Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 6, 2013

Bridger SD: Moccasins on the Ground to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline June 2013

Moccasins on the Ground To Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

By Owe Aku International Justice Project, Kent Lebsock

Debra White Plume/White House Keystone protest arrest
Moccasins on the Ground Tour of Resistance opens the nonviolent direct action training at 5pm on Friday, June 14, 2013 in the small community area of Bridger, SD located on the Cheyenne River Eagle Butte Sioux Reservation, and continues from 10am on June 15 and 16.

“The training will be held at Takini School, a few miles from Bridger, as it is the largest venue that can hold the hundreds of people who will participate in the training,” says Debra White Plume, lead organizer and Director of the grassroots non governmental organization, Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way),  “this part of the Eagle Butte Homelands is the first Lakota Community to face the tarsands to come through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which is awaiting denial or approval from President Obama.”

The training focuses on skills, tactics, and techniques of nonviolent direct action such as blockading heavy equipment, also emphasized in the three day training session are workshops on Strategic Media, Street Medic Training, Knowing Your Legal Rights Under Civil Disobedience, Building Solidarity, Human Rights and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Lakota Sacred Teachings on Water, and many other topics under the umbrella of direct action.

There will be First Nations people from Canada present to share their experience of impacts of the tarsands oil mine on their traditional territories, waters and the wildlife they depend on for subsistence hunting and gathering; as well as discussions on how other tarsands and oil pipelines have resulted in their people becoming displaced and ill from the mining and pipeline impacts.

“It is my job to educate our people on their rights, and how to protect their rights, this KXL pipeline may be the biggest issue of our lifetimes,” said Robin LeBeaux, Tribal Council Representative from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.  A presentation will be made by the CRST’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Steve Vance regarding sacred sites that are along the proposed route.

“As the process of public comment, hearings, and other aspects of an international application continue, each door is closing to protecting sacred water and our Human Right to Water. Soon the only door left open will be the door to direct action. An organized, prepared community is our best protection if President Obama chooses to issue the KXL permit. Of course, we are hopeful that he will truly be revolutionary in the green sense, and say no to the permit, and lead the world in moving away from destruction and toward a sustainable energy future.  But we cannot sit and wait for his decision, we must act now and be ready to protect our sacred water, our lands, our families, so we take the Moccasins on the Ground Tour of Resistance to Lakota communities that invite us to provide the training. We have been to several Lakota communities, more trainings are scheduled through the fall. We will provide training until the decision is made by President Obama,” said White Plume.

Trainers and presenters include White Plume of Owe Aku, Tantoo Cardinal of Ft McMurray, Canada, Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, Kandi Mosset of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Nina Waste of Idle No More, Manitoba, Canada, Bruce Ellison of the National Lawyers Guild, Alex White Plume of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, Faith Spotted Eagle of Treaty to Protect the Sacred, Vic Camp and Jo Red Sky of the Warriors Alliance, and more.  Trainers also include activists from the Great Plains Tarsands Resistance, Texas Blockade, People’s Media Project of Chicago, Ill, Protect the Sacred of Ihanktowan Nation, Christian Peace Maker Team, Lakota Media Project, Deep Green Resistance and many other organizations and individuals.

“Delegations are coming from the four directions to participate in this training, all people who want to learn are welcome,” says Vic Camp, organizer for Owe Aku.

There is no registration fee, but donations are welcome (  Bring your sleeping bag, showers are available. Meals are provided. For more information please contact organizers TJ Afraid of Hawk at 605-200-0732 or Vic Camp at 605-407-7484.

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