Calling the U.S. House of Representatives’ November 14 vote for the Keystone XL pipeline an “act of war,” the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) has vowed to block the project from crossing its lands.
“The House has now signed our death warrants and the death warrants of our children and grandchildren. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe will not allow this pipeline through our lands,” said Rosebud Sioux President Cyril Scott in a statement. “We are outraged at the lack of intergovernmental cooperation. We are a sovereign nation, and we are not being treated as such. We will close our reservation borders to Keystone XL. Authorizing Keystone XL is an act of war against our people.”
The House voted 252-161 on Friday November 14 to pass legislation that would force the $8 billion TransCanada pipeline project to move forward. The Senate is scheduled to take up the debate and vote on Tuesday November 18.
President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the measure even if it passes the full Congress, especially given that the matter is still under review by the U.S. Department of State and the Department of the Interior.
The Rosebud Sioux and other Great Sioux Nation member tribes have had resolutions against Keystone XL in place since last February of this year, according to the Rosebud Sioux statement. The tribe also noted that the 1,700-mile-long pipeline’s proposed route traverses lands covered by the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties, as well as crossing the borders of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation and Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.
“Act of war means that we’re going to have to take legal maneuvers now,” Scott told the New York Daily News. “We’re going to protect our land and our way of life.”
It is a matter of guarding the future, said Scott, who was in New York City for the People’s Climate March in September.
“We feel it is imperative that we provide safe and responsible alternative energy resources not only to tribal members but to non-tribal members as well,” Scott said in the Rosebud Sioux statement, which was posted on the Bold Nebraska website. “We need to stop focusing and investing in risky fossil fuel projects like TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. We need to start remembering that the earth is our mother and stop polluting her and start taking steps to preserve the land, water, and our grandchildren’s future.”
He also reaffirmed and explained tribal sovereignty.
People forget that we’re a sovereign nation,” Scott told the Daily News. “Everybody else … they’re just guests here.”