Native Organizers Alliance responds to termination of Keystone XL pipeline

Washington, D.C.(Press Release)—TC Energy, developer of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, announced that it would not be moving forward with the project. The following statement from Judith LeBlanc (Caddo), director of Native Organizers Alliance, an organization dedicated to building a support network of Native leaders and grassroots organizers, can be quoted in-full or in-part.

“The termination of the Keystone XL pipeline is a major step towards the protection of all sacred sites—the places we pray, gather food and medicine, and go to remind ourselves of the ways our ancestors lived for thousands of years.

The destruction and degradation of our Indigenous sacred sites is the direct result of governments’ failure to engage with tribal nations and communities before decisions are made on large-scale projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.

The developer’s decision follows years of relentless work and dedication from tribes and grassroots organizers to halt the pipeline development. For years, Native grassroots organizers  have joined with the traditional leaders and sovereign nations like Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Oglala Lakota Nation, and Yankton Sioux Tribe, to stop this project. Farmers, tribal councils, ranchers, and Native community groups and traditional societies have been instrumental in raising awareness around the significant threats to the health and resources of Native peoples living in the path of the pipeline. And sovereign tribes have taken the issue to court to protect their territories and the Missouri River bioregion for all. 

Native tribes and communities are coming together in Minnesota, Michigan, and North Carolina where lands and water are also being threatened by pipelines. We urge the Biden Administration to continue on the path of recognizing that building pipelines only reinforces the past failed energy policies.

We hope this is representative of new era where tribes are part of the decision-making process and informed about the use of our lands, waters, and natural resources. Tribes are legally and morally entitled to give or deny consent at all phases of future development and infrastructure projects that impact treaty lands. This prior and informed consent is what the treaties demand.”