At least five Native Americans were arrested in South Dakota on Monday after a six-hour standoff that temporarily blockaded trucks from moving equipment thought to be destined for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Lakota activist Olowan Martinez told Raw Story that members of the tribe were working to obtain a restraining order that would allow them to confiscate any future shipments coming across Pine Ridge Indian land. The group opposes the pipeline because of health and environmental concerns.
“They arrested people for prohibiting the trucks from going through,” Martinez explained. “Five were arrested for disorderly conduct. They were let out on TR bond, which is just a temporary release. You know, it probably sent a chill down the spines of the XL transport people because they can’t just freely come through the territories unnoticed anymore.”
She said that activists expected the trucks to be accompanied by armed security the next time they came through.
“You got white racists, white men driving these trucks, probably armed and scared of any Indians,” Martinez remarked. “When the white man sees us and their fear overcomes them, they just don’t see one, they see ten, they see a hundred of us. I’m sure they will have more armed guards. We’ll see, though. We’re keeping our eyes out for them now and it’s not just this territory doing this anymore either,” adding that sister tribes were all taking steps to get restraining orders against future transports.
“The thing that could have stopped the arrests were if we had a restraining order against any and all transports involving the pipeline,” she explained. “Because once we have the restraining order, we can confiscate and we will confiscate the vehicles if we catch them here again.”
Activist Debra White Plume, who was arrested on Monday, told Censored News that the State of South Dakota had worked with the corporation’s office in Canada to create a route across the Pine Ridge Reservation in order to skirt weigh stations on the Interstate Highway System, which could have cost $50,000 for each of the two trucks.
“The truckers told us the corporation office from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and the State of South Dakota made a deal to save the truckers $50,000 per truck, there were two trucks, from having to pay $100,000,” Plume said. “They each carried a ‘treater vessel’ which is used to separate gas and oil and other elements. Each weighs 229,155 pounds, and is valued at $1,259,593, according to the papers we got from the truck drivers.”
Martinez called Keystone’s actions a “slap in the face of our elders and our future generations.”
“How dare them think they could come through our territory to go destroy our drinking water?” she said. “You know, we don’t want no part of it. And as far as I’m concerned, they shouldn’t be traveling on any part of any road.”
“America is built on stolen land and was built with stolen hands. XL Pipeline equipment, anything that has to do with the destruction of Unci Maka (Mother Earth), we don’t want any part of it. They need to stay out of our territory.”
Watch this video from NativeImpact, uploaded March 5, 2012.
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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