Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: An honest appraisal of tribal-state relations

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn. Photo by Arizona State University Department of Archives and Special Collections

A dismal view of history, but an honest appraisal
By Elizabeth Cook-Lynn

I remember Rosalie Little Thunder, co-founder of the Buffalo Field Campaign talking about The Buffalo as “a Keystone Species.” She understood the Buffalo as “the Keystone of the Northern Plains Ecosystem,” the foundation for sustained life on this Earth, and she mourned the killing of this animal done by Europeans as they settled here.

Those of us who honor this kind of knowledge see the proponents of the controversial oil pipeline using that same term (the Keystone XL Pipeline) for this most destructive modern project know it is not only an insult to Rosalie’s memory and to all our tribes, but believe it to be a final destruction of our own watershed. Once we let that happen, life cannot be sustained.

As an inveterate letter writer and as I remembered Rosalie’s words, I read with much interest Bob Mercer’s “opinion” piece called “Keystone XL debate shows our differences” in the RC Journal 1/10/16. He took on, in his article, this complex issue which will probably not be decided by those who understand Rosalie’s legacy.

Mercer is one of the few editorial commentators who make it worthwhile for a newspaper to give up some 20-30 inches on their sacred pages to hear what he has to say. Speaking for his settler ancestors, he admits that in one generation the stealing of Sioux treaty lands (he calls it a “taking”) was accomplished and he ends by saying “we are what we are.” A dismal view of history, perhaps, but an honest appraisal. He believes that “taking” is what has ailed South Dakota for more than 126 years and probably will forever undercut our “ability to live together.”

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: A dismal view of history, but an honest appraisal

(Elizabeth Cook-Lynn can be reached at ecooklynn@gmail.com)

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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