Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, center left, talks with fellow leaders at a meeting of the United South and Eastern Tribes in Arlington, Virginia, on March 4, 2019. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Harold Frazier: Governor wants to shove Keystone XL Pipeline down our throats

Statement regarding legislation proposed by Governor Kristi Noem
By Harold Frazier
Chairman, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

I am disappointed again with the leader of South Dakota.

The Governor has not discussed any proposed legislation with the Sioux Nation or Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. This proposed legislation is designed to further an agenda of shoving this pipeline down our throats. She is putting the economic needs of the foreign company TransCanada ahead of the future of South Dakota.

If the Governor truly wants save money she should consider not allowing a pipeline through the state. This legislation only shows that they are more concerned with saving money while suppressing South Dakotans rights of assembly and intimidating anyone who is considering options to stand up for what they believe is right.

Another opportunity to make something legal because it is not morally right is obvious by the way this legislation has been proposed. No one knew about this legislation and it has been concocted and pushed in the back rooms and out buildings designed to keep the people of South Dakota in the dark. Nothing speaks to the deviousness surrounding the actions of a rich corporation more than the actions of the politicians under their influence.

This proposed legislation will contribute the diversion of the Cheyenne River just a couple thousand feet above our reservation boundary. Does the Governor not realize that this diversion will stir up the poison on the riverbed that was dumped by the Homesteak gold mine?

This poisoned our river for decades and we are just now recovering from the effects. Where will our children swim? Where will we fish or get water for our projects? What happens when these toxins show up in the wildlife?

Hunting and fishing that we are famous for will be affected. We have dealt with the poison from this Superfund cleanup before and it looks like we will have to deal with it again.

I ask South Dakotans who value their freedom to see that this legislation is not only aimed at the Sioux Nation but themselves as well. There will be a time when South Dakotans wish to express themselves and this legislation is an indicator that excessive force is the desired resolution rather than listening to the people.

This legislation indicates that the state of South Dakota is all for the First Amendment rights of its citizens, until they get paid otherwise.

Harold Frazier is serving his second term as chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, based in South Dakota. He also serves as president of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association. He previously served as vice chair of his tribe and previously as an area vice president for the National Congress of American Indians.

Join the Conversation