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Crow Creek Sioux man arrested as Senate rejects Keystone bill





Correction: Greg Grey Cloud is a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, not the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. He resides on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation.


Roll Call Video: Native American Tribe Protests Keystone Vote

Greg Grey Cloud, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, was arrested on Tuesday evening as the Senate rejected a bill to approve the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.

Grey Cloud was watching the proceedings from the Senate gallery and started singing loudly in the Lakota language as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) announced the tally on S.2280. The bill failed by a vote of 59-41 -- one vote short of the 60 it needed to pass the chamber.

Warren called for the Senate to come to order but Grey Cloud, who was wearing a headdress, did not stop singing. Other anti-Keystone activists started chanting and the U.S. Capitol Police came and cleared them from the gallery.

Grey Cloud "was knocked to the floor and pulled to the wall of the hallway," Roll Call reported. He was jailed for five hours and told to report to court on December 10, The Lakota Voice reported.

Grey Cloud gave a translation of the song to The Lakota Voice: "Grandfather look at me, I am standing here struggling, I am defending grandmother earth and I am chasing peace.”


Greg Grey Cloud is seen here with Jane Kleeb, another anti-Keystone XL activist, during a prayer service in Washington, D.C., in April. Photo by Jamie Henn / Bold Nebraska

Grey Cloud has been an outspoken opponent of the pipeline. He participated in the Cowboy Indian Alliance protest in Washington, D.C., in April, and vowed acts of civil disobedience in protest of the project.

“If you like to drink water, if you like your children not being harmed, if you don’t want your women being harmed, then say no to the pipeline,” Grey Cloud told McClatchy Newspapers in March.


Greg Grey Cloud burns sage outside the Washington, D.C., home of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana). Photo by John Zangas

On Monday, Grey Cloud and other activists placed a replica of the pipeline on the lawn of a Washington, D.C., home belonging to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana). She was pushing the Senate to approve the bill in hopes of bolstering her runoff campaign but was unable to convince enough Democrats to support her cause.

Some 14 Democrats did support the measure. The list included lawmakers who would otherwise be considered friendly to Indian Country --
Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who lost his re-election bid, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota), who is retiring at the end of the current session of Congress, stayed true to his word and voted against the measure. Tribes in the state are united in opposition to the pipeline -- the Rosebud Sioux Tribe has called its approval an "act of war" against its people.

Despite the bill's defeat, Republicans are vowing to bring the issue back in the next session of Congress, when they will be in control of the Senate. The House easily passed its version of the measure last Friday.

Get the Story:
Pipeline Fighter/Wica Agli Co-founder Pulled Out of Senate Chambers, Arrested (The Lakota Voice 11/19)
S.D. tribe: Keystone XL 'an act of war against our people' (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 11/19)
Native American willing to ‘spill my blood’ to stop Keystone XL (MSNBC 11/19)
Tribe President Set To Block Pipeline (KELO 11/19)
Democrats block Keystone pipeline, but GOP vows new fight when it takes over (The Washington Post 11/19)
Senate Defeats Bill on Keystone XL Pipeline in Narrow Vote (The New York Times 11/19)
Keystone Pipeline Pros, Cons and Steps to a Final Decision (The New York Times 11/19)
Nebraskans react to yet another political volley in Keystone XL saga (The Lincoln Journal Star 11/19)
Senate Democrats defeat bill to approve Keystone XL oil pipeline (AP 11/18)
Keystone XL: Mary Landrieu’s final indignity (The Washington Post 11/18)

Related Stories:
Rosebud Sioux Tribe slams House vote on Keystone XL Pipeline (11/17)
Obama dismisses claimed benefits from Keystone XL Pipeline (11/14)
House heads for vote on bill to approve Keystone XL Pipeline (11/13)
Republican lawmakers vow to approve Keystone XL Pipeline (11/11)