Sioux Nation Draws Battle Lines Over Pipeline Route

In testimony filed prior to the hearings, Young stated: "TransCanada has never demonstrated any respect for the Indian nations. That is why the PUC should deny certification of the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline Project."

In testimony filed prior to the hearings, Young stated: “TransCanada has never demonstrated any respect for the Indian nations. That is why the PUC should deny certification of the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline Project.”

By: Talli Nauman – Native Sun News Health & Environment Editor

PIERRE – TransCanada Corp. cannot meet the socio-economic conditions necessary for building the proposed Keystone XL tar-sands crude-oil pipeline through Lakota treaty territory, representatives and expert witnesses for four tribal governments testified during hearings July 27 through Aug. 4.

The South Dakota Public Utility Commission scheduled the evidentiary hearings to air debate for its decision on the Canadian corporation’s request for renewal of a permit to build the line 314 miles through the counties of Harding, Butte, Perkins, Meade, Pennington, Haakon, Jones, Lyman and Tripp.

The permit would help the Canadian company reach its longstanding goal of connecting the Alberta oil shale fields with the refineries and export facilities on the Texas Gulf Coast. Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Councilor Phyllis Young said water quality is the main socio-economic concern. Treaty rights establish Lakota dominion over the air, land, and water that TransCanada Corp. seeks for the pipeline, but the company has not consulted with the tribe on that matter.

“I take objection with TransCanada, which does not have the authority to do that in this country. Treaties have set aside the homelands for us. Please understand, we are protecting our people,” Young said. “The ranchers, farmers, and Indians in South Dakota have not been consulted. I have a long history of relations with the people who want their homes to be protected, I speak for them also,” she said.

In testimony filed prior to the hearing, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Historic Preservation Office elaborated on the argument:

“The Keystone XL Pipeline (and other pipelines) will cross aboriginal and treaty territory that was exclusively set aside by the U.S. government for the Sioux Nation (Ft. Laramie Treaties of 1851and 1868).” The Sioux people were nomadic people and followed the buffalo. Our valuable cultural resources are located throughout the path of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Yet the proper procedures to make the requisite determinations have not been followed.

“The tribe said the permit renewal should be denied because “Keystone XL Pipeline is unable to continue to comply with Amended Condition number 43.” That condition of the original 2009 state permit, a document which has expired due to inaction, requires TransCanada Corp. to notify landowners if a possible protectable resource is found in the course of pipeline-related activities.

In testimony filed prior to the hearings, Young stated: “TransCanada has never demonstrated any respect for the Indian nations. That is why the PUC should deny certification of the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline Project.”

TransCanada Corp. attorney William Taylor said the company is not required to consult with tribes. “Government-to-government discussions are between the U.S. and tribes, not TransCanada and tribes,” he said. “This discussion is irrelevant.”

Commissioners granted Taylor the opportunity to file a post-hearing brief arguing the basis for his objections. He asked Young, “Are you familiar with TransCanada’s Indigenous People’s Policy.” She replied: “I’m not sure.”

The policy states: “TransCanada respects the diversity of aboriginal cultures, recognizes the importance of the land and cultivates relationships based on trust and respect; TransCanada works together with aboriginal communities to identify impacts of company activities on the community’s values and needs in order to find mutually acceptable solutions and benefits.”

Jennifer Baker, attorney for the Yankton Sioux Tribe, presented a portion of the policy statement and asked, “Do you think TransCanada complies with its own policy on aboriginal relations?”
Young answered, “No.”

Representing the Yankton Sioux Tribe was Faith Spotted Eagle, elected by the tribal General Council to the Ihanktonwan Treaty Committee, which she chairs. She said the objective of the Yankton tribe’s testimony was “to provide information to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission that the applicant does not continue to meet all conditions upon which the permit was issued including violations of treaties, socio-cultural threats, and threats to safe drinking water, in particular reference to the potential coming of man camps which presents a safety conference of an at risk population already threatened by violence.

