7 February, 20:00

Native Americans to stop Keystone pipeline

Native Americans to stop Keystone pipeline

It is an issue that has galvanized Native Americans, environmentalists, activists and even the Green Party and is not one that is going to go away as conveniently as the Obama Administration hopes it will. The Trans Canada Keystone XL (Export Limited) Pipeline, which will destroy and poison huge swathes of Indian lands and irreversibly pollute large parts of Alberta, Canada and the United States all the way to the Gulf of Mexico should also be galvanizing Canadians but they are for the large part silent. Will Obama and Washington politicians beholden to corporate and big oil interests do the right thing and say no to the pipeline? Not likely.

The Reality

The effects of oil exploitation from the tars sands is already being felt and things are only getting worse for the Native Americans. People are dying women are having miscarriages and the people cannot farm or even find clean drinking water. What is left of the once great and proud nations and tribes of North America are again fighting for their very survival as the Earth around them is being destroyed.

According to Robert Free, an Indian rights activist and a member of Tewa and Naua Nations in an interview with the Voice of Russia ”They can’t drink that water that was from the lake of Athabasca or Peace River because upstream is the tar sands of Alberta that is polluting all that beautiful area. So, they can’t even eat the fish, they are having miscarriages and nothing is being done for that.”

So oil company sponsored environmental reports saying the Keystone Pipeline is safe are a laughable farce when the reality is that they are already killing thousands and destroying water supplies and lands that the Indians, and all of us, depend on for existence.

Native Americans Rise Up

The Indians of the seven tribes of the Lakota Nation and tribes from Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oregon, as well as dozens of other organizations and Indian Nations are preparing to stop the construction of the pipeline.

In a statement released by the organizations Honor the Earth, Owe Aku, Protect the Sacred and the Oglala Sioux Nation the Native Americans make their position clear and it is one that concerns their very survival as the project will for the most part destroy Indian Lands and violates existing treaties.

The statement reads in part: “The Oglala Lakota Nation has taken leadership by saying “NO” to the Keystone XL Pipeline. They have done what is right for the land, for their people, who, from grassroots organizers like Owe Aku and Protect the Sacred have called on their leaders to stand and protect their sacred lands. And they have: KXL will NOT cross their treaty territory, which extends past the reservation boundaries. Their horses are ready. So are ours. We stand with the Lakota Nation, we stand on the side of protecting sacred water, we stand for Indigenous land-based lifeways which will NOT be corrupted by a hazardous, toxic pipeline. WE ALL NEED TO STAND WITH THEM.”

“On Friday, January 27th, the State Department issued its Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL Pipeline. President Obama said that he won’t approve the pipeline if it increases carbon emissions. The report was drafted in coordination with consultants who have worked for TransCanada — the company seeking to build the pipeline. Jack Gerard, the head of the American Petroleum Institute, was briefed by “sources within the administration” on the timing and content of the report before its release, and was pleased to say that it will not impact the environment.”

At the heart of the debate is that the pipeline violates treaties signed with the Indians. According to the statement the Lakota Nation is a sovereign governmental body which is united against the pipeline, and “the United States needs to honor treaty rights by denying the pipeline.”The US Government is a serial violator of treaties, not only with the Indian Nations but also on the international level and also believes itself to be above international law so this call will most likely be scoffed at by Washington and any gains made by the Indians will have to come at a heavy price.

The statement cites a real and proven conflict of interest with yet another “environmental study” sanctioned by oil companies to further their own ends. Independent sources support the position of the Native Americans that: “the pipeline will increase carbon emissions and cause grave and irreversible environmental harm globally.”

Regardless of any study the pipeline will impact Indian Lands and this is entirely their decision under law. However the recalcitrant corporate controlled US Government will no doubt do everything to get its own way. False environmental reports are nothing to a government who will murder, attack countries and destroy millions for oil, resources and corporate gain.

The statement by the Indians underlines the responsibility of the native people to protect Mother Earth, says that they will not allow the pipeline to cross treaty areas and that they will defend their lives and our mother Earth, and calls on Barack Obama to do the same. However it is a call on deaf ears as Obama has proven by his record that he is an instrument of the corporations, has no respect for treaties or international law and at the end of the day will do as he pleases. Asking a man who laughs it up and takes selfies at the funeral of one of the last great leaders of bygone age is like asking a New York cop not to write you a ticket or a Guantanamo interrogator not to torture you.

Greens

The Green Party says that the bi-partisan rhetoric of Washington politicians about energy independence is completely without basis and the final destination of the pipeline, at major shipping ports in the gulf of Mexico, only proves that the oil is destined for export to foreign markets and thus will enrich the oil companies.

