Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 22, 2011

State of Nebraska protested for cutting deal for Keystone pipeline

Debra White Plume, Lakota, on Tour of Resistance
Photo Kent Lebsock
Landowners Criticize Nebraska’s Governor and Senators for Drinking TransCanada’s Tar Sands Kool-Aid

Citizens Call for Keystone XL to Be Blocked

Media release
LINCOLN, Neb. (Tuesday, November 22, 2011) – Today, Nebraska landowners distributed Kool-Aid* to the offices of Governor Dave Heineman and Nebraska State Senators after legislation was signed to fast-track TransCanada’s “Keystone XL” tar sands pipeline through the state. The legislation, LB 4, requires Nebraska taxpayers to foot the bill on a supplemental environmental impact statement on a pipeline route that may or may not avoid the Sand Hills and that is non-binding on TransCanada.

“Placating the public by moving the route east an insignificant number of miles is disgusting,” said Cindy Myers, a lifetime resident of the Sand Hills. “Any route crossing a majority of the Ogallala Aquifer is unacceptable. I foresee a rebellion whichever route is chosen.”

Robert Bernt, an organic dairy farmer from Wheeler County, criticized the Nebraska Unicameral for failing to account for the impact of earthquakes on the proposed tar sands oil pipeline. “We’ve had two earthquakes in Nebraska in just the past two weeks. A catastrophic oil spill would contaminate our water supply. Even the appearance of contaminated food could severely damage Nebraska’s economy.”

“Keystone XL should not be built at all,” said Jim Knopik, a lifelong farmer and Nance County Supervisor. “The message this legislation is sending to Washington, DC is Nebraskans now support TransCanada’s project, when in fact we don’t.“

The Kool-Aid* was delivered to the statehouse by renewable energy advocate Tom Weis, who has pedaled more than 1,000 miles of the proposed pipeline route in his “rocket trike” to build resistance to Keystone XL. Noting that Kool-Aid was invented in Nebraska, Weis said, “Nebraska’s Governor and Senators drank the TransCanada tar sands Kool-Aid. By supporting TransCanada and Keystone XL, Nebraska’s political leaders are failing to protect the Ogallala Aquifer and the agricultural economy it supports,” he concluded.

*The metaphor “drinking the Kool-Aid” is commonly used to refer to a person or group blindly following an ideology, argument, or philosophy without critical examination.

For more information on the “Tour of Resistance,” visit:
Principal Sponsors: AllEarth Renewables, Inc. and EcoWatch

About the photo
By Kent Lebsock, Owe Aku, Bring Back the WayThe “Tour of Resistance and Solidarity Gathering" events occurred from Pine Ridge to Washington to Chicago to New Jersey and finally New York, threaded together not by us, but rather, by a desire to bring our many allies and families together to speak about the paradigm shift that must be urgently addressed by human beings if we are to survive the destruction we have caused our Mother, the Earth.
The bottom line is we wanted to share what we have been taught by the Earth, listening to her rhythms, seeing her changes: the time is now to change our behavior, to change the way we think. Not to occupy or regulate or redistribute the excesses of a system that will never work, but to decolonize, liberate, and rediscover our connection to the Earth through the ancient memories contained within each of us. Humanity has come so far from being a part of the Earth upon which we depend, the sky, the winds, the four-legged, the winged. Humanity has made itself into the proverbial square peg trying to fit into a round hole and we no longer know how to be where we belong.
We talked about the XL Pipeline, and tarsands, and uranium mining, and the devastating effects on Sacred Water. We talked about occupation and democracy and solidarity and resistance. We educated ourselves through film and spoken word. We heard the music of many nations with the heart beat of the drum, flowing water of the flute and rustling leaves of stringed instruments. We tried to gently curve the sharp edges of our square peg so that we could make the ancestors proud and fulfill our responsibilities to the future generations. Human is just a species; one of millions, neither less nor more important. But our humanity is found when we recognize our place on this Earth, our obligation to protect and preserve the environments in which our peoples have been placed, and the resulting compassion and generosity to all of our relatives, animate and inanimate.
Amongst the many participants in the Tour of Resistance were Prairie Dust Films, Lakota Media Project, the Wicker Park Arts Center in Chicago, Indigenous Environmental Network, Fairleight Dickinson University in
Hackensack, NJ, the Epifaneo Collective at Tribeca Stage in New York City, Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way), Owe Aku International Justice Project, the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, Matou, Tama Waipara and Occupy Wall Street. Special recognition goes to Suree Towfighnia, Tiokasin Ghost Horse, and Jo Anne Murphy. And finally, of course, we are always grateful to hear the soft spoken wisdom of Debra White Plume.

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