XL Pipeline Continues to Press On, Through the Lakota Nation.

On March 5th a truck carrying equipment to support construction of the Tar Sands – XL Pipeline project was halted on the Lakota Pine Ridge South Dakota lands.  A blockade was set by the People.

From last week’s Native Impact & Raw Story:

Native Americans threaten to confiscate Keystone Pipeline trucks

At least five Native Americans were arrested in South Dakota on Monday after a six-hour standoff that temporarily blockaded trucks from moving equipment thought to be destined for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Lakota activist Olowan Martinez told Raw Story that members of the tribe were working to obtain a restraining order that would allow them to confiscate any future shipments coming across Pine Ridge Indian land. The group opposes the pipeline because of health and environmental concerns.

“They arrested people for prohibiting the trucks from going through,” Martinez explained. “Five were arrested for disorderly conduct. They were let out on TR bond, which is just a temporary release. You know, it probably sent a chill down the spines of the XL transport people because they can’t just freely come through the territories unnoticed anymore.”

She said that activists expected the trucks to be accompanied by armed security the next time they came through.

“You got white racists, white men driving these trucks, probably armed and scared of any Indians,” Martinez remarked. “When the white man sees us and their fear overcomes them, they just don’t see one, they see ten, they see a hundred of us. I’m sure they will have more armed guards. We’ll see, though. We’re keeping our eyes out for them now and it’s not just this territory doing this anymore either,” adding that sister tribes were all taking steps to get restraining orders against future transports.

“The thing that could have stopped the arrests were if we had a restraining order against any and all transports involving the pipeline,” she explained. “Because once we have the restraining order, we can confiscate and we will confiscate the vehicles if we catch them here again.”

Activist Debra White Plume, who was arrested on Monday, told Censored News that the State of South Dakota had worked with the corporation’s office in Canada to create a route across the Pine Ridge Reservation in order to skirt weigh stations on the Interstate Highway System, which could have cost $50,000 for each of the two trucks.

“The truckers told us the corporation office from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and the State of South Dakota made a deal to save the truckers $50,000 per truck, there were two trucks, from having to pay $100,000,” Plume said. “They each carried a ‘treater vessel’ which is used to separate gas and oil and other elements. Each weighs 229,155 pounds, and is valued at $1,259,593, according to the papers we got from the truck drivers.”

Martinez called Keystone’s actions a “slap in the face of our elders and our future generations.

“How dare them think they could come through our territory to go destroy our drinking water?” she said. “You know, we don’t want no part of it. And as far as I’m concerned, they shouldn’t be traveling on any part of any road.”

“America is built on stolen land and was built with stolen hands. XL Pipeline equipment, anything that has to do with the destruction of Unci Maka (Mother Earth), we don’t want any part of it. They need to stay out of our territory.

During the same moments, Congress, led by GOP big oil loyalists, tried to press another pass of the XL Pipeline construction.  The Obama White House claims credit for its failure citing the President’s influence over a Democratic Senate majority.  From Alberta Canada’s Tar Sands to the oil washed shores of Texas, this battle grows  behind a curtain of MSM conflicting reports on the progress or the halt of the project.   It’s a territorial battle.  First Peoples’ lands are being invaded.  In the deep south along the southern route of the pipeline, construction has begun. Gulf Coast activists are camping in Washington DC and making the rounds to congressional offices in the battle for full accountability from BP and access to a new resource of health care for the (still) unidentified dis-eases that corexit and crude poisons have infested throughout the Gulf Coast states.  The election bargains are being executed with the candidates in the shadow of rising gas pump prices:

Pump prices have moved center stage on Capitol Hill, with hearings and an almost daily barrage of GOP criticisms of the administration’s approach to energy policy.
The pipeline issue has divided core Democratic constituencies, with some labor unions backing the project as an opportunity to create jobs. But environmentalists warn that the pipeline would expand the nation’s carbon footprint and create more pollution.
An alternative Democratic measure also failed. It would have prohibited the export of oil transported in the Keystone XL pipeline and, according to its sponsor, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), put “teeth behind all of the debate that this energy is going to be for the American consumer.”
A Republican-led effort in the Senate to open more coastal areas to energy exploration was defeated, with 44 in favor and 54 against. The initial tally was 46 to 52, but two senators later changed their votes.
“We don’t need any more giveaways to Big Oil,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said in opposition, warning that opening the Atlantic and Pacific to new drilling would put tourism-dependent coastal economies at risk.

“You can’t drill your way out of this,” Boxer added.

