May 12, 2014 - Lakota Tour of Resistance 2014
From May 18 – June 10, 2014, a Lakota Delegation will embark on a historic journey to the North and meet with First Nations communities resisting tar sands mining, pipelines, refineries, and tankers. The Tour of Resistance is being made in the spirit of building Nation-to-Nation alliances, unity, and solidarity to protect our Sacred Water from destructive industries.
To support the Lakota Tour of Resistance 2014: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1l8X6/ab/43Kwz5
This tour will feature a delegation of Lakota land and water protectors currently on the front lines defending their homelands from the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline and uranium mining. The Lakota have been gaining momentum in this resistance movement, allowing them time to visit 10 First Nations communities in so-called British Columbia that are organizing and unifying in defense of Sacred Water and Mother Earth.
This tour is being coordinated with Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) and grassroots Indigenous communities representing First Nations impacted by the Tar Sands, pipelines, and mining. Check out their amazing work and dedication.
The extractive industries in so-called Canada are destroying and contaminating Indigenous territories and water at a faster rate than ever before. However, resistance to the fossil fuel industry is growing. First Nations land defenders from British Colombia to New Brunswick have been taking direct action to protect homelands against tar sands mining, fracking, pipelines, and murdered and missing Indigenous women. This Tour of Resistance is an opportunity to build solidarity among Indigenous people in resistance and to gather strength from common struggles. Our power is in unity.
The dates for the Lakota Tour of Resistance are from May 18- June 6, 2014. The delegation and caravan will be traveling from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to as far north as Gitxan Territory. Follow the Lakota Tour of Resistance 2014 on Facebook for updates.
May 20 – Missoula, Montana
May 23 – Secwepemc Nation
May 24 – Sto:lo Nation
May 25 – Vancouver
May 26 – Coast Salish Nations
May 27 – St’at’imc Nation
May 29 – Tsilhqot’in Nation
May 31 – Nuxalk Nation, Bella Coola
June 2 – Burns Lake – Lake Babine Nation – Naduten / Tsil Kaz Koh
June 4 – Wet’suwet’in Nation, Unistoten Camp
June 5 – Wet’suwet’in Nation, Moricetown
June 6 – Gitxan Nation
June 10 – Lakota Homelands
Owe Aku International is a grassroots organization of Lakota people and allies. Owe Aku hold themselves and the Lakota people to a very high standard. There will be no more mining or pipelines on Lakota homelands. Now Owe Aku has raised the bar even higher, humbly asking Lakota warriors to venture beyond their ancestral home to stop the tar sands everywhere. Here is footage of Owe Aku Director Debra White Plume speaking in 2011 following announcement of the KXL pipeline proposal. The Lakota grandmother compels Thunder Valley Community Development in Pine Ridge to make a pledge for protection of Mother Earth and Sacred Water.
“Right now there’s the TransCanada Keystone XL oil pipeline they plan from Canada all the way to Texas. It’s going to come from our North. It’s going to come to our East. It’s going to go south of us,” said Debra White Plume. “The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is fighting it, and it’s going to cross their boundary. Our tribe is fighting them. These are some of the folks coming on the tour.”
“Our tribe joined Owe Aku as we fight Cameco. Our tribe joins us as we fight Powertech. This is what I mean by being strong and having courage. It’s not easy to fight the world’s largest uranium producer,” said Debra White Plume. “We’re a grassroots organization made up of relatives who are committed to MotherEarth, our water, our children, and their children after them 7 generations. We need to commit ourselves, pledge ourselves to the coming 7 generations when we make decisions. I’ll be very comforted by that as a grandmother, as a great-grandmother, if I know you are pledging yourselves when you make this talk. Pledge yourself to the coming generations.”
Forethought is central to the paradigm shift that Owe Aku is working toward with messaging, and Debra White Plume plans to overcome historic racial and class differences by promoting compassion for future generations. “I want you to hold the People in your hearts. That’s the sign of a leader. A good Lakota leader hold the People in his heart, her heart. A good leader stands in the way of something bad coming towards the People. Do that! Stand in the way of this uranium! Stand in the way of this pipeline!”
