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Chiefs Declare Keystone XL Consultation Meeting Invalid, Walk Out on State Department Officials

Society & Culture  (tags: Keystone XL, Native Americans, , Rapid City, South Dakota, Treaty Rights, DOS, environment, culture )

- 2132 days ago -
"On this historic day of May 16, 2013, ten sovereign Indigenous nations maintain that the proposed TransCanada/Keystone XL pipeline does not serve the national interest and in fact would be detrimental not only to the collected sovereigns but all future


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Angelika R (143)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 6:19 pm

Elders and chiefs of at least 10 sovereign nations walked out of a meeting with U.S. State Department officials in Rapid City, South Dakota, on Thursday May 16 in which the government was attempting to engage in tribal consultation over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Deeming the meeting “invalid,” leaders of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association—attendees included the Southern Ponca of Oklahoma, Pawnee Nation, Nez Perce Nation, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Ihanktonwan Dakota Yankton Sioux, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Standing Rock Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Crow Creek Sioux Tribe—said they would meet only with President Barack Obama to discuss the pipeline.

The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association is made up of the 16 tribal chairmen, presidents and chairpersons in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska who have joined to defend treaty rights, according to the group. In January they along with other tribes signed the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred Against the Tar Sands. (Related: Tribal Members Sign Treaty Calling for an End to Alberta Oil Sands Development and Keystone XL)

Keystone XL would carry up to 800,000 barrels daily of viscous crude known as bitumen from the Alberta oil sands of Canada for 1,700 miles down to the Gulf of Mexico coast in Texas. Obama is slated to make a decision on the $7 billion project sometime this year, perhaps as early as the end of summer. (Related: U.S. Senate Endorses Keystone XL 62–37 in Symbolic, Non-Binding Vote)

The chiefs join the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), which two weeks ago released its public comments on the pipeline’s draft environmental assessment report, recommending that the Obama administration reject the pipeline proposal from TransCanada if certain concerns could not be adequately addressed. (Related: Fill Gaps in Keystone XL Draft Environment Report or Reject Pipeline, NCAI Tells Obama Administration)

The state department received more than a million public comments by the April 22 deadline, which was coincidentally Earth Day, most of them against the project. (Related: Anti-Keystone XL Tribal Members Urge Fellow Natives to Comment on Environmental Impact Statement)

The government’s own Environmental Protection Agency has weighed in against the environmental draft report, which was released on March 1. On April 22 the EPA objected to the review, saying more study was needed of greenhouse gas emissions, the potential effect of spills, and the route through ecologically sensitive territory, the Washington Post reported. (Related: State Department Draft Environmental Report Says Keystone XL Effects on Both Climate Change and Oil Supply Would Be Minimal)

They contended that tribes had not been consulted as the report stated they had, and took issue with the report’s assessment that the pipeline would have little to no impact on climate change. (Related: Exaggerated Consultation Claims, Factual Errors in State Department's Keystone XL Environment Report Rankle Natives)

“The standard for consultation with indigenous nations is described as ‘government to government,’ and that standard must not be treated lightly,” said Jennifer Baker, a Denver-based attorney who works with the Great Plains tribes, to Native News Network after the chiefs’ walkout. “The duty to engage with tribes in this manner stems from treaties and the constitution, and it has been expanded upon through court decisions and executive orders.”

Consultation or no, the Native leaders who left the meeting issued a statement objecting on multiple grounds.

“On this historic day of May 16, 2013, ten sovereign Indigenous nations maintain that the proposed TransCanada/Keystone XL pipeline does not serve the national interest and in fact would be detrimental not only to the collected sovereigns but all future generations on planet earth. This morning the following sovereigns informed the Department of State Tribal Consultation effort at the Hilton Garden Inn in Rapid City, SD, that the gathering was not recognized as a valid consultation on a ‘nation to nation’ level,” they said.

The chiefs who walked out were the Southern Ponca, Pawnee Nation, Nez Perce Nation, and members of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires People), including Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Ihanktonwan Dakota (Yankton Sioux), Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Standing Rock Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.

“Eventually all remaining tribal representatives and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers left the meeting at the direct urging of the grassroots organization Owe Aku,” the chiefs said in their statement. “Owe Aku, Moccasins on the Ground, and Protect the Sacred are preparing communities to resist the Keystone XL pipeline through Keystone Blockade Training.”

Elaine Dixon (17)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 7:37 pm
thanks for sharing

Sue Matheson (79)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 8:19 pm

JL A (281)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 8:46 pm
I hope this provides the legal quagmire that forces a less biased decision-making process.

