Rally and Round Dance at Oklahoma City Capitol Building!

We’re excited to have teamed up with Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth for today’s demonstration against the construction of the toxic KXL in Oklahoma! As of 1:30PM, 50+ people are rallying against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and the Tar Sands project in so-called “Alberta, CA” which is poisoning the watersheds and traditional lands indigenous people in the region rely on for survival.

Kechina Nelson, of the Lakota Nation and organizer with Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth:

“I want to fight against this because it would be so harmful to this beautiful land we call home. I want to protect this land so the older generations can pass on knowing that there is hope for a positive change and for my generation to make the right decisions and become a great people of the future. I also fight for the future generations, so that they can protect the earth and not abuse her, like the forefathers. We are different. We will make a change”.

Update 3:00PM: Folks have gone home, and are drying off from the rain! Thanks everyone for coming!

Update 2:30PM : Around 50 people continue to rally outside the capitol, despite the rain.

GPTSR rallies alongside members of Idle No More Central Oklahoma and Youth outside the Oklahoma Capitol.

GPTSR rallies alongside members of Idle No More Central Oklahoma and Youth outside the Oklahoma Capitol.

People rally at meeting point, 1:30PM.

People rally at meeting point, 1:30PM.

Press Release here, forward widely!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance hold Rally and Round Dance Against Toxic Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

Contact:
Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth: Kechina Nelson, 605-4070800
Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance: Betsy Catlin, 207-729-9262, gptsresistance@riseup.net or gptsrmedia@gmail.com
PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

Oklahoma City, OK: Idle No More Central Oklahoma’s Youth Group and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance are joining together for a demonstration and round dance against the construction of the toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, beginning at 1pm with a march from 16th and Lincoln and culminating with a rally and round dance at the State Capitol Building. This demonstration is on the heels of countless round dances and flash mobs that have emerged from the international Idle No More indigenous sovereignty movement, as well as direct actions along the pipeline route by grassroots coalitions such as GPTSR.

The groups oppose the Keystone XL on the basis of its environmental impacts, the high risk of a spill, and its role in facilitating the expansion of the Tar Sands project in “Alberta, Canada” which is poisoning indigenous communities and destroying their traditional lands.

Tar Sands infrastructure projects have met staunch resistance from indigenous and grassroots groups. In the colonial construct of “Canada,” the Unis’tot’en camp has been blockading the construction of natural gas and diluted bitumen (tar sands) pipelines through their traditional lands, and the Yinka Dene Alliance and signatories of the Save the Fraser Declaration have vowed to not allow Tar Sands infrastructure projects such as the Northern Gateway Pipeline through their lands. In late January, tribes and groups resisting tar sands infrastructure met at the Yankton reservation in “South Dakota” and signed the Declaration to Protect the Sacred, which amounts to a vow to resist the expansion of tar sands infrastructure through traditional lands.

“The reason why I/we INM Central Oklahoma Youth stand up and say no to tar sands pipe line is because I respect my mother earth. I want to take care of her as she has taken care of us/me,” said Kechina Nelson, an organizer with Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth. “I want to fight against this because it would be so harmful to this beautiful land we call home. I want to protect this land so the older generations can pass on knowing that there is hope for a positive change and for my generation to make the right decisions and become a great people of the future. I also fight for the future generations, so that they can protect the earth and not abuse her, like the forefathers. We are different. We will make a change”.

Idle No More Central Oklahoma has been building the Idle No More movement locally since its inception, with the formation of a youth group earlier this year marking a new and important chapter in the local movement’s history. Numerous round dances and much community work have been at the forefront of the movement’s visibility in the public.

Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance—a coalition of grassroots groups dedicated to resisting the expansion of Tar Sands infrastructure in the Great Plains—is having an action camp March 18th-22nd to share skills for building blockades and running a resistance campaign.

In February, GPTSR launched two direct actions. On February 4th, Norman resident Elizabeth Leja locked herself to an excavator being used to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline through Oklahoma. On February 11th, Oklahoma City youth pastor Stefan Warner ascended a side-boom used for laying pipe and locked himself to it. Both actions are a part of a wave of resistance to tar sands infrastructure.

Utah ‘Idle No More’ in tar sands battle

From Wagingnonviolence.org

On Feb. 21, 150 people took over the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City with drumming, singing and dancing. Staff and state troopers watched sternly from above, leaning on the second story railings, as drum beats and chanting echoed to the lofty ceiling. Then, Francois Paulette — an indigenous elder and activist from Canada’s Athabasca region in Northern Alberta — stepped forward with a megaphone that filled the building with his soft-spoken voice as he declared, “If you begin to exploit those tar sands, in a very short time you’re going to ruin your history, your children, your future, and live with that every day.”

Paulette should know. His home is downstream from Canada’s vast tar sands mines, and he has seen high rates of unusual cancers plague the local indigenous communities. He now fears the same will happen in Utah, where the first U.S. tar sands mine may open later this year. That is why Paulette came to Salt Lake City to share his years of firsthand experience working to stop the tar sands mines of Athabasca with the soon-to-be impacted communities of Utah.

The event at the capitol building was organized under the banner of the Idle No More movement, which sprang into action in Canada several months ago as a response to the Harper government’s continued abuse of indigenous rights and environmental protections. Holding flash mobs where people drum, dance and sing has become the movement’s signature form of protest, spreading the call for indigenous rights around the world in the process.

Through Idle No More, many of the communities experiencing the most extreme environmental injustice are demanding their rights be recognized and upheld. While many indigenous communities have never relented in this struggle, Idle No More has amplified the environmental justice movement’s voice and attracted more participants.
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Gunfire, Drumming & Singing Mark Wounded Knee 40 Year Anniversary

From Warrior Publications
by Kristi Eaton, Associated Press, Feb 28, 2013
Armed participants at the 40th anniversary of Wounded Knee.

Armed participants at the 40th anniversary of Wounded Knee.

WOUNDED KNEE, S.D. — A Pine Ridge Indian Reservation resident who found herself in the middle of the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation said Wednesday amid ceremonial gunfire and chants that little has changed since the fatal standoff.

Faith White Dress was on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation 40 years ago when about 200 members of the American Indian Movement and their supporters huddled in houses, some with guns, to protest alleged corruption within the tribal government. Two Native Americans were killed, an activist went missing and a federal agent was wounded.

White Dress and others gathered Wednesday to remember the fatal 71-day standoff. During gunfire to mark the anniversary of the start of the occupation, she said the Oglala Sioux Tribe is still struggling.

“Unemployment is so high and the oppression is still so bad,” she said. “I don’t think it’s going to take violence. It’s going to take a gathering to determine how to bring jobs here. We need libraries. We need more of our children to have a better future.”

Hundreds of people walked from nearby villages to the site of the occupation, drumming and chanting. Once at the site, the same place where in 1890 soldiers slaughtered an estimated 300 Native American men, women and children, AIM and their supporters continued to drum and chant and fire off gunshots into the air.

This year’s events include memorials for AIM’s charismatic leader, Russell Means, who died in October at age 72 after batting throat cancer. This is the first anniversary of the occupation since Means’ death.

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