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Cowboys and Indians unite on Capitol Hill in Keystone protest

America’s ranchers and indigenous people descend on Washington to persuade Obama to reject polluting pipeline

Source: Jamie Henn

Source: Jamie Henn

By Sophie Yeo

Cowboys and Indians united today in protest against the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, leading to some rather peculiar sites on Washington’s Capitol Hill. 

The 40-person ceremonial ride was made up of indigenous leaders and ranchers who live along the proposed route of the controversial $5.2 billion pipeline, which would ship oil from Canada to the Gulf coast.

A sea of feathered headgear and spangled footwear rolled down from the Capitol in to the National Mall towards a ceremonial encampment of 30 tipis, as protesters from Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas sought to convince President Obama to sound the death knell for the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

The march was the first instalment of a week-long protest by the Cowboy Indian Alliance, who say that the pipeline will negatively impact their land and water supply, as well as exacerbate the problem of climate change, as it pumps around 35 million gallons of oil a day from the Canadian tar sands down to the US Gulf Coast.

The actions will continue all week, including traditional water ceremonies, an unspecified act of civil disobedience, and a “traditional ceremony praying that the Secretary [John Kerry] listen to his conscience and the science and reject Keystone XL,” according to the schedule. A march on Saturday is expected to attract around 5,000 participants.

Faith Spotted Eagle from the Yankton Sioux said: “We are writing a new history by standing on common ground by preventing the black snake of Keystone XL from risking our land and water. We have thousands of Native sacred sites that will be affected adversely.”

The five-year saga over whether or not President Obama should approve the Keystone Pipeline now looks set to continue beyond the 2014 midterm elections, with the State Department announcing yet another delay to the final decision last week due to an ongoing lawsuit in Nebraska.

Bill McKibben, founder of campaign group 350.org, said: “It was native people and Nebraska ranchers that really started this battle, and so it’s so fitting that they’re the ones leading this last appeal to the president to do the right thing.

“We’ve gone wrong in this country before when we didn’t listen to its original inhabitants; let’s hope Keystone becomes the opportunity to show we’re wising up.”

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  • dragon997

    There are many comments on other pages which totally reinforced the blatant disregard of life, lives and the sources that support same. It seems that a vast majority of people condone murder, oppression, and abuse for the color and smell of money and or the promise of same. Some even say vote Republican this November. Some even spurt their disdain for Arabs/Muslims.
    For as long as humanity and so call development has been in existence we have defiled, corrupt, and destroyed one another the environment and the earth causing chaos and destruction not only to ourselves but to others and the country we live in. Rome, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Ethiopia and the list continues, they all have experienced same, [so call call rise and then Downfall} why?
    Why hasn't Mankind learned from our past ancestors huge mistakes? why have we continued to lie to ourselves and others destroying all that is good? why can't we learned to grow and develop with out this hatred of life and this urge to destroy? why do we continue to take what is not truly ours and claim it for our own creating genocide and pain as we go? Why do we constantly fight to show we have a facade of so call power when none of us have same?
    We were all born/created meeting everything that is here, we are all interdependent on everyone and everything. We did not bring anything with us other than our soul,and spirit, even our physical body is a loan it does not belong to us. When the destined time comes for us to pass from this journey and consciousness the physical goes whether it is burned or buried, it does not remain with us, neither does anything we gather here and call our own. Jobs, money, bills, so call fame etc, all is passed from us and we are made to answer and pay for all wrong and misdeeds before going to the next level of consciousness what we do and learn here determines our real outcome.
    so why can't we learn to do it the right way [live the right way] this time? Instead of destruction lets build, build to preserve and move to the next enlightenment.
    For this time its no joke No-one would be saving us “Man will destroy themselves” and the world as we know it.