Continuing to build resistance on the Northern Plains, the Santee Sioux are hosting a teach in about the Tar Sands and the Keystone Xl on May 7th. Visit the Owe Aku website for more information!
The following was written by Nancy Zorn, 79 year old grandmother of 10, resident of Oklahoma, who locked her neck to equipment yesterday on KXL construction site in Allen, OK.
I stand in solidarity with the earth, first of all, that was venerated by ancient people as the body of the goddess and is viewed as sacred today by many, called Mother Earth. It is the earth that provides the cradle for our birth and nourishes us throughout life. As it is necessary to our lives, exploiting its resources beyond its tolerance is suicidal. We are raping the earth, and it is calling out in agony. Tar sands extraction requires mining more soil than was used in building the Great Pyramid and the Suez Canal of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, and the ten largest dams in the world. All this dirt comes from Canada’s Boreal Forest, the rain forest of North America as large as the State of Florida, filled with massive trees that are nesting grounds for migrating birds around the world and home to many threatened species. These trees, that are nature’s best method of storing carbon, must be cut down, releasing the carbon and raising CO2 levels and global temperatures. Scientists say continued tar sands development will create a climate we can hardly imagine.
When the trees are cut down, mining can begin. This is an extremely energy intensive process. It is an extremely water intensive process. On-going operations in Canada use enough natural gas to heat over 3 million homes. The water becomes so toxic it often can’t be recycled and must be stored in ponds so large they can be seen from space, devastating the health of local populations. Once mined, the thick bitumen has to be diluted and forced through specially constructed pipes. One pipeline now in use ruptured 14 times during 2010, pouring oil onto farmland and polluting ground water with sulfur, nickel, lead and other neurotoxic metals. Even when lines don’t rupture, they often leak at joints because of corrosive and abrasive properties in the oil, and such leaks go undetected for long periods in our ranches and prairies. Tar sands oil is not normal crude. The calamity in the Kalamazoo River July of 2010 in Michian still defies cleanup efforts because oil sinks to the bottom. The river is toxic and uninhabitable for any life to this day. Now there is the spill in Arkansas. Will Oklahoma be next? The same kind of pipeline is slated to cross major aquifers in Payne, Lincoln, Seminole, Hughes, Atoka, Coal and Bryan counties.
Next I stand in solidarity with Native Americans everywhere, especially in Canada, where the vast toxic ponds are causing acid rain, polluting fresh water, and elevating levels of cancer. I would be proud to stand with Lakota Grandmothers, the heart of resistance to the destruction of their people. Many Lakota Indians live on Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, surrounded by abandoned open pit uranium mines that prompted President Nixon to declare the region a “National Sacrifice Area”. Yet here they live to this day, 97% below the poverty line, with health statistics astonishingly worse than the U.S. Average, and a life expectancy of 44 years. These Grandmothers, including a survivor from the 1973 battle at Wounded Knee, work to reestablish a matriarchal culture that viewed the earth as sacred, but face retaliation for efforts to end the corruption, poverty, trafficking of drugs, and hopelessness that accompany forced assimilation into the American lifestyle. Also in the Dakotas are the Cheyenne river Indians and others in extreme poverty suffering more than any of us from increased air, water, and soil pollution. I stand in support of Idle No More, a Native American group consolidating power and protest in many states. Finally, there is the Cree Indian prophecy, which inspired Greenpeace. “There will come a time when the Earth grows sick and when it does, a tribe will gather from all the cultures of the world who believe in deeds and not words. They will work to heal it… they will be known as the “warriors of the Rainbow”. Scientists estimate that burning more than 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide risks catastrophe for life on earth. Energy corporations now have five times that amount in their reserves and will burn it all unless we stop them. The time for speculation and debate is over. I hope this one small action today will inspire many to become warriors of the rainbow. The earth needs us all.
From Earth First! News Wire
On the Red Lake sovereign nation land located in what is today known as northern Minnesota, an occupation has started at a location above the Enbridge-owned pipeline built without permission of the Red Lake Nation in 1949 (hashtag #RLblockade). Already a helicopter from Enbridge briefly landed next to the site (video), near the town of Leonard.
