Cheyenne River launches WebsiteBy Alaina Adakai
Native Sun News Today Correspondent
nativesunnews.today EAGLE BUTTE - The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe launched a crowdfunding website on December 21. CRST created wakpawaste.com not only to fundraise for legal costs, but to also raise awareness about the tribe’s history, dispossession of treaty land and natural resources, and to feature a 35-minute documentary. The website is also a platform to provide information about Cheyenne River’s battles against the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines. CRST gained national attention in 2014 when it challenged the federal government and the state of South Dakota over a permit that was granted for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. In protest of the pipeline, outraged tribal members established the Pte Ospaye Spiritual Camp in Bridger. In November 2015, the construction permit was rejected by then-President Barack Obama, and many believed that the Keystone XL project was slain. One year later, CRST was fighting yet another pipeline that crossed their treaty lands- the Dakota Access Pipeline. Federal departments and organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee supported what CRST and the Great Sioux Nations had been saying during their protests- that the Dakota Access Pipeline threatened the Missouri River, the main source of drinking water for the tribes and 22 million people downstream. As thousands of people congregated to Oceti Sakowin and Sacred Stone Camps to join in protest with the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux Tribes, the slogan “Stand With Standing Rock” exploded all over mainstream media Although Cheyenne River was legally battling DAPL in courts and was ever-present on the frontlines of the protest, hardly any mention was made of the tribe while the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was thrust into the national spotlight. A quick search on the internet will yield numerous news articles about SRST, but very few present Cheyenne River as an equal stakeholder and partner in lawsuits against the pipeline. On his second day in office, President Donald Trump signed executive orders advancing the permit process of both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines. According to wakpawaste.com, Cheyenne River is still engaged in legal battles with both pipelines and recently won a case in federal court. U.S. District Court for Washington D.C. ruled against DAPL and acknowledged that the treaty rights of the tribe were violated. During the height of the Stand With Standing Rock/NoDAPL movement, various fundraising accounts were created by individuals, tribes, and advocacy groups; however, only once did CRST set up such a website at crowdjustice.com. The fundraising effort failed. According to the Crowd Justice website, the site is structured to allow people to pledge money instead of instantly donating funds. Only when a minimum target amount is reached are the monetary pledges honored. CRST set a minimum goal of raising $4,355 for legal fees associated with fighting DAPL. About $425 of pledges were given. The tribe received no funding from that campaign. The recently-launched website is a renewed effort to help fund CRST’s continuing legal battles against both pipelines. As of press time, over $1,200 had been donated on the website. The website also serves as a historical platform of the tribe’s history. Numerous photos of the direct-action events at the Oceti Sakowin camp are on the website. There are also maps of treaty lands and current reservation boundaries. The tumultuous historical treatment of the tribe from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also presented with stories and photos of the Corp’s flooding of the tribe’s Old Agency village. A documentary about the tribe’s fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline can be watched on the website. Visitors can directly donate money to the tribe with an easy-to-use donation tab. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe continues to fight both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines. “The Great Sioux Nation faces many legal threats to our treaty territory. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is determined to think forward, seven generations, to protect our water and our land for or children and our children’s children. Join us. Go to the website and take a look at our perspective. This website gives everyone an opportunity to contribute on a promise to protect our environment,” said CRST Chairman Harold Frazier.