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Lakota Country Times: Rosebud Sioux Tribe upset by Keystone Pipeline spill

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe set up the Oyate Wahacanka Woecun (Shield The People) prayer camp in South Dakota to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline. The original Keystone Pipeline continues to operate on treaty territory and was responsible for another spill. Photo from Facebook

Rosebud Responds to Keystone Spill
By Vi Waln
Lakota Country Times Correspondent

ROSEBUD – Members of a clean-up crew, many dressed in hazmat style suits, remain onsite and continue to move soil contaminated by up this month’s 16,000-plus gallon oil spill from an underground ruptured oil pipeline near Freeman, South Dakota.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe issued a press release in response to the ruptured pipeline. The tribe stated they have been “involved in the opposition of Keystone pipeline since the project began over 9 years ago. In 2008 in collaboration with the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Yankton Sioux Tribe, Santee Sioux Tribes a lawsuit was filed in federal court regarding the project. The tribal efforts at the judicial level were fruitless.”

At that time, the Tribes’ “collective voice addressed the violations of tribal treaty and sovereignty regarding cultural resources within the aboriginal homelands of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations. Rosebud Sioux Tribe as a signatory band to the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, maintains our right to protect our cultural, historic and burial sites; emphasizing the protection of the water and our people within those boundaries.”

The press release also stated that “the spill in Hutchinson County, South Dakota has confirmed our fears. We are concerned with the carcinogen contamination of the land and water, including Benzene which would flow to private wells; public water supplies and ground water. Detection methods were not adequate, any amount of contamination in the land is too great and is unacceptable. Extractive industries must be held accountable with transparent reports regarding the cleanup and monitoring of long term effects.

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“Communication of the agencies involved with those industries must be clarified and most importantly include Tribal consultation in the forefront. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission is the office charged with public domain projects and approved this project in 2008. The Keystone proponents made numerous assertions that the pipeline was safe and any spill would be immediately detected. The lack of adequate spill response measures results in 16,800 gallons to contaminate the land as reported by the company.

“The identified government to government relationship is bound by our treaties, which are the supreme law of the land. We will continue to oppose any attack on Unci Maka (Mother Earth) and any threats to our people. We stand behind other member nations in their opposition to another threat - the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) which would affect any person who utilizes the Missouri River for drinking water, agricultural or other uses.

“In our conversations with those nations, we have agreed that our first step as always in our way of life is to pray.”

For more information, please contact William Kindle, President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe at (605) 747-2381. You may also contact Paula Antoine, Director of the Sicangu Oyate Land Office, at (605) 828-0740 or Russell Eagle Bear, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at (605) 441-9884.

Related Stories:
Lakota Country Times: Company downplays extent of Keystone leak (4/15)

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