Tribal Leaders and Chiefs from United States and Canada meet to form new cross-border alliance to stop tar sands pipelines
July 4, Rapid City, SD (Black Hills) — An assembly of Tribal leaders of the Great Sioux Nation along with leaders of the Ponca Nation in Nebraska and Oklahoma today met, in the sacred Black Hills in South Dakota, with a large delegation of Chiefs of First Nations from Canada who have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion.
The tribal leaders and chiefs sent a clear message on this July 4th US “Independence Day” about their independence as Sovereign Indigenous Nations and to announce a new cross-border alliance to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. The historic gathering challenging the power of Canada and the US to harm their lands and pollute their water comes on the heels of widespread Indigenous resistance in Canada challenging the July 1st celebrations of Canada’s “150th anniversary”.
Chairman Brandon Sazue of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe invited leaders to the event in the spirit of “Remaking of the Sacred Hoop,” a rekindling of the alliance between the Great Sioux Nations and the Blackfoot Confederacy.
“The Tribes of the Great Sioux Nation are gathered here today on this most historic occasion on this most sacred of sites, surrounded by our trusted allies, to make it clear, in honor of Crazy Horse, that we, as a sovereign nations, have not consented to and will all together fight to the end some of President Trump’s most grotesque actions, including illegally ramming through the Dakota Access Pipeline, trying to raise Keystone XL pipeline from the dead and just recently, trying to get away with delisting our sacred Grizzly bear from the Endangered Species List,” said
The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion now numbers more than 130 First Nations and Tribes, after the July 4 signing by the 10 Tribes and First Nations from the Great Sioux Nation, Ponca Nation and Blackfoot Confederacy. The Indigenous Treaty bars the passage of the four pipelines the Tar Sands industry of Alberta hopes to build to expand production: TransCanada’s Keystone XL, Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline through Minnesota, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion through British Columbia and TransCanada’s Energy East.
“If you don’t think we’re nations, if you think we’re isolated remnants of a bygone era, just watch us exercise our sovereign right to protect our land and our people by stopping these pipeline abominations from threatening our water and our very future,” said Casey Camp-Horinek on behalf of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma.
“Today is not just about our independence as Nations, but also everyone’s much needed independence from the shackles of oil, and especially Keystone’s dirty tar sands oil.”
Present for the formation of this cross-border Indigenous alliance against Keystone XL were most of the Tribes whose lands the pipeline would cross, from Piikani Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy at the start of the pipeline in Canada to the Great Sioux Nation and then finally the Ponca Nation in Nebraska and Oklahoma where the pipeline would end.
Also signed on this day was The Grizzly: A Treaty of Cooperation, Cultural Revitalization and Restoration, an Indigenous Treaty spearheaded by the Piikani Nation in Alberta which now also counts over 130 signatory First Nations and Tribes from across the continent.
The leaders present at the ceremony pledged to work together to safeguard the sacred Grizzly Bear and combat the recent move by the Trump administration to delist the grizzly of Greater Yellowstone from the Endangered Species Act.
“Indigenous People in Canada, led by our women and youth grassroots water protectors, just finished crashing the July 1st ‘Canada 150’ celebrations, letting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and all of Canada know that not only can they not whitewash history, but they cannot continue to run roughshod over our Nations by looking to ram pipelines like Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion through our lands,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, on behalf of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion.
"We were honored to be invited to come support Tribes in the US as they likewise reclaim this July 4th national anniversary to mark their own independence as sovereign nations.”