Faith Spotted Eagle addresses the Native Nations Rise rally at the White House in Washington, D.C.,
on March 10, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com / More
The controversial Keystone XL
Pipeline is back on the agenda thanks to President
Donald Trump, and
Faith Spotted Eagle, an elder from the Yankton
Sioux Tribe, has been there from the beginning.
Gyasi Ross, the editor at large for Indian Country Media Network, shares a 2015 interview with the grandmother who continues to lead the fight against the project:
Could you please give the readers a bit of background on you and also on the Braveheart Society? Why did this Society come about and what does it do?
Brave Heart Society is a 20 year old revived Dakota Society on the Ihanktonwan homelands. Originally this Society existed to take care of the dead and dying on the battlefield. We have done that actually in a NAGPRA case on our homelands in 1999-2000…Now, we do it symbolically by bringing back our people from emotional death suffered through the great impact of historical trauma. We call back their spirits so they can stand in full spirit and then began the journey home to their “hocoka” or center.We have revived many of our gender based traditional rites of passage for youth to find their rightful places in this world in a healthy manner. Our Society has the basic principles of a Dakota society that exists to bring balance where unbalance has occurred, to resolve conflict, preserve culture and language and assure a place for our grandchildren in the future. We refuse to replicate neo-capitalism and strive to not be oppressed by colonizing processes, including not taking federal funds. We have a 50 year strategic plan in order to accomplish that. In order to be on our governing board one has to be a grandmother—as we value wisdom and experience.
A lot of your recent focus has gone toward fighting man camps that spring up around these oil ventures and also toward fighting survivors of sexual violence. Is there a connection between those things—oil exploitation and sexual violence?
There is a correlation between sexual violence and oil development and beyond. History teaches us that during times of crisis, violence escalates. Hence, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek and Whitestone massacres in the 1800s and even in the 1970s. In 1974, there was a crisis in South Dakota with the second Wounded Knee incident whereby it became unsafe to travel in the bordertowns surrounding the reservations. Consequently I was in the company of five young Native students who were attacked by five non-Native males, and I had my leg broken—yes, my leg was broken. It sounds unreal, but racism continues to exist in this land, where the war against Natives never really ended.
Read More on the Story:
Native Grandmothers Defend Mother Earth: Faith Spotted Eagle Kicks SERIOUS Knowledge About Keystone XL
(Indian Country Media Network 4/4)
Sun News Today: Groups line up to fight Keystone XL permit (4/7)
Environmental Network challenges Keystone XL permit (4/4)
tribes granted role in Keystone XL pipeline review in Nebraska (4/3)
Sun News Today: Indian Country battles Keystone XL again (03/31)
Trump boasts about approvals for Dakota Access and Keystone XL (03/28)
Country mounts another fight after Donald Trump approves another pipeline
XL Pipeline route crosses Ponca Tribe's forced removal (3/23)
Tribe hosts 282-mile walk to retrace trail of forced removal (3/21)
Sun News Today: Tribes promise fight against Keystone XL (03/15)
Sun News Today: Tribes resume fight against Keystone XL permit in South
Peck Tribes seek Keystone XL reroute to protect water supply (03/01)
Sun News Today Editorial: Donald Trump ain't seen nothin' yet (02/03)
Colwell: Oil pipelines take economic toll on our cultural heritage (02/02)
Sun News Today: Tribes push back on Trump's pipeline orders (02/01)
Now: President Trump declares pipeline war on Indian Country (01/30)
Grijalva: Tribes ignored once again as President Trump pushes oil pipelines
push back as President Donald Trump revives unwanted pipelines (01/25)
blast President Trump for ignoring Native opposition to pipelines (01/24)
Trump thumbs nose at Indian Country with action on two pipelines (01/24)
Trump embraces big energy projects like Dakota Access Pipeline (10/24)