It is expected if the occupation proceeds for three days, the flow of oil – which may include controversial tar sands bitumen extracted from Alberta, Canada – will have to be shut down. The 72-hour countdown has started around roughly 3PM Thursday.
Supporters have been invited onto the site by tribal members to support the blockade, and currently volunteer media from the new UneditedMedia collective, TC Indymedia & [informally] OccupyMN are on site. Internet access appears stable enough for @uneditedcamera to periodically livestream as the camp takes shape for the long haul, also aided by mild weather. Also @samRichards10 and Robert DesJarlait (@r_desjarlait) are providing updates. Desjarlait tweeted “This isn’t a blockade, as some have reported. There is nothing to block. It is a non-confrontational protest.” However, it does have potential consequences akin to that created by a blockade.
Additionally it appears that Enbridge recently scrubbed some content pertaining to controversial “Line 67″ from their website. With the dangerous Transcanada Keystone XL pipeline intend for tar sands bitumen mired in political controversy, the prospects for extending the capacity of Line 67, are relevant to the situation. (There are several public hearings in the region scheduled on Line 67 in coming weeks.)
(The following is an article written by our friend and ally from Philadelphia. She recently attended the “Forward on Climate” in Washington D.C., and offers some insightful and challenging analysis to the climate movement. Enjoy!)
Climate Exceptionalism and the Forward on Climate Rally
As I’m helping organize buses to the 350.org “Forward on Climate” rally in D.C., I can’t but feel deep reservations about it. A recent article by 350’s President, Bill McKibben, has hung in my mind because it encapsulates the hope and power of 350’s campaign, as well and the ignorance of movement history and endemic elitism that pervades some parts of mainstream climate organizing. McKibben treats climate work as a completely exceptional case, as more urgent than other work for justice, and in the process sabotages the possibility of fostering a real movement.
Rather than seeing climate activism as part of broader struggles against domination of the many by the few (i.e. the Left), McKibben frames it as a completely separate thing. It’s “the greatest problem we’ve ever faced. It’s not a fight, like education reform or abortion or gay marriage, between conflicting groups with conflicting opinions.” Everyone should work on nothing except climate change because, essentially, everything else can wait. This is climate exceptionalism, the idea that climate work is separate from and above other work for justice. Such a claim to some trophy for “most urgent issue” is dismissive toward movements all over the globe fighting for basic survival and dignity, and for other desperately needed structural change. But the question to be asking is not whether climate change is actually worse than genocide or wars or prisons or the systematic exploitation of most of the world’s people for profit, but why do we even need to compare and rank the problems? Would climate change be less of a problem if we decided genocide was actually worse? Would we be closer to overcoming either of them? What does it accomplish other than give people working on climate change a sense of unjustified superiority over other movements?
To read the rest of the article, click here
TransCanada appears to be selectively distributing its funds into First Nations communities with its recent “partnership” in the Indspire Awards (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards) and its Platinum “sponsorship” of the upcoming Thundering Hills Powwow on July 5, 6, & 7th hosted by the Nekaneet First Nation.
Could TransCanada be seeking to stifle Indigenous communities’ opposition to the Tar Sands and the XL pipeline?
TransCanada is the Canadian oil and gas company behind the purposed XL pipeline that would bring Tar Sands oil from Alberta to Texas crossing First Nation and Tribal communities along the way. Opposition to the Tar Sands and the XL pipeline has been strong from various grassroots Indigenous communities and environmental activists including a recent gathering of tribal Nations in Yankton to sign the “International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands and Keystone XL” and the 40,000 plus gathering of activists who descended on D.C. recently to call on President Obama to reject the XL pipeline.
We call on all Tribal Nations, to reject TransCanada’s attempts to “buy” support for its XL pipeline and other Tar Sands related projects. Projects that not only will cause significant damage to the very tribal communities it is “investing” in, but cause irreversible damage to our planet and first mother Maka Ina.
Let us reject major corporations that are causing reprehensible damage to our communities, homelands, health and welfare from funding powwows, award shows, or any other related activities or events. Call on the Nekaneet First Nation to drop TransCanada as its Platinum sponsor.