August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Native Americans Protest Keystone in Cushing, Oklahoma

Marty Cobenais arrested protesting
tarsands at White House.

Native American’s Protest Keystone XL From A Cage

Activists compelled to stay in enclosure located miles from President’s pro-oil event

Press statement
Censored News

CUSHING, Okla. -- Native Americans gathering in Cushing to protest President Obama’s words of praise for the Keystone XL pipeline are being forced by local authorities to hold their event in a cage erected in Memorial Park. The protesters were stunned that their community, so long mistreated, would be insulted in such an open manner instead of being given the same freedom of speech expected by all Americans simply for taking a stance consistent with their values.

“A lot of tribal councils and Indian businesses struggle to find a balance between economic resources and our inherited responsibilities for the earth,” said Indian actor and activist Richard Ray Whitman in a statement. “How will the decisions we make now effect coming generations?”

“President Obama is an adopted member of the Crow Tribe, so his fast-tracking a project that will desecrate known sacred sites and artifacts is a real betrayal and disappointment for his Native relatives everywhere,” said Marty Cobenais of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Tar sands is devastating First Nations communities in Canada already and now they want to bring that environmental, health, and social devastation to US tribes.”

The President visited Cushing to stand with executives from TransCanada and throw his support behind a plan to build the southern half of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to move tar sands bitumen and crude oil from Cushing to the Gulf Coast refineries in Texas.

A major concern for Native Americans in Oklahoma, according to spokespeople at the event, is that Keystone XL and the Canadian tar sands mines that would supply it ignore impacts to indigenous communities and their sacred spaces.

“Natives in Canada live downstream from toxic tar sands mines,” said Earl Hatley, “and they are experiencing spikes in colon, liver, blood and rare bile-duct cancers which the Canadian government and oil companies simply ignore. And now they want to pipe these tar sands through the heart of Indian country, bulldozing grave sites and ripping out our heritage.”

The group points to a survey done by the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey which found 88 archaeological sites and 34 historic structures that were threatened by Keystone XL. TransCanada was asked to reroute around only a small portion of these, leaving 71 archaeological sites and 22 historic structures at risk. The group says they have asked for a list of these sites and to oversee operations that might threaten sacred burial grounds, but neither request has been honored.

Beyond the threat to their own cultural heritage, the group voiced opposition to the pipeline’s environmental impacts.

“The Ogallala Aquifer is not the only source of water in the plains,” said Rosemary Crawford, Project Manager of the Center for Energy Matters. “Tar sands pipelines have a terrible safety record and leaks are inevitable.”

“We can’t stop global warming with more fossil fuel pipelines,” added Crawford. “The people who voted for this President did so believing he would help us address the global environmental catastrophe that our pollution is creating. He said he would free us from ‘the tyranny of oil.’ Today that campaign promise is being trampled to boost the President’s poll numbers.”

Fannie Bates 405.642.3527
Rosemary Crawford 405.206.3979


Protest Keystone in Cushing, Oklahoma Thurs., March 22, 2012

Keystone XL protest in Novebmber at White House.
Message to Obama 'Just say No! to Keystone XL'
8:00am until 3:00pm in CDT

Memorial Park, S. Little Avenue & E 5th St, Cushing, OK

  • We will gather in Cushing and be ready to send our message to President Obama early Thursday morning:
    "Just Say No to Keystone XL"
    This event is sponsored by S.P.I.R.I.T. and Kat Elliott, Richard Ray Whitman and Coalition Against Keystone XL Pipeline
    To get to Cushing Thursday morning, you cannot come through Stillwater. That highway will be closed. Go up 99 til you come to a white fence on your right with a sign that says, "Oak Hill Road". Turn left. Go 7 miles. You will see a little Sinclair quick stop on your right. Go seven more blocks. Every street will be blocked except the one toward the park. You take two rights and a left, and you will be in the park. If you get lost, everyone in Cushing knows where Memorial Park is.

    We are to come in from the East side of Cushing. You can come North on Highway 99 to Main Street. Or call the Cushing Police for directions at 918-225-1212.
    Bring your own lawn chairs, cameras.
    Driving directions online:
    Contact: Fannie Bates, MPH

  • Video: Lakota sixth grader: Hunger strike against pipelines

    Mahpiya is a 6th grade student at Pahin Sinte Owayewa aka Porcupine School.

    Larry Gus photo: Richard Milanovich Memorial

    In memory of Chairman Richard M. Milanovich.
    Photo copyright Hopi/Navajo photographer Larry Gus. Memorial at Palm Springs Convention Center for Agua Caliente Tribal Chairman Richard M. Milanovic.
    Larry Gus Photography
    Thank you Larry for sharing with Censored News.

    Coyote Talks: Obama in Oklahoma to push tarsands pipeline

    Indigenous Environmental Network with Naomi Klein
    while being arrested at the White House
    protesting the tarsands and Keystone XL pipeline
    Photo Tarsands Action

    White House Press Announcement About Cushing Event – No Voters Need Attend

    March 20, 2012
    The full White House press announcement is below. The locals in Oklahoma have noticed that not only is the event closed to the public, nobody is allowed within 6 miles. Protestors must stay within a small fenced area in a park or risk arrest. They note the irony of the difference between this treatment of average citizens and the “fast track” special treatment being offered to TransCanada.

    Also see: LA Times: Plans underway to proceed with southern portion of Keystone XL pipeline:,0,5852348.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fnews%2Fnationworld%2Fnation+(L.A.+Times+-+National+News)

    Office of the Press Secretary

    March 19, 2012
    President Obama to Travel to Oklahoma
    WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, the President will travel to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. On Thursday, he will visit the Cushing, Oklahoma area to discuss his Administration’s commitment to improving and supporting the infrastructure that helps us leverage our domestic resources, while also ensuring these projects are developed in a safe and responsible way. This includes a pipeline that will transport oil from Cushing to the Gulf of Mexico, which will help address the bottleneck of oil that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production in the Midwest. The President will deliver remarks at a storage yard holding pipes that will be used for the construction of the pipeline. The President’s remarks are open to pre-credentialed members of the press but closed to the public.
    Members of the media who wish to RSVP for the arrival of Air Force One should RSVP HEREby 5:00PM CDT/6:00PM EDT, Tuesday, March 20, 2012.
    Members of the media who wish to RSVP for the President’s remarks should RSVP HERE by 5:00PM CDT/6:00PM EDT, Tuesday, March 20, 2012.
    Members of the media who wish to RSVP for the departure of Air Force One should RSVPHERE by 5:00PM CDT/6:00 PM EDT, Tuesday, March 20, 2012.
    THURSDAY, March 22, 2012
    President Obama Remarks at TransCanada Pipe Yard
    TransCanada Pipe Yard
    2215 South Ripley Road
    Stillwater, OK 74023
    Event Time: 9:55am CDT
    Media Coverage: The event is open to pre-credentialed media.
    Press Contact for logistical and planning purposes only: Samantha Finke, 202-503-5685mobile or


    OBAMA PIPELINE PROTEST: Native Americans forced to protest in a cage

    OBAMA PIPELINE PROTEST: Native Americans forced to protest in a cage
    Click image for statement from Cushing, Okla. (Photo Marty Cobenais arrested at White House pipeline protest in Sept.)

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