Cher C (1426)
Sunday May 19, 2013, 8:16 am

Thnx for posting hun!


roxy H (350)
Sunday May 19, 2013, 4:49 pm
Thanks for your Support of IDLE NO MORE!

roxy H (350)
Sunday May 19, 2013, 4:51 pm
I had posted this about 4 times on my news thread

Kim O (396)
Sunday May 19, 2013, 6:26 pm
Great news the tribes are holding their ground!! Disregard the fluff and go straight to the President. Thanks for the news, Angelika!

Mandy A (86)
Sunday May 19, 2013, 10:09 pm
people need to start helping and supporting the tribes, they should not be the only ones standing up against this keystone xl, its a shame no one else has any balls in this country

Angelika R (143)
Monday May 20, 2013, 8:11 am
Mandy, I assume there are actually MANY who help in their own ways which in most cases however, is not by feet on the ground, in the field. This IS a pity and a shame, true. The more we all honor the tremendous priceless work you people do for it! Thank you!

Jo S (619)
Monday May 20, 2013, 8:27 am
Bravo to the Elders and the Chiefs! They are showing more of a, stand tall, we are not going to take this, attitude than we are. We should be ashamed of ourselves and follow in the footsteps of our brave first settlers. After all who is showing who, who is wiser! We should form an alliance with them to take on Keystone, if they will have us.
Thanks Angie.
Noted & shared.

Sheryl G (359)
Monday May 20, 2013, 1:34 pm
Good for them no to give dignity to that which is offering no respect nor is dignified. As Chiefs, they should be able to meet with the other Commander in Chief. If things were working in balance that would be without even question.

David C (80)
Monday May 20, 2013, 2:06 pm
good for we just need Mr. Obama, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Harper, et all to listen....unfortunately, not too optimistic

S J (124)
Monday May 20, 2013, 2:17 pm
Thanks for sharing, Angelika.

Mike M (40)
Monday May 20, 2013, 2:18 pm
I am glad the native people of this country still hold to their beliefs and again stand against the destruction of mother earth

Angelika R (143)
Monday May 20, 2013, 2:34 pm
Mike, if they don't who will? The whole country owes huge thanks to the first Nations and Idle No More! They sure could use some more support from the brave !

Angelika R (143)
Monday May 20, 2013, 2:37 pm
I actually don't deserve the credit for this post because as roxy stated above, she has posted this story several times from different sources previous to me. Unfortunately her posts didn't get the deserved attention.(yet, you can still catch up!)

Ruth R (246)
Monday May 20, 2013, 2:43 pm
"The state department received more than a million public comments by the April 22 deadline, which was coincidentally Earth Day, most of them against the project. (Related: Anti-Keystone XL Tribal Members Urge Fellow Natives to Comment on Environmental Impact Statement)"

Angelika R (143)
Monday May 20, 2013, 2:52 pm
Not sure if Ruth's comment is meant to counter my critique above,-I was not speaking of any online actions with it
As for the millions of comments, don't expect DOS reading them, certainly not all. There were many reports out after the first public comments action in 2010 quoting DoS " the department has access to them", after being asked if they READ and consider them. The questions were asked after other reports leaked that DoS does NOT take notice of the public comments submitted to them.

Laurie H (818)
Monday May 20, 2013, 7:05 pm
The Chiefs are honoring that which they believe in, I sure hope the decision makers, will rise to this challenge as well!!! Thanks So Much Angelika~~~

Robert K (31)
Tuesday May 21, 2013, 8:17 am
Once again the tribes prove more in tune with nature and reality than those who stole their land.

Corporate profits should NEVER be given domain over the health of people. "It is esier fir a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to Heaven."

The late Alvin Lee "Tax the rich, feed the poor til there are no rich no more."

The greed of the few should never trump the needs of the many.

When (not if) there is a major spill of the extremely corrosive tar sands oil threatening to destroy the Ogalalla Aquifer denying safe water to 30 or 40 million people does anyone actually believe the corporations will make water available at current prices to the people who become endangered? Fat chance.

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday May 21, 2013, 10:23 am
Decisionmakers just got a fresh reminder from Oklahoma, how many more disasters will it take to come to senses, the US will go bankrupt over disaster relief expenses before they know it, even immediate policy change, including disapproval of that death bearing pipeline might just avoid the very worst but cannot prevent more horrible weather occurrences inevitable to come, for sure.

Jamie Clemons (282)
Tuesday May 21, 2013, 1:43 pm
Good! They should walk out on this sham meeting.

