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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Great Plains tribal chairmen walk out on State Dept Keystone XL consultation

by Climate Science Watch, May 17, 2013

Indian Country Today Media Network reports: Elders and chiefs of at least 10 sovereign nations walked out of a Keystone XL pipeline tribal consultation meeting with U.S. State Department officials in Rapid City, South Dakota, on May 16, calling the meeting ‘invalid.’ The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association Statement Against the Keystone XL Pipeline concludes: “If the Keystone XL pipeline is allowed to be built, TransCanada, a Canadian corporation, would be occupying sacred treaty lands as reserved in the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties. It will be stopped by unified resistance.” Full text of the statement below.
On this historic day of May 16, 2013, ten sovereign Indigenous nations maintain that the proposed TransCanada/Keystone XL pipeline does not serve the national interest and in fact would be detrimental not only to the collected sovereigns but all future generations on planet earth. This morning the following sovereigns informed the Department of State Tribal Consultation effort at the Hilton Garden Inn in Rapid City, SD, that the gathering was not recognized as a valid consultation on a "nation to nation" level:
Southern Ponca, Pawnee Nation, Nez Perce Nation. And the following Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires People): Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Ihanktonwan Dakota (Yankton Sioux), Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Standing Rock Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. 
The Great Plains Tribal Chairmans Association supports this position, which is in solidarity with elected leaders, Treaty Councils and the grassroots community, and is guided by spiritual leaders. On Saturday, May 18, the Sacred Pipe Bundle of the Oceti Sakowin will be brought out to pray with the people to stop the KXL pipeline, and other tribal nation prayer circles will gather to do the same.
Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, the above sovereigns directed the DOS to invite President Obama to engage in "true Nation to Nation" consultation with them at the nearest date, at a designated location to be communicated by each of the above sovereigns. After delivering that message, the large contingent of tribal people walked out of the DOS meeting and asked the other tribal people present to support this effort and to leave the meeting. Eventually all remaining tribal representatives and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers left the meeting at the direct urging of the grassroots organization Owe Aku. Owe Aku, Moccasins on the Ground, and Protect the Sacred are preparing communities to resist the Keystone XL pipeline through Keystone Blockade Training.
This unprecedented unity of tribes against the desecration of Ina Maka (Mother Earth) was motivated by the signing on January 25, 2013, of the historic International Treaty to Protect the Sacred Against the Tar Sands. Signatories were the Pawnee Nation, the Ponca Nation, the Ihanktonwan Dakota and the Oglala Lakota. Since then ten First Nations Chiefs in Canada have signed the Treaty to protect themselves against tar sands development in Canada.
The above sovereigns notify President Obama to consult with each of them because of the following:
• The nations have had no direct role in identifying and evaluating cultural resources.
• The nations question the status of the programmatic agreement and how it may or may not be amended.
• The nations are deeply concerned about potential pipeline impacts on natural resources, especially our water: potential spills and leaks, groundwater and surface water contamination.
• The nations have no desire to contribute to climate change, to which the pipeline will directly contribute.
• The nations recognize that the pipeline will increase environmental injustice, disproportionately impacting native communities.
• The nations deplore the environmental impacts of tar sands mining being endured by tribes in Canada. The pipeline would service the tar sands extractive industry.
• The nations insist that their treaty rights be respected ⎯ the pipeline would violate them.
• The nations support an energy policy that promotes renewables and efficiency instead of one that features fossil fuels.
• The nations regard the consultation process as flawed in favor of corporate interests.
The sovereigns of these nations contend that it is not in America's interest to facilitate and contribute to environmental devastation on the scale caused by the extraction of tar sands in Canada. America would be better served by a comprehensive program to reduce its reliance on oil, and to invest in the development and deployment of sustainable energy technologies, such as electric vehicles that are charged using solar and wind power.
If the Keystone XL pipeline is allowed to be built, TransCanada, a Canadian corporation, would be occupying sacred treaty lands as reserved in the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties. It will be stopped by unified resistance.
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The State Department, still with "egg on its face" from its statement that Keystone XL would have little impact on climate change, sunk a little lower today as the most respected elders, and chiefs of 10 sovereign nations turned their backs on State Department representatives and walked out during a meeting. The meeting, which was a failed attempt at a "nation to nation" tribal consultation concerning the Keystone XL Pipeline neglected to address any legitimate concerns being raised by First Nations Leaders (or leading scientific experts for that matter).
Climate Science WatchThe EPA and most people with common sense rebuked the State Department's initial report and today First Nations sent a very clear message to President Obama and the world concerning the future fate of their land regarding Keystone XL. ...
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