December 01, 2011

Natives endorse Mother Earth Accord

Indigenous Action on Anti-Pipeline Front

By Rob CapricciosoIndigenous leaders in the United States and Canada have taken their latest steps in a string of well-choreographed actions against potentially-destructive oil pipeline developments in both countries that pose harm to Native culture and land.

The latest day of action for Indians in the U.S. opposed to the development of the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline through Indian country came December 1 when a group of Natives gathered at the National Press Club to reiterate their concerns. There, they presented their support for a “Mother Earth Accord,” which includes signatories from American Indian tribes and Canadian First Nations.

They vowed to present the document to the White House and Obama administration agency heads later in the week, saying that it is important for the administration to truly understand the unique Native American issues involving the project.

The document highlights indigenous trepidations over the pipeline, including a lack of meaningful federal consultation with tribes–required under the U.S.-supported U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples–the threat to tribal water supplies, including the Ogallala Aquifer, and cultural resources and treaty rights violations, especially the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. The Mother Earth Accord was developed in September during a Rosebud Sioux tribal summit.
Comment:  The battle has moved to Canada, where the company has proposed an alternative pipeline that would carry oil from Alberta to the West Coast. British Columbia's tribes are opposing the pipeline's going through their land.

Meanwhile, the Keystone XL pipeline is merely on hold until after the 2012 election, not dead. If it's still a feasible option then, I wouldn't bet a lot of money on Obama's canceling it. He often bends to the wishes of big business.

For more on the subject, see Keystone XL Pipeline Halted and Report Backs Controversial Oil Pipeline.

Below:  "Oglala Sioux Nation President John Steele, flanked by indigenous leaders, addresses Indian concerns over Keystone XL on December 1 at the National Press Club in Washington." (Clayton Thomas-Muller)

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