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Lakota Grandmothers Stop Keystone Trucks

by: TullyFitz

Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 21:05:57 PM EST

("We must move past indecision to action. Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Beyond Vietnam - promoted by eli_beckerman)

Ten years ago, this blogger had the honor of spending several weeks among the Oglala Lakota at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. At the time, the Tokala Oyate (or "Kit Fox Society," which serve as contemporary tribal warriors) had physically occupied a section of Badlands National Park that 'overlaps' the Pine Ridge Reservation. The occupation occurred after the National Park Service proved unable to prevent the looting of bones from Lakota graves on a landform called the Stronghold Table. Through much of modern history, the Lakota people have displayed a willingness to put themselves at risk and physically intervene in instances of social injustice.

This week was no exception.

On Monday, residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation learned through social media contacts that enormous trucks loaded with oil pipeline components related the Keystone Pipeline/Canadian Tar Sands Project were headed towards the reservation and set to pass through the Oglala Tribal lands. "We did not know where the equipment was going, but we knew that these trucks were too huge, too heavy, and too dangerous to pass our roads. We thought the equipment may be going to the Tarsands oil mine, or other oil mines in Canada," Lakota matriarch Debra White Plume said.

TullyFitz :: Lakota Grandmothers Stop Keystone Trucks
The Lakota people have taken a very strong stand against the Keystone Pipeline, opposing both the pipeline (which is planned to skirt the northeast corner of the Reservation) as well as the controversial Tar Sands mining in Canada due to environmental concerns. The Oglala Sioux Trive and the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council (a coalition of area Sioux Tribes) have both passed legislation opposing the pipeline and have called for a moratorium on the tar sands oil mine as "destructive to water, Mother Earth, all animals and human beings."

Accordingly, as word spread that the trucks were headed to the Reservation, some six dozen residents converged on the town of Wanblee to physically block the trucks passage with their bodies.

As it turns out, the two trucks were "Treater Vessels," which are used in oil, gas and element separation in Tar Sands operations. Each truck weighed 115 tons, and they had not requested permission to utilize Reservation roads. The owner of the trucks, Totran, is a Canadian Corporation and claimed that they had been told to use this route by South Dakota state officials. Oglala Nation Vice-President Tom Poor Bear called state officials in Pierre, who confirmed that the State helped planned the route for the oversized vehicles.

The reason for using Pine Ridge roads?

To help Totran avoid $100,000 in oversize fees should they have to use South Dakota state roads. Instead, the state suggested that the heavy vehicles use the fragile BIA roads and avoid all fees - as well as responsibility for any damage to the poorly-funded Reservation roadways.

And so, on Monday afternoon, a confrontation was inevitable.

Many Americans remember a news image from 1989, where a lone protester in Tiananmen Square, Beijing (China) stood in defiance of a tank. No less heroic were two Lakota grandmothers, Renabelle Bad Cob Standing Bear - defiant in her wheelchair - and Marie Randal (in her 90s), standing on the roadway in Wanblee and bringing the two Tortran trucks and a dozen accompanying convoy vehicles to a dead stop.

The grandmothers were joined by more than 70 others, forming a human roadblock that rendered the trucks immobile for several hours. Others from Wanblee brought pots of soup, fry bread, cases of water, doughnuts, and coffee.

The trucks were too enormous to turn around. Tribal police eventually cleared most protesters, and arrested five who refused to leave; but they also escorted the trucks to nearest reservation border, forcing the trucks out onto South Dakota state highways and refusing them access to additional reservation roads. The five arrested were bailed out of jail with money collected by the crowd.

Here's to hoping that the American people will find the same degree of inner courage that the Lakota exhibit when it comes to standing for what they believe is right.

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LOL - Over 70 people crowded the street .... until the police showed up. - LOL (0.00 / 0)
Then all the Eli's in the group went on a Dunkin Donuts run . . .

This is too funny!

Obama Extends The Patriot Act

if you had one thousandth the courage (0.00 / 0)
of these people... then perhaps I'd be laughing with you.

[ Parent ]
Courage that's cute Eli . . . LOL [deep base like voice] -> "YOU DON'T KNOW THE MEANING OF THE WORD KID" - RRRR (0.00 / 0)
Courage: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.


Eli presents another BS argument.  Over 70 people showed up to block the road ... that is until the police showed up.  Then all of a sudden the "woo hoo" mob ran (except for 5 people).  Why did the rest take off?

If you ask me it's because fear set in.  Because the consequences of their actions were about to become very real.  

In other words they chickened out once "the police showed up".  My point stands.  

Obama Extends The Patriot Act

[ Parent ]
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