Surrounded by her family, our friend, sister and infatigable Red Warrior Debra White Plume took her final breaths this morning at 5:45 a.m. Our sincere condolences to her family and all who knew and loved her. Debra was the symbol of resistance and defender of the water, land and people. She took her journey too soon for those she led to the battle field. We will miss her, miss knowing she is there. Sweet journey my friend.
-- Brenda, Censored News
We celebrate Debra's bold action with the Water Protectors at the Red Warrior Camp at Standing Rock, with her own words in the fall of 2016.
We must not rest easy. We must not trust this enemy of Mother Earth to go away. DAPL may decide to drill on, and simply pay the fine for drilling without a permit. DAPL may trick the decision-makers to accept the Black Snake inside perimeters, but it will still be inside the perimeter.
Hundreds of people went to jail, some are facing serious charges that can land them locked in jail for decades, for simply doing their jobs as media and medics. Some for being grabbed up in police sweeps long after an action was completed. Some for being set up by DAPL and police informers, infiltrators and provocateurs. Many lives have been changed forever by being engaged in this battle for the past 5 months.
Individuals have formed bonds with others, creating new family. The bonds of frontline battle never go away. No one can understand this, if one has not gone through this experience.
America is a huge beast, FAT TAKER is a huge beast. European banks are a huge beast. FAT TAKER is never satisfied. FAT TAKER always wants more. It took the generosity of millions of people to donate and keep donating, to the people in all the camps. We could not have done it without that generosity. All the attorneys, politicians, organizers who worked non-stop, all that work was necessary. But we cannot rest now.
As long as there is one Indian left, there will be a fight for the land and the water. As long as the water flows, as long as the sweetgrass grows, we must keep our eyes open and watch for FAT TAKER.
Lakota know we love Unci Maka. All of Unci Maka. Our ancestors were free, to follow the Star Nation Path (the Good Red Road), to roam, to hunt, to be happy, to have sacred water. Then one day, FAT TAKER came thru camp, and stole the fat that many women prepared to get their lodges through the harsh prairie winters. From then on, it was the beginning of a war our ancestors waged in defense of their children, their babies, their, and our, sacred path of life. The gunfire may have ended at Wounded Knee in 1890 on that day when the 7th Calvary massacred unarmed women, children, old people, and men. But the war continues.
America continues to violate international law, which is what a treaty is. Our ancestors made the 1851 and 1868 Ft Laramie Treaty with the United States to retain territory and make peace. America violated the Treaty Law when Fat Taker found gold, and they have been violating it ever since. America recently admitted their guilt in being a Fat Taker, through the unilateral (because no one bothered to talk with Traditional government about this lawsuit) approval of the Cobell Settlement, which awarded a few billion to the many many Red Nations peoples who America stole money from in the amount of $134 billion dollars worth of what American calls "natural resources". These were taken off Unci Maka to make a profit for a few Fat Takers, leaving destruction and contamination behind that our Red Nations have to live and die with.
Our Treaty boundaries encompass a large part of the Great Plains. This is our ancestral territory that we retained through Treaty. We, to this day, love this land, and feel that we need to take care of it. At one point in time, America called, after illegal takings of other unceeded territory, the remaining portions this land base "the Great Sioux Reservation". Nonetheless, we are our own sovereign Nation!
Therein lies some of the confusion as to the understanding of the American people when we speak of "reservations". The place where I live now is the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. Officially, in the records of the American government's Interior Department (where the national parks, animals, and plants are managed, is also where the Indians and our lands are "managed") Pine Ridge Reservation is acknowledged as Prisoner of War Camp 344. In the past days, our people were not under the Interior Department, we were classified under the War Department. American Indians (sic) are the only people in this big land who have ANOTHER number, beyond the social security number of all Americans. We have our "Indian" number, our Prisoner of War number. Mine begins with 344. So America knows I dwell within Prisoner of War Camp 344. Think about that for a while.
In our work to protect Treaty Territory, Human Rights, Treaty Rights, we make allies all over the world to educate about our situation in POW Camp #344, our Treaties, and our obligation and privilege to protect lands and waters for our coming generations. We have many American people allies. Sometimes they make the human error of going by information they find about us, and utilize American records, and America refers to some of our land base as the "Great Sioux Reservation" which was a collective land base for our Nations to live on together, vs the individual 'reservation' landbases that remain after American carved out all our Treaty Territory that they wanted for the Fat. These individual 'reservations' are where the distinct Bands (I am of the Oglala Band) reside today.
