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Tribes Present Accord in Opposition to Keystone XL

December 1, 2011

We try to keep it local here at the Tar Sands Pipelines blog, but today at the National Press Club in DC, tribes from Canada and the US will present an accord they’ve signed in opposition to Keystone XL.  Intertribal Council on Utility Policy President and Plains Justice board member Pat Spears will be one of the speakers (Hoka hey Pat!).

American and Canadian Tribal Leaders to Present Accord Opposing Keystone XL Pipeline to White House

Where: The National Press Club located at 529 15th St, NW, Bloomberg Room

When: Thursday, December 1, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

What: Native American and First Nations leaders will outline ongoing concerns regarding the effects on tribal nations of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. The XL Pipeline threatens tribal water quality, public health, and cultural preservation in both the United States and Canada.

The press conference will be held surrounding the White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, DC which tribal leaders from across Indian Country are attending. During the press conference tribal leaders and advocates will review the steps being taken to communicate opposition of the project to the federal government and the Obama Administration during this week’s events.

This event will feature the following speakers:

–        Moderator – Jacqueline Johnson Pata, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians

–        President John Steele of the Oglala Sioux Nation (South Dakota)

–        Bill Erasmus, Dene National Chief (Canada) Regional Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief-North West Territories

–        Pat Spears, President of the Intertribal Council On Utility Policy (COUP) and former Chairman of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe

–        Tantoo Cardinal, Native activist and actor

Background: President Obama, who responded to overwhelming pressure from escalating protests across the country, recently delayed a decision on whether to issue a permit for the XL tar sands pipeline, which would stretch 1700-miles from Canada to the Texas Gulf coast, and would pass through multiple states including South Dakota crossing a number of tribal nations territories.

Tribal leaders who have signed the “Mother Earth Accord” – including signatories from American Indian tribes and Canadian First Nations – intend to present the accord to the Obama Administration and department agency heads during the week of meetings.

This Accord outlines unique US Tribal and First Nations concerns over Keystone XL, such as lack of consultation with US tribes, the threat to tribal water supplies, and cultural resources and treaty rights violations; most notably the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. The Mother Earth Accord, developed this past September during a at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Emergency Summit, has been endorsed by Canadian First Nations, US Tribes, private landowners, private citizens, environmental NGO’s, Indigenous peoples organizations and political parties including the New Democratic Party of Canada, the official opposition of the federal Canadian Government.



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