Oyate Wahacanka Woecun
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe set up the Oyate Wahacanka Woecun (Shield The People) prayer camp in South Dakota, in one of the many actions of resistance against the Keystone XL Pipeline. Photo: Oyate Wahacanka Woecun
It is time for the media to honor the water protectors
Tuesday, June 22, 2021

We started to cover the Keystone XL Pipeline and its predecessor Keystone I in our newspaper, Native Sun News Today, 13 years ago. Our ace reporter Talli Nauman saw the Lakota people’s opposition to it, and she has been writing news about the resistance to these and other pipelines as it has grown ever since.

South Dakota’s mainstream media didn’t have a clue until Talli began explaining it to them. Because of her journalistic efforts, Native anti-pipeline leadership gained worldwide coverage.

And now, along with so many Lakota people in struggle, Talli’s groundbreaking work is vindicated with the Canadian TC Energy Inc. oil giant’s decision to cancel construction. What if she hadn’t insisted on covering more than just the company’s side of the stories? How would the reading public understand this outcome?

Sadly, nearly all of the state media coverage of the cancellation has been totally negligent in following Talli’s example. She always says every story has more than two sides.

A newscast on KOTA-TV in Rapid City last week gave only one side of the story, the white man’s side. Even the anchorman on the news, a white guy, said he had talked several people about the cancellation and many of them were upset about the jobs that would be lost.

And of course, our three money grubbing representatives in Congress could care less about how the Native Americans feel about it. Gov. Kristi Noem was at least as inconsiderate, having succeeded at convincing the state legislature to approve her bill to stiffen penalties against pipeline fighters.

The only news source in South Dakota that gave credence to the Lakota side of the cancellation story was KELO in Sioux Falls. They allowed an opinion by Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chair Harold Frazier to be expressed.

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