There is a tarsands oil pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline, planned by TransCanada, Inc. that will pierce through our Treaty Territory, or, if you go by American records, parts of the "Great Sioux Reservation". It will cross hundreds of rivers, streams, creeks, and it will be over our Ogallala Aquifer, which spans 8 states from South Dakota to Texas, and it will cross our piped-in drinking water as well. This aquifer is also our source of drinking water for portions of the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Cheyenne River Eagle Butte Reservation, and Rosebud Reservation, which by the way, also depend on the piped-in drinking water. We must protect our drinking water.
The American process of citizen involvement is designed to make people feel they have a voice. However, as the process applies to "American Indians", the process is flawed to benefit the United States and any corporations who want to do business on our lands. America claims their process gives us voice to express our concerns and needs and RIGHTS. We know this is to be fallacy, a myth, a disguise for Fat Taker to continue to get their way.
TransCanada has a website that displays our Moccasins on the Ground Activist Training poster. TC claims they have utilized this American process to "work with" the tribes, but it is just more of the manipulation of Fat Taker to get what they want. Say our "tribe" meets with the American entities of EPA, BLM, etc. and we voice "NO, don't come through here." The entities will say, but we have the right to come through there, it does not violate any law. That is not a consultation, it is the federal government TELLING us what they will do. Our Red Nations have all opposed the KXL pipeline and called upon Lakota to defend the water.
TransCanada is trying to make a big deal out of a mistaken American identification of who our people are and what are Territories consist of. TransCanada is trying to explain away how their tarsands KXL pipeline application process for a permit to enter the big land is all above board and honest and good. Ask the non-Indian American ranchers and farmers from Montana to Texas how above board TC and America have behaved. They lost their lands to eminent domain to TC. They are the new Indians of today, the federal government is helping Fat Taker to take their lands now, against their wishes.
Folks have to take caution, and read between the lines of what these Fat Taker corporations say, as they manipulate the English language and play with words to make themselves look like they are not Fat Taker, that they are honest and good. Do not be deceived by Fat Taker. Stand with us to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and shut down tarsands oil mine. Stand with us now while there is still time to stop them. Take courage! We do have the right to protect our sacred water for our children and grandchildren. It is their water. We must be prepared to protect that which is for our generations.
We are now hosting a three-day training session to learn from each other how to protect our sacred water using non-violent direct action, which, by the way, is a right of all citizens in this big land. We will make allies, learn new skills, share existing effective skills that will make us stronger in our collective action of putting our Moccasins on the Ground to protect our sacred water. Hecetuwe. (It is so so.)
Debra White Plume
Owe Aku, Bring Back the Way
The United Nations Special Rapporteur, Mr James Anaya, acknowledges how the return of the Black Hills to the Great Sioux Nation would be a way for the US to begin reconciliation with the Lakota Nation, stating: “that's a situation where indigenous people have seen over time, encroachment on to their land, and they've lost vast territories. there have been clear instances of broken treaty promises. It's undisputed that the Black Hills was guaranteed them by treaty and that treaty was outright violated by the United States, That has been recognized by the US supreme court," he said. he reserves recommendations on a plan for land restoration until his final report to the UN human rights council in September. “I'm talking about restoring to indigenous peoples what they're entitled to and have a legitimate claim to in a way that is not divisive but restorative. That's the idea behind reconciliation," he said.
She told of the coming of a white man in heavy winter when there was deep snow. In those early times, fat was tied in the trees in a bladder or stomach bag of the buffalo. Fat was a very valuable substance because there is no fat on buffalo, elk or deer, except for a little around the kidneys.
The starving white man came for the bundles of fat. “He took them all, stuffed them all down his mouth. We called him the fat taker. He thought only of himself. He didn’t think of the women who worked for five months to gather the fat so we would have it through the five months of winter.”
Those words reflect the untold history of exploitation and greed when white men arrived on this continent. When Lewis and Clark re-enactors arrived in South Dakota, Debra gave them a symbolic blanket of smallpox.
(MARCH 5, 2012) Debra White Plume, released from jail in Kyle, South Dakota, said Monday night, "Alex, myself, Sam Long Black Cat, Andrew Iron Shell and Terrell Eugene Iron Shell were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct."
"There were about 50 to 75 people on the blockade at the village of Wanblee in Eagle Nest District on the northern side of the Pine Ridge rez."
Testimony of Debra White Plume, Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Pine Ridge, South Dakota at Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Indian Reservation.
Mitakuye na Oyate kin na Mr. Anaya, iyuskinya cante waste nape ciyuspape. Cante mawaste lel wahi. Wasicu caje kin Debra White Plume. Ite Sica Tioyspaye ematanhan.