Katie K (70)
Tuesday May 21, 2013, 1:44 pm
If we had went the way of the Indians that respect Mother Earth we would all be in a better place. Glad for this post since no one hardly ever mentions these wonderful Human Beings. It's almost like "they" try to make it seem they never existed except in books and movies. Hoping things are changing.

linda Finch (0)
Tuesday May 21, 2013, 1:55 pm
Thanks..many people walk the red path, it's a rainbow path, as you know. Challenge us forward!

Birgit W (160)
Tuesday May 21, 2013, 3:14 pm
Thanks for the article.

Debra Tate (17)
Tuesday May 21, 2013, 4:01 pm
Got to love the American Indians!

Judith Hand (55)
Tuesday May 21, 2013, 6:48 pm
Noted. Wow! I hope that President Obama takes them up on their request to meet with him.

R T (14)
Wednesday May 22, 2013, 1:47 am
These are the WISE-MEN.
We should listen to them and follow their examples and our world would be a much better place. They have always understood and respected the environment and its inhabitants.
Often labeled as savages by the white people in the past yet it's the white people that have done nothing but savage every thing it could lay it's hands on and still continues to savage the environment even when we can see the damage we are doing. Who are the savages now?
As has been said in other posts we need to align ourselves with the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association.

. (0)
Wednesday May 22, 2013, 7:35 am
That's terrible! They should sit down and work things out instead of walking out.

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday May 22, 2013, 7:45 am
No Laura, you are wrong on this. If president Obama were to hold bilateral talks on important state matters with another nation and would be presented with some subordinate instaed head of state, do you think he would be satisfied and proceed with the negotiations? Certainly NOT:

Michael M (60)
Saturday May 25, 2013, 10:00 am
I remember someone standing up in a Federal meeting about the continued damming and killing of salmon and its effects.
Because leaders of a sovereign nation had just spoken, that person said: "These people should not be having to talk to you, but instead should be directing your actions, or at least speaking to the leaders of your nation"
Or words to that exact effect.
I believe this to be true, and the governments of Canada and US have to wake up to this.

Michael M (60)
Saturday May 25, 2013, 10:13 am
Anjelika, the feds generally have a staffer bundle the comments into yes and no, and sometimes distinguish scientific opinion (documented and submitted in a different manner), and by law have to include the statistical opinions of the public in decisionmaking.

DOS may operate under a different rule, but because EPA ad other government agencies dealing with US/International relations, all comments relating to international concerns can have decisive effect.

In early US and i recent administrations, citizen concerns have been overrun by preestablished policy, but this movement is rather large, and the repercussions may become daunting to this single economic policy decision.

In passing we notice that even a Democratic Senator of a state is pro-pipeline. Such departure of different states o the issue is or should be grave concern to the federal government.
I have barely touched on the complexity of this issue, but I hope you'll look deeper into the forces (think world opinion as well as a world contending for oil) affecting such ramming-through of poisons, and how it may shake the foundations of this corporate-government empire. They know that.

Michael M (60)
Saturday May 25, 2013, 10:22 am
I'd realy like to leave this page.

Indigenous nations have a certain status in US law. BIA is the method through which they must go to the feds.
I think they are called dependent internal nations, and are looked upon as less valid, as this culture looks at what can be called "Oyate" - a large extended family, and has long denied de facto nationhood to these soveriegn peoples.

We have, though, 10 Plains nations here. in the particular meeting.

It would certainly be GOOD for the 22 million care2 members to support the validity of these oppressed and diplomatic nations in their quest for a voice in their land, world, health.

Will you all follow Anjelika, others here like Dandelion, Roxie, Mandy, to work to create a better way?

Angelika R (143)
Saturday May 25, 2013, 12:35 pm
Michael, I do think that the vast majority here on C2 has recognised the importance and each are doing their best to work towards that goal.

Michael M (60)
Saturday May 25, 2013, 3:31 pm
Anjelika, what I mean is looking at the world in a far different manner, wherein governments need to be of the people, and far, far more ethical and strongly moral-hearted in every decision.

22 million people and one can add up the news readers to find only a few hundred.

Although care2 is regarded as a social website, it is far far different in intent than those which create quasi-community for personal validation.
Rather contrary to this ethic, care2 first asks why one joins: not if, but what, human, environmental, or world causes would each member value. That or those causes are then displayed, on their page.

I realize that perhaps most of the 20 million plus now use iphones, and cannot involve themselves deeply in discussion or development, and to them I addressed my comment..

Sergio Padilla (65)
Wednesday June 5, 2013, 12:15 pm
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