According to the site Green Party Watch Darryl L.C. Moch, the co-chair of the Green Party of the US said that: “President Obama is standing at a crossroads right now. He can say no to the Keystone XL pipeline and prove that his administration is serious about reducing production and consumption of fossil fuels. Or he can satisfy Big Oil and major investors by okaying the pipeline’s conveyance of dirty, dangerous tar-sands crude oil from Canada across the US”.

I would say the Green Party’s pleas will also fall on deaf ears as the US is ready to destroy and poison trillions of gallons of un-renewable fresh water in their bid to spread the practice of fracking and again Obama has proven he is an instrument of corporations and has done nothing to lessen dependence on fossil fuels and it can be almost said to be a given that he will not. Like his Nobel Peace Prize it is not an issue that particularly means or matters to him at all.

The Green Party goes on to state on their site: “The Green Party has strongly opposed the pipeline and is urging the Secretary of State John Kerry and the State Dept., as well as other agencies, to reject it.”

“The goal of domestic ‘energy independence’ is a distraction from the real goal - ending subsidies for fossil fuels and averting a global climate catastrophe in the coming decades,” said Kate Culver, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

“The bipartisan rhetoric of energy dependence proves that Democrats and Republicans are too beholden to corporate contributions and lobbyists’ influence to effectively deal with the climate crisis. This is why we call the Green Party an imperative for the 21st century,” added Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party’s Eco-Action Committee

“The development of the tar-sands oil fields in Alberta, Canada, is one of several energy-industry projects that must be halted. Others include fracking, mountaintop detonation mining, offshore drilling in U.S. coastal waters, and “clean coal.” The Elk River chemical spill on Jan. 9, which left 300,000 West Virginians without drinkable or usable water, proved “clean coal” to be a public-relations myth. The spilled chemical was a foam used to wash coal and remove polluting impurities.”

Battle Lines Are Drawn

Writer Jorge Barrera at Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) National News writes that the project will now go into a final phase which focuses on whether Keystone XL serves the US national interest and that at least eight agencies will have input on the outcome, including the Defense Department, the Department of Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency.

He wrote that the Lakota Nation has formed projects called “Shielding the People” and “Moccasins on the Ground” to stop the pipeline. “It will band all Lakota to live together and you can’t cross a living area if it’s occupied,” said Greg Grey Cloud, of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. “If it does get approved we aim to stop it.”

Gary Dorr, from the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho, which has already used its treaty rights to block the transport of so-called megaloads of mining equipment headed to Alberta’s tar sands said the following: “It will be obvious, it will be concrete, and I think once it starts and they start building you will start to see the momentum and the force of the tribal people…it is an epic project, it will have an epic response from the tribal people. The tar sands is already affecting the people (for Fort Chipewyan in Alberta), climate change is already obvious. To facilitate that is not something the Native people of the US are going to do. We are not going to sit idly by and let it happen.”

The pipeline has been called the ‘black snake’ in reference to prophecies

APTN reports that the Oglala Sioux Tribe passed a resolution banning TransCanada and former Assembly of First Nations chief Phil Fontaine, who was a turncoat hired to deal with First Nations opposition, from entering its territory.

According to APTN the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota make up the Lakota Nation which includes the tribes of Rosebud, Oglala and the Cheyenne Indian reservation, the Yankton Sioux Tribe, Standing Rock, Flandreau Sioux Tribe and the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.

Conclusion

Sadly and the record has shown, the Obama Administration and the US Government are completely under the control of the corporations and given the fact that they are willing to commit crimes against humanity, start wars of aggression and destroy entire countries for the sake of profiting from resources, there is little doubt that American Indians and a few Greens will be able to stop them.

The invaders killed over 400 million Indigenous People in the Americas and continue to profit from resources that belong to the Indians. When they need to they just pass “laws” and “treaties” or declare the Indians not to be human. As Mohawk Elder Kahandinetha Horn told the Voice of Russia: “They passed this law, that declared us non-persons, they take our Indian Trust Fund and they use it to build Canada and now the trust fund is maybe a hundred trillion.”

Yet: “We lack communications and it is very hard for us to contact people around the world to support us because I think people would support us because we are trying to save the environment. That is what we are trying to do. We are here and we are surviving for a reason and that is to be the caregivers of our Mother Earth.”

Will Obama and big oil take care of Mother Earth? Don’t count on it.

The views and opinions expressed here are my own. I can be reached at robles@ruvr.ru.

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