Translation: My relatives, the people, and Mr. Anaya, I shake your hands with a good heart. I come here with a good heart. My English name is Debra White Plume, I come from the Red Cloud Family.
I speak for Owe Aku, Bring Back the Way, a grassroots Oglala Lakota non-governmental organization, and do work at the direction of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council. I speak as a Grandmother, as the lead plaintiff against the world’s largest uranium producer, Cameco, Inc., and as an activist.
Mr. Anaya, I give you good greetings and acknowledge your presence here on Lakota Homelands in your role as Special Rapporteur for the United Nations and in your very serious responsibility to express the voice of Native Nations peoples across this land to gather information and report on the American governments’ treatment of our people regarding the conditions our people live under and experience on the historical basis that becomes transformative to the daily experience of today’s modern society.
The United States allowed and allows, supported and supports corporate encroachment onto our Homelands to get at the gold in our sacred Black Hills. The Homestake gold mine corporation and later the uranium mining corporations were and are allowed to come here to our Homelands to extract minerals and metals for private profit and then to leave their mess behind when they have mined out their profits.
The mining fouled and fouls our sacred water and lands. This relationship between the United States government and corporations continues to this day.
There are uranium, oil, and gas corporations here now, and more want to come. We did not invite them.
America welcomes Canadian-owned Cameco uranium corporation, TransCanada oil pipeline corporation, and PowerTech uranium corporation to come and obtain permits to mine uranium and slurry oil in our Territory against our wishes, this extraction and pipeline threaten our Ogalalla Aquifer, which gives 2 million people drinking water and irrigates the world's breadbasket.
We have not given our free, prior and informed consent as required by the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, we know not everyone is satisfied with the Declaration, but it is a minimum standards document.
Our lands, waters, and peoples have been under constant assault by government-sanctioned Fat Taker corporations since the formation of the Settler Nation. Around here, the deadly radioactivity unleashed by uranium mining corporations contaminants our sacred ground and surface waters, and the in situ leach mining method of mining is permitted to store forever, deep underground, toxic waste as an unlicensed nuclear waste dump. This is all occurring 30 minutes from our southern border on the Pine Ridge and within Treaty Territory.
The United States federal Indian policy does not recognize but instead violates the Ft Laramie Treaties. This practice allows corporations to come to our land, make profit while contaminating our Homelands and our People, who are sick, suffering and dying from the impacts of mining and United States government practices.
United States federal Indian policy does not, does not increase health care budgets or environmental protection budgets to alleviate deadly mining impacts to our people and coming generations.
The United States government blatantly continues to violate our Treaties and their own water laws while our people are dying. A long time ago, our ancestors said the Settler Nation could use as much of our land as was between the wheels of the wagon train and allowed them to pass through our Territory. However, greed overtook the Settler Nation.
Now today the United States government’s federal Indian policy lumps all Native Nations together, and calls us American Indians. This attacks our dignity and this de-humanizes us, and we find it ludicrous that this young United States Settler Nation government wants to dominate our ancient Peoples and Nations and observe the new map they have drawn that not only ignores Treaty Territory but also ignores the ancient maps of our Lakota Nation: the Mother Earth map and the Star Nation map ...that correspond with each other and that guides us to be Lakota people and Lakota Nation. All lands inside our maps have been under constant attack since the Settler Nation became greedy Fat Takers.
In Wounded Knee in 1890 the 7th Calvary of the United States used gatling guns to massacre unarmed men, women, and children. Today it is the United States federal Indian policy that is the gatling gun the American government is using against our people. The death may be slower, but it is just as sure.
We want to honor the two items our people carried onto our Homelands in the Treaty Era, the Star Nation map and the Mother Earth map. These were the two items we brought with us, to what American calls Prisoner of War Camp 344, and what is now known as the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Mr. Anaya, I ask you to keep this message clear, do not pretty up my testimony. I am saying that America is committing ethnocide against our way of life, ecocide against our Mother Earth, and genocide in our Lakota Homelands. Our Human Rights are being violated and our Inherent Right to live as Lakota People and Nation is being violated as well. Without access to our lands and waters, we cannot live our collective Inherent Rights to be who we are.
We must have our lands. Share this message with the world. The United States Supreme Court agreed our Territory was stolen by the United States and was the ripest, rankest case of land theft in the United States of America’s history and thus awarded us millions of dollars. Tell the world we refused the money. We want our lands and our waters. We want our Treaties upheld. We must have our lands.
Wioweya Egna Najin Win miye. Lila wopila, mitakuyepi na Mr. Anaya.
Translation: I am Stands Among the Colors of the Sun Woman. I thank you, my relatives and Mr. Anaya.