“It is frightening to think that no fore planning has been done to even recognize what happens when man camps are plopped into rural communities where wide gaps exist in law enforcement further impinged upon by cross-jurisdictional problems between reservation and state areas, which are long standing issues,” she said.

“Man camps are inhabited by young and single men who are suddenly away from their families, spouses, and have the financial means to use and abuse illicit drugs. The result is easy to predict and does not require any scientific analysis – these young men, unfortunately, increase the crime rates including violent crimes, sexual crimes, and drug-related crimes. It is common sense that these men will need recreational outlets and will seek these at nearby casinos, including ours,” she said, citing the tribe’s Ft. Randall Casino and Hotel.

She noted that “the pipeline would trespass right through treaty territory guaranteed by the Ft. Laramie Treaty as well as additional lands beyond that area that are unceded lands, and we still retain a multitude of rights on those lands based on the treaty that are protected by federal law and that are vital to our cultural, spiritual, and physical survival.”

Among the rights are: hunting, fishing, gathering medicinal plants, use of the water, burial responsibilities, and sacred site protection, she said.

Yankton Sioux Tribal Police Chief Chris Sauncosi notified commissioners that he “can show that TransCanada cannot continue to meet the conditions upon which its original permit was issued.”

In a written statement, Sauncosi said, “I can provide testimony about the lack of interaction or communication between TransCanada and Tribal law enforcement and emergency response personnel.”

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Historical Preservation Officer Steve Vance, also formerly a law enforcement officer for the tribe, filed testimony stating that the pipeline construction phases “will greatly hinder the tribe’s and tribal member’s access to numerous cultural and historic sites. After all, people cannot simply walk through active construction zones to get to these sites.” If the pipeline is built, he said, “There will undoubtedly be an ongoing need for general inspection and maintenance of the completed pipeline. This, in turn, would place pipeline workers within the vicinity of many sacred places. Traditional practitioners seeking solitude while performing traditional worship practices would almost certainly be interrupted by pipeline workers. “As such, any disturbance by pipeline workers will necessarily have an immense negative impact on the ability of tribal members to perform traditional practices at these affected cultural and historical sites.

Vance compared the pipeline’s potential impact to the results of mining in the Black Hills. “This proposed project will have long term negative effects emotionally and spiritually on many tribal members.

Keystone held one teleconference some four years ago and made a visit to the tribal chairman’s office a year ago, according to Vance. However, he said, “The impacts to cultural resources could not be discussed during these preliminary meetings because the resources were not sufficiently identified at the time.”

He said measures to avoid and mitigate impacts on cultural and historic resources should have been addressed in a Programmatic Agreement, but the tribe “was not involved in the development of the P.A.”

Paula Antoine, Director of the Sicangu Oyate Land Office said the Rosebud Sioux Tribe “has passed resolutions to deny the KXL any access to our lands and in opposition of the pipeline. We view the KXL pipeline as the threat of “the black snake coming from the north” that was revealed to us through prophecy by our ancestors many years ago.”

She noted that a spiritual camp was established in March 2014 to publicly oppose “the black snake and all of the negative things it represents.”

She argued that “none of the testimony offered by Keystone or the PUC Staff shows or attempts to even demonstrate that the welfare of the citizens of South Dakota will not be impaired by the project. She said TransCanada has yet to prove its project will not pose a threat of serious injury to the socioeconomic conditions in the project area; will not substantially impair the health, safety, or welfare of the inhabitants in the project area; and will not unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region.

None of the testimony offers any evidence regarding whether or not the project will continue to have minimal effects in the areas of agriculture, commercial and industrial sectors, land values, housing, sewer and water, solid waste management, transportation, cultural and historic resources, health services, schools, recreation, public safety, noise and visual impacts, she said.

Construction Equipment Guide, Published On: 8/10/2015

http://www.constructionequipmentguide.com/Sioux-Nation-Draws-Battle-Lines-Over-Pipeline-Route/25921/

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The Final Indian War In America Is About To Begin

Dale Looks Twice, left, and Acorn High Hawk lead the procession out of Manderson to the Wounded Knee massacre gravesite.

