Nov 7, 2015 - Tribal, Grassroots, & Treaty Leaders Respond to President Obama Rejecting Keystone XL Pipeline

For Immediate Release November 6th, 2015

Tribal, Grassroots, & Treaty Leaders Respond to President Obama Rejecting Keystone XL Pipeline

Washington D.C. ­ President Obama has rejected the Keystone XL cross­border application filed by TransCanada to the U.S. State Department.  This is a huge victory for the Tribal Nations and communities along its proposed route that have been fighting this dirty tar sands project for the past seven years.  This rejection is a sincere affirmation of the struggle to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth and her life blood, the water.  The following are response statements by Tribal, grassroots and treaty leaders to President Obama’s rejection of Keystone XL cross­border permit application:

Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network KXL Campaign Organizer, “This is a tremendous victory for all the pipeline fighters who have spent several years fighting the TransCanada “black snake”, Keystone XL! T he President’s decision is a clear affirmation of our struggle to defend the sacredness of Mother Earth and to protect the future generations of all our relatives, human and non­human alike.  We celebrate this as a win and a powerful step to the greater goals of keeping fossil fuels in the ground and shutting down the tar sands at the source!”

Harold Frazier, Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, “On behalf of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe we are grateful to President Obama for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and give thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.  We must continue to fight this war against tar sands.  We need to stay united with all our Native brothers and sisters here in Canada, and around the world to stop the pollution of our water so our young people can grow up to live good healthy lives.”

Lewis Grassrope, Chairman of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, “In the greatest effort of all indigenous people’s to stop the kxl pipeline our prayers were heard.  As its a great day for all as our connections spiritually were answered.  Thank you to all for the perseverance, fortitude, humility, and courageous acts to stop this black snake from coming onto our lands.  One giant step for our children’s future. A great victory today for all indigenous peoples.”.

David Archambault Jr., Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe applauds President Obama’s decision to deny the permit to the KXL pipeline project.  After several years of vigorous debate by many parties, the president resolved the issue by focusing on the big picture.  President Obama’s decision is consistent with Tribal values that respect the environment and honor our roles as guardians of our children’s’ futures.”

A. Gay Kingman, Executive Director of Great Plains Tribal Chairmans Association, “Wopila President Obama for rejecting the Keystone XL. Wopila to all our Relatives who stood strong to oppose the KXL, But, keep the coalitions together because there are more Pipelines proposed and we must protect our Mother Earth for our Future Generations.

Paula Antoine, Chairwoman of Rosebud NO KXL Spirit Camp, Oyate Wahacanka Woecun (Shielding the People), “We, along with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, are extremely honored by President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.  We have stood united with all those who protect Unci Maka.  Our children’s grandchildren will benefit and remember this day as a victory!  We affirm our rights as the original caretakers and stewards of the land, resources and oyate. We remain, in solidarity shielding the People. One heart ~ one mind ~ one prayer.”

Faith Spotted Eagle, Ihanktowan Treaty Council Spokesperson, “This is what unity, hard work and breaking down barriers looks like….all for protecting sacred water and land for the generations.  Today we stand in thankfulness for Obama, adopted son of the Crow Nation.  We stood united in this struggle, Democrat, Republican, Native, Cowboy, Rancher, landowners, urban warriors, grandmas and grandpas, children….. and through this fight against KXL we have come to see each other in a new better, stronger way!”

Frank Waln, Sicangu Lakota, Music Producer and Artist, ”For those of us whose homes were on the frontlines of this proposed pipeline, this is a huge step forward.  Our efforts to resist all forms of colonization, including natural energy extraction on Indigenous lands are not in vain.  I commend all my relatives who have dedicated their time, energy and lives to stopping this pipeline, when society and the government told us otherwise. Indigenous nations are rising.  This is only the beginning!”

Aldo Seoane, Wica Agli, “We are excited by the president’s decision to reject Keystone XL.  The project not only would have put the environment in harms way but it would have also put the women and children along the pipeline route at a higher risk of domestic and sexual violence.  We are encouraged by the president’s choice of people and the environment over politics and big oil.”

Joye Braun, Community Organizer Cheyenne River Sioux reservation, “Today marks a historic day for the people of the Oceti Sakowin, and our allies.  I say thank you to President Obama, and Secretary Kerry for seeing the truth behind the Keystone XL pipeline and rejecting the black snake. We must stay vigilant against tar sands and continue our support to our First Nation cousins in Canada who are on the frontline of this world disaster.  We will continue to pray and support the fight against tar sands.”

