Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chases Keystone XL Pipeline Reps Out

Rosebud Sioux on solidarity march against KXL earlier this year (photo by Brenda Norell)

Rosebud Sioux on solidarity march against KXL earlier this year (photo by Brenda Norell)


by Joye Braun / Lakota Voice

Lakota from at least two tribes told representatives of the Keystone XL Pipeline that they were not wanted near the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation and on treaty land during an education meeting that TransCanada had set up in Faith S.D on Wednesday November 13, 2013.

The original meeting was set to take place in Takini S.D. for the same day, however Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman, Kevin Keckler, was told about the meeting and that TransCanada had asked for a room for an education meeting and offered the school $1,500. Chairman Keckler told Takini School that TransCanada could not have the meeting, as there was a resolution in place banning TransCanada and any company working for them on the Keystone XL Pipeline from being on the reservation boundaries.

When the meeting was cancelled at Takini it was moved to Faith S.D. Patti Gourneau, a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, and a consultant for TransCanada set up the meetings.

Robin LeBeau, CRST District 5 council representative, asked her politely to remember she is marrying a Minncoujou now and will live amongst us so please respect the wishes of CRST and never bring the enemy to our lands again. Others yelled “sell out” towards Gourneau saying that she should know better not bring the forked tongued Unci Maka rapists to our lands.

About 40 anti-pipeline protesters showed up to the meeting in Faith, despite having less than 24 hours notification, mostly by word of mouth and Facebook. Questions directed towards TransCanada representatives and to their man camp contractor included concerns about drugs, prostitution, and safety once the pipeline workers left the compound to interact with local residents in outlying towns.

Pipeline officials said that there was little crime reported in the man camps they have constructed and operate; safety was a definite concern. Floyd Braun, Aleut, from Eagle Butte, S.D. and married to a CRST tribal member questioned who they contracted security to and was told that they do in-house security. Braun, who said he has worked in security before, said that in-house security has a 100% failure rate and only an outside security company can offer any guarantee of a secure facility.

TJ Afraid of Hawk, an activist from the CRST Reservation, reminded the representatives that we have not ceded the territory lands of the 1851 and 1868 treaties and that treaty law was the supreme law of the land. She spoke passionately and said, “You cannot drink oil; you cannot drink the money.”

Debra White Plume, an activist and member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, travelled from Pine Ridge Reservation to lend her support to the members of the CRST Tribe. She told the pipeline representatives, “We don’t want you here. You should go.”

This sparked cries for the representatives to leave, which led to them gathering their belongings and leaving the building fast. The anti-pipeline protesters followed the representatives out of the community building telling them to leave and not to come back.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal members won’t allow the representatives to return and they don’t want the Keystone XL Pipeline coming through their treaty lands.

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