Boxer, who as chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee helped write the transportation bill, has warned that attaching controversial provisions could jeopardize the legislation, which supporters say would fund job-creating highway and mass transit projects.
Senators are seeking to attach their pet issues to the bill, which could be one of the few measures to make it through Congress in this election year.
One measure that did pass Thursday would steer 80% of the penalties paid by BP for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill to restoring coastal ecosystems and rebuilding Gulf Coast economies. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) called the action “a huge step toward making sure any fines against BP end up in the local communities harmed by the company’s oil spill.”

Yet, still; there is construction and motion all along the proposed route for the pipeline.  TransCanada has mighty alliance in the U.S. through supportive behind the scenes big oil lobbying efforts spearheaded  under the shadowy manipulations of the Koch Brothers.  Less than a month ago:

The Keystone XL project, a companion to the existing Keystone pipeline, always was envisioned as two segments.

While an international permit is needed for the northern segment because it crosses the U.S.-Canada border, TransCanada needs mainly state and local authorization to build the southern segment. With strong support in states along that section of the corridor, TransCanada officials said, they expect to have the southern segment operating by late 2013 at a cost of $2.3 billion.
At the same time, they said, the company’s new application for the more problematic northern portion of Keystone XL would work through the issue of rerouting the pipeline away from the Nebraska Sandhills.
“Our application will include the already reviewed route in Montana and South Dakota,” TransCanada President Russ Girling said in a statement. “The over-three-year environmental review for Keystone XL completed last summer was the most comprehensive process ever for a cross-border pipeline. Based on that work, we would expect our cross-border permit should be processed expeditiously and a decision made once a new route in Nebraska is determined.”

The overall manipulation of this  massive multiple state / bi-country project by conservative business influences (read Corporatism / Plutocracy) is not anchored in Congress or even the White House; they all take their marching orders form a corptocracy: the 1%.  Fighting the 1% is where the battle for a free and clean environment will address the XL-Pipeline.  Community activism must address this on multiple fronts in actions will cost them profits and the good will of the community. That is ultimately what they fear.  The many thousands of us filling our streets, adjusting our spending through boycott and continuously uploading our social networks! 

The will of the community gathered with a few Lakota on the road at Pine Ridge Reservation in S. Dakota last week and a GrandMother addressed it by reminding those who bother to listen that on Lakota land they are generation builders.  Do you understand what Gamma meant when she said that?  She meant that for seven generations to come it is her responsibility NOW to ensure that each child has the human right to be born onto a healthy Earth Mother under a refreshed Father Sky.  She remembers the lessons of her Ancestors and the cosmic vision they left to her and her Nation.  My own Ancestors left similar messages craved into megaliths and told in stories by traveling bards.  For two generations all people of good consciousness have sought out the Indigenous Peoples across our planet for their demonstrations of Earth stewardship, many balancing a new technical advance with a reverence for the teachings of the past that keep us safe and healthy.  I do not believe this to be a robbery of culture (in many circumstances), for folks from different ethnicity or land to turn to the people and places that have remained committed to the preservation of our Home.  I think it is a sign of Hope and quite explicitly, the only salvation for humanity that there is left.  I freely choose to align myself with the Lakota Gramma and strive to be a generation builder.  

Many years ago I was story taught by a Chickasaw GrandFather the reasons why to go into battle painted.  I learned that Crazy Horse painted the night sky across his shoulder and face to bring the strength of the Star Nations to his aid in battle.  That was his battle spirit, according to one story.  It makes me think Crazy Horse is  a midnight diamond, a blinking star in the night.   My People have a battle spirit too.  Not all go into battle painted; but those who do all paint the same battle spirit on:

Spring is Coming.  Get your battle paint on!

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  1. Sandy White says:

    Thank you for a good article about issues that I have been following. As a human citizen of the US, I am tired of our voices being drowned out by corporate dollars, and their dastardly plans that, in the long run, will hurt our country and mother earth. South Dakota should be ashamed. I hope that restraining orders to stop those trucks will be issued quickly!

    • I’m thinking the Lakota Nation will not tolerate it. Their council has stated publicly against the Tar Sands / XL project. What begs to be heard is the Gramma who’s questions ask us why we are NOT STEWARDING the Earth for the coming generations. We must get out there or in whatever way we can, bang the drum and make changes NOW. Ta for stopping by Sandy.

  2. Krell says:

    It really speaks about the audacity of these oil companies when they continue with their plans, in spite of the laws and wishes of those landowners that are in their way.

    The pipeline will do nothing for this country at all but it puts all the risk on those that don’t benefit. Gwen, you mention that TransCanada will have no problem with the southern portion of the pipeline and you are absolutely correct. Here in Oklahoma and Texas, the politicians would leap at the chance to put a pipeline over their mothers grave. Sickening really how much it’s petroleum centered in everything. Lots of big money so they cannot think beyond what they can get out of the ground.

    Excellent post! I bet a lot of people weren’t even aware of the pipeline going forward in the States.