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2014-05-01 / Voices

Sicangu Scribe Scribblings

VI WALN
SicanguLakota

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Good Friday it was announced that the decision on the Presidential Permit for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) would be delayed indefinitely. One reason for this delay is because a District Court Judge in Nebraska ruled the law giving the Governor authority to declare eminent domain over privately owned land as unconstitutional.

Many people out there are mistaken in thinking this is a victory. A delay is a small step because it only means the decision is put off. One delay does not mean the fight is over. It’s a time to continue strategizing in the ongoing fight against toxic tar sands being transported over the Ogallala Aquifer.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe has established a Spiritual Camp in Tripp County near the proposed route of the KXL pipeline. Camp organizers have no plans to disband. The camp was established as a place of prayer so human beings from all over the country could pray for the KXL pipeline to never be built.

It is my understanding that the camp will remain intact as a spiritual place. If ground is ever broken to begin building KXL pipeline, the camp will convert to a blockade.

Last week a very large gathering was held in Washington, DC to bring awareness and to also protest the KXL pipeline. People from all over the country traveled to America’s capital to par- ticipate in a week of events on the National Mall.

While people were in Washington, DC leading highly-publicized marches and educating people about the threat the KXL pipeline will bring, there were people here on the reservation belittling their efforts and wondering if they were tribal members. There will always be the colonized cynics who have problems over who is traveling or what blood quantum they have. Usually it’s the people left behind who always have something negative to say.

What many people fail to realize is the fight against TransCanada is one of life and death. Without a fresh water source we will die whether we are tribal members or not.

I attended a Court hearing in Tripp County earlier this week. TransCanada is forcing John Harter – a rancher from Colombe, SD – to accept a settlement he doesn’t want for an easement allowing the pipeline to cross his land. He is the only man in South Dakota who took the fight against TransCanada to court.

TransCanada believes they are in the right in taking this man’s land away from him and allow for their pipeline to be built. TransCanada also believes the environmental and other impact studies have been satisfied.

The issue in Tripp County Court has to do with the settlement being offered by TransCanada, which Mr. Harter feels he is being coerced into. The Judge stated he has no jurisdiction over anything except a jury trial to determine the amount of the settlement to be paid to Harter. A continuance was granted through July 1, 2014.

Prepare yourselves for another round in the ongoing battle against TransCanada and their KXL pipeline.

Vi Waln is Sicangu Lakota and an enrolledmember of the rosebud Sioux Tribe. Her columns were awarded first place in the SouthDakota newspaper Association 2010 contest.

She can be reached through email at: vi@lakotacountrytimes.com

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