“We already have the miners coming here. We already fought off a uranium company. We fought off an oil company, without having to fight. We used our voice, our hearts, our minds, our prayers! And they left, but they are coming,” said White Plume. “The xylite miners are coming. Natural gas miners are coming. Oil miners are coming. Uranium miners are coming. Don’t be fooled that we’re safe here. The only way we’re going to be safe here is if we stand up and fight. Resistance isn’t pretty, but right now we can fight for our voices, our minds, our hearts, our spirits! Let’s fight this spiritually, mentally, emotionally, so we don’t have to fight with our bodies. Let’s resist this way.”
Debra White Plume is from a generation where Indigenous resistance was often militant and reactionary, with good reason. While armed resistance was necessary during the occupation of Wounded Knee, Owe Aku International advocates for non-violent direct action. “Plan to protect your water. Plan to protect your land. Plan to protect Mother Earth. Plan so we don’t have to fight. We should be about peace. Wo’Lakota. Lakota means together forever with love. If you break it down into deep language, that’s what it means – Together forever with love. Love for Mother Earth! Love for our Sacred Water!”
Here is a video from a 2012 Moccasins on the Ground non-violent direct action training in Cheyenne River. Featuring “Ritual Migrations” by Che Christ, the song explains the inter-generational connection being made between ancestors and the Hip Hop Generation, so the incoming 7th Generation will get the best of both worlds.
Moccasins on the Ground is the cornerstone of Owe Aku’s resistance work against the Keystone XL Pipeline. In March 2012 people from Owe Aku and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation blockaded trucks attempting to pass through the reservation carrying heavy machinery from the Gulf to mine the Athabasca tar sands. Based on this action and the history of Indigenous resistance to extractive industries, Moccasins on the Ground was developed and has evolved over the past three years.
Moccasins on the Ground is producing results and is committed to protecting the Lakota homeland; ultimately, no pipeline will be laid in the ancestral and treaty lands of the Lakota Oyate. The 3-day Moccasins on the Ground training provides the skills necessary to be on the front lines of environmental justice and sacred water protection work. The gatherings are hosted by local communities and are responses to requests from the grassroots organizers within those communities. Moccasins on the Ground is the cornerstone of Owe Aku’s resistance work to the Keystone XL Pipeline.
In March 2012 people from Owe Aku and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation blockaded trucks attempting to pass through the reservation carrying heavy machinery from the Gulf to mine the Athabasca tar sands. Based on this action and the history of Indigenous resistance to extractive industries, Moccasins on the Ground was developed and has evolved over the past three years.
Owe Aku are more than protectors; they are developers. Just like spirituality, sustainability is inherent in every aspect of the Lakota way of life. So they are not reliant on fossil fuels, the White Plumes power their cars with hemp oil and a greasel engine. “You go into a ceremony, they say Mni Wicozani. Through water there is life. There’s no substitute for water. We can power our cars with solar. We can heat our homes with the wind, but we cannot substitute water for anything. We have to have water to live. If we had clean water, we wouldn’t have all this cancer, all this diabetes,” said White Plume.
To show solidarity for Sacred Water protection is the only reason Owe Aku will leave Lakota homelands, especially since the White Plume household mysteriously burnt down during efforts to stop uranium mining in the Black Hills. “The fire was devastating to the family, the community and to Owe Aku’s work. Priceless ceremonial objects, ancestral art, and historic documentation was lost,” said Kent Lebsock, who works and lives with the White Plumes. “Things improved, of course, with time, and Alex White Plume rebuilt the family home which is the heart of their tiyospaye. At any given time several grandchildren, a few great grandchildren and guests from all over the world can be found living and working at their house.” The White Plumes are still in the process of building an office, and some Lakota men will stay behind to construct and defend while the women warriors lead the Tour of Resistance.