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, “In the fight against Keystone XL our efforts as Indigenous peoples, whether Lakota, Dakota, Assiniboine, Ponca, Cree, Dene or other has always been in the defense of Mother Earth and the sacredness of the water.  Today, with this decision we feel those efforts have been validated.  With the rejection of Keystone XL we have not only protected the sacredness of the land and water we have also helped our Cree & Dene relatives at the source take one step closer to shutting down the tar sands.  The black snake, Keystone XL, has been defeated and best believe we will dance to our victory!”

Ruth Hopkins, Editor and writer for Last Real Indians, “The President has rejected Transcanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.  It’s been a long battle, we’ve being fighting it for years- one of the first columns we ran on Last Real Indians was about a Lakota grandma blocking developers from traveling across tribal lands, with her own body.  I’m so thankful to everyone who supported the fight, who spoke out, organized, protested, and was arrested.  There are too many to name.  This is a victory for the Lakota, who were ready to go to war over Keystone XL, Indian country, sovereignty, and also the millions of Americans who unknowingly would have had their fresh water source contaminated by it. While they were sleeping, we protected them all.”

Chase Iron Eyes, Editor and writer for Last Real Indians, “The fight is never over.  Celebrate the victories and prepare for more.  I have been involved at various levels of KXL pipeline concerns and actions since 2008.  Dakota Access, Sandpiper, Fracking & other threats need continued action.  Tribal Nations need war chests.”

LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard, Historian for the Oceti Sakowin, “We are in a meeting talking about the buffalo Arvol Looking Horse is here so we as the the Lakota/Dakota all heard the news together, all I can say is we rise up we are alive and our prayers are heard we are strong we live we are the new Ocetic Sakowin.  We continue to pray and stand together we have only just began. So I my own words I stand here as a native woman and rise my voice in a li Li Li Li for the land and the water.”

Denise Gloria, Community organizer, “mán̕ kʷ uʔ ʔə́y̕ nəx̣čŋín (Lower Elwha Klallam) translates as my thoughts are very happy.  I want to acknowledge Obama for rejecting the Keystone Pipelines.  However my concern for our environment is the lack of support our indigenous people had fighting against pipelines.  Without water there is no life.  There are too many people concerned more about money than our environment.  Money will always be available, but man cannot undue environmental destruction. I study social and human services at Seattle Central College, and as a student I am concerned with the lack of awareness around these environmental issues.  I have learned about issues around the world concerning our environment, but tribal lands are left out of these discussions.  I am concerned that without my presence in classrooms my classmates are not informed on the injustices that happen on our tribal territory.  When the Navajo mining accident occurred all of my instructors failed to bring up the topic, and I had to speak on it.  Treaties are still broken, and the only people fighting for our rights are our people; who barely hit 1% in demographics.  We need more support, because we are trying to save this environment for everyone; not just ourselves. Salmon is more precious than money; you cannot eat money.”

Sara Juanita Jumping Eagle, writer for Last Real Indians, “I’m happy about the decision, yet more than half of his [Obama] comments are blowing smoke.   We have passed a tipping point. And they are still talking about the price of gas.  The price we are paying for lower gas prices is the poison in our water and air.  I wonder whether the water I give to my children downstream from the Bakken will shorten their lives or shorten the next generations abilities to have families.   And they talk about the price of gas and “jobs”.

Matt Remle, Editor and writer for Last Real Indians and community organizer, “Today’s decision showed the power of what can happen when we come together united by the strength of our ancestors and guided by the belief that what we do today impacts our children’s and grand-children’s lives and the well being of our first Mother, Ina Maka.   Though we must know our enemy and remain vigilant in our efforts to fight against the desecration of Ina Maka and the violence inflicted upon her that reverberates in the violence inflicted upon all mothers and all of creation.   We must also create the economies that both lift up communities from poverty and are powered by renewable energy that is developed and driven by the knowledge of our ancestors.”

Clayton Thomas-Muller, community organizer with

Press contacts:
Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network, 708­515­6158,
Harold Frazier, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, 605­964­4155
Lewis Grassrope, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, 605­208­0880
David Archambault Jr., Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, (701) 854­7560
A.Gay Kingman, Great Plains Tribal Chairmans Assoc., (605)­484­3036
Paula Antoine, Shielding the People No KXL Spirit Camp, (605) ­ 828­0740
Faith Spotted Eagle, Ihantonwan Treaty Council, (605)­481­0416
Frank Waln,
Aldo Seoane, Wica Agli, (605)­319­8151
Joye Braun, Cheyenne River Grassroots,

Last Real Indians