be much left plus when some of those big metorites hits then you will see big change in the weather. People need better education and stop following others with your eyes and ears closed. Stop the hate. Life is short. So enjoy it. Look up and see what products are made by petroleum and ask if you can do without.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Northern Timberwolf

    Oji-Cree here, all the way from north western Ontario. (y) For My brothers and Sisters… It’s all about common Good… I stand with my fellow Nishnabes all the way

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Warren Osborn

    So, you are taking a stand? I was in the army for four years and have since gone to college and learned to write. I offer my services in any way you deem acceptable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. emily

      Are you really asking this question?
      The company has already trespassed on Native lands with the assistance of a police escort, and threats to arrest any natives who interfere.


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  5. Randorf

    I think the deadlier pipeline is the alcohol pipeline. We have tribal owned liqueur stores selling poverty and death to tribal members in the name of profit. Far more die every year from wrecks, liver disease, alcohol related violence, etc. than from the XL pipeline. Please don’t get me wrong and think I am not concerned for the negative effects this pipeline will bring. I do love the land and want our children raised in a safe environment. But the truth is , our children are already in danger due to alcohol related dangers that include poverty, hunger, abuse, traveling in vehicles with intoxicated drivers. I say fight for what is best for the people and follow your heart in standing against the enemy that wants to enter the land, but let’s not ignore the enemy already in our camp.


  6. cheena1

    The real point is that these tar sands, the poison bitumen, or whatever the hell you want to call it, needs to stay in the ground!! Forget about pipelines, forget about moving it by rail cars – look at what happened at Lac Megantic!! It is killing First Nations, it is killing the fish, the rivers, the animals, – everything! It is toxic and there is absolutely no way this #GREED and shortsightedness of the oil corps and Harper, Canada’s pm, should be allowed to kill everything in its’ wake!! For what?? In order to mine this poison, ship it by pipeline or rail, only to have it refined in Texas, to be sent to China! and benefit ONLY the corporations, all the while killing off everything in it’s path!! Please stand strong, you have the attention of most of Canada, and we stand with you!
    These people have no regard for the future, for the next generations, for our planet or for the environment!! How they can be so very short-sighted is beyond me – it has to be that #GREED has blinded them to all else!

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Aut day dah gar Low Ah quicks

    The forced Industrialization of Sovereign First Nations is the new genocide against First Nations and this is a further stain on all levels of so called Governments. The line will and has been drawn there will be no trespassing on all First Nations Lands globally with any and all pipelines or mining. companies,as if we haven’t been raped and exploited before. We have seen through these so called Politician’s and Governments like a wet paper bag in a big rain in a big wind. Our Lands and our resources belong to us and no one else.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. kendraro

    Many thanks to the Lakota for taking this stand for all humanity. I hope our brothers and sisters up North know about the healing powers of Cannabis oil. Google Cannabis cures cancer and Rick Simpson for more info.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ross Tegart

      I keep hearing conflicting stories to the point that I don’t know what to believe. The main one being that rail transport of oil has a worse track report than pipelines and has caused many more deaths. If that is true then the delay of the pipeline is actually causing more spills and more deaths.


      1. Joe

        No. Delaying the pipeline isn’t actually causing more deaths. THE EXTRACTION/TRANSPORT OF OIL BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY IS WHAT’S CAUSING DEATHS.

        Liked by 4 people

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