Dale Looks Twice, left, and Acorn High Hawk lead the procession out of Manderson to the Wounded Knee massacre gravesite.

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji) / HuffPost

South Dakota’s Republican leadership of John Thune and Kristi Noem always march lockstep with the other Republican robots. Neither of them care that South Dakota’s largest minority, the people of the Great Sioux Nation, diametrically oppose the Pipeline and they also fail to understand the determination of the Indian people to stop it.

The House vote was 252-161 favoring the bill. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) who is trying to take the senate seat from Democrat Mary Landrieu, They are headed for a senate runoff on December 6 and Landrieu has expressed a strong support of the bill in hopes of holding her senate seat.

Two hundred twenty-one Republicans supported the bill which made the Republican support unanimous while 31 Democrats joined the Republicans. One hundred sixty-one Democrats rejected the bill.

Progressive newsman and commentator for MSNBC, Ed Schultz, traveled to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota this year to meet with the Indian opponents of the Pipeline. Firsthand he witnessed the absolute determination of the Indian nations to stop construction of the Pipeline.

He witnessed their determination and reported on it. Except for Schultz the national media shows no interest and apparently has no knowledge of how the Indian people feel about the Pipeline nor do they comprehend that they will go to their deaths stopping it. What is wrong with the national media when it comes to Indians?

As an example of the national media’s apathy, the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota have turned their backs on the $1.5 billion dollars offered to them for settling the Black Hills Claim and although they are among the poorest of all Americans, the national media does not consider this news.

Why do they protest the XL Pipeline? Because the lands the Pipeline will cross are Sacred Treaty Lands and to violate these lands by digging ditches for the pipelines is blasphemes to the beliefs of the Native Americans. Violating the human and religious rights of a people in order to create jobs and low cost fuel is the worst form of capitalism. Will the Pipeline bring down the cost of fuel and create thousands of jobs?

President Barack Obama has blocked the construction of the Pipeline for six years and he said, “I have constantly pushed back against the idea the somehow the Keystone Pipeline is either this massive jobs bill for the United States or is somehow lowering gas prices. Understand what this project is. It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. That doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.”

In the meantime Senator Landrieu conceded that it is unlikely that the Senate and the House will have the two-thirds majority needed to override an Obama veto.

Wizipan Little Elk of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and a coalition of tribal leaders from across the Northern Plains and the United States have pulled no punches on how they intend to fight the Pipeline to the death if that is the only way to stop it.

South Dakota’s elected leadership has totally ignored the protests of the largest minority residing in their state. They have also totally underestimated and misunderstood the inherent determination of the Indian people. This is a huge mistake that will have national implications and it is taking place right under their Republican noses.

What is even worse South Dakota’s media has also buried its collective heads in the sand even though Native Sun News has been reporting on the Keystone XL Pipeline since 2006. Award-winning Health and Environment Editor for Native Sun News, Talli Nauman, has been at the journalistic forefront of this environmental disaster about to happen from day one and she has been rewarded by the South Dakota Newspaper Association with many awards for her yearly series of articles on this most important topic. Until this issue became a political football, the rest of South Dakota’s media had been silent.

The Keystone XL Pipeline that is being pushed by TransCanada may well be the beginning of the final war between the United States government and the Indian Nations. A word of caution to TransCanada and the U.S. Government: please do not disregard the determination of the Indian people when they say they will fight this Pipeline to their deaths if need be. They mean it!

When asked if he truly thought that a handful of Indians could stop the construction of the Pipeline, Little Elk simply said, “Try us!”

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe stands its ground against the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline ‪#‎NoKXL‬ ‪#‎StandTheLine‬

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe stands its ground against the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline ‪#‎NoKXL‬ ‪#‎StandTheLine‬

(Note: This column will appear before the Senate votes on the Keystone XL Pipeline. The House has already approved the construction of the Pipeline)

Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, is the editor and publisher of Native Sun News.

Source: www.indianz.com/News/2014/015666.asp

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.

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Photo: Popular Resistance

http://peoplesworld.org/the-lakota-vow-to-die-rather-than-let-the-kxl-pipeline-pass/