“The day will come when there is no gas or oil. The uranium industry wants us to believe we have to depend on nuclear power. We don’t! The way is laid out for us. The path of the Creator has been laid out for us. It’s our duty to protect MotherEarth. It’s our duty to protect our water, each other, our future. So think about development, and say no,” said Debra White Plume. “There will be no mining. Wherever Thunder Valley is, there will be no mining! Wherever Owe Aku is, there will be no mining!”
“We want our water cleaned up. We want better laws. We want laws that protect us, not the mining company. So I ask you to be strong, be brave, have a vision for the 7 generations that doesn’t include cancer, or diabetes, or sudden infant death syndrome. Mental health problems come from drinking arsenic. Why do we have such high suicide rates? Why do we have such high alcoholism rates? Sometimes it goes beyond the economic oppression, the bondage we’re held in here,” said White Plume. “Be strong, be brave, be visionary for Mother Earth, for your children, and your grandchildren. I ask you to keep that in your spirits, your hearts, your minds as you plan for all of the Oglala Band of the Lakota Nation. So we can be strong and healthy and have a future.”
The Lakota will not be alone in this Tour of Resistance. A coalition of Secwepemc warriors will be escorting the Lakota delegation after crossing the border into what Secwepemc people call KKKlanada. No strangers to conflict, the Secwepemc never signed a treaty with the Crown, never ceded territory to British Colombia, and now the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline has been proposed through Secwepemc First Nation.
In January 2014 a group of Secwepemc warrior women interrupted a meeting between tribal and British Colombia government officials to deliver a message about Kinder Morgan. “We come here today to say no pipelines through our territory,” stated Kanahus Freedom.
“That’s our war dance song. We as the Secwepemc women of our nation protect and defend our territory, and we are called in when it’s a last resort,” said Miranda Dick. “We say not the pipeline! We say no extraction! We say no to everything that you’re doing here, especially to the government that’s come to speak to the elected chiefs and council of this area.”
“We speak for the water. That’s why we’re here is for sacred water because with this pipeline crisscrossing through our territory, it’s going to cause damage. Where there’s pipelines, there’s spills,” said Kanahus Freedom. “Our Secwepemc territory is one of the biggest territories in B.C. It’s the biggest territory that the Kinder Morgan pipeline will be crossing through or proposing to cross through, and we say no! That’s our message here to everybody: to the non-Native people from government and for our own people that are here at this table. We say no pipeline, no to Kinder Morgan.” After the demonstration, tribal officials excused themselves from the conversation about Kinder Morgan.
The courage of the Secwepemc women is inspired by their grandfather Wolverine, who engaged the RCMP in a 31-day siege to defend spiritual ways, and by Wet’suwet’en land defenders also fighting Kinder Morgan. “We come here in unity with all Indigenous people across the whole continent that are fighting the pipeline, from the Wet’suwet’in, the Unist’ot’en who are up there in their camp right now along the GPS route of that pipeline, stopping 7 proposed pipelines,” said Kanahus Freedom.
“We stand in unity of all the Indigenous nations that this pipeline is going through, trying to contaminate our water. We’re not going to let the people of today contaminate our children’s water, and we send our war cry to the universe for all of our ancestors to be here with us!” After a moment of reverent silence Kanahus Freedom said, “Stop this pipeline to keep our water clean. It all comes down to our water. Our water is sacred. Our water was put here on this Earth, and it is up to us to protect it, as the women, as the warriors.”
“Like my sister said, we as women are the last resort when it comes to the defense of our territory. So everybody know that this is your first, last, and final notice that this pipeline, this Kinder Morgan expansion is not going through. You are going to be met with conflict and confrontation all along this pipeline route. We read this report, and you’re here to avoid conflict and confrontation, but we’re bringing you that conflict and confrontation. We’re facing off against Kinder Morgan pipeline,” concluded Kanahus Freedom.
“You should know better,” said one warrior woman on the verge of tears, after addressing officials in Secwepemc. “On behalf of our children, hell no! No fucking pipelines.” The women have spoken. This is the beginning of the end for the tar sands. The Lakota Tour of Resistance 2014 needs your support.