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Lower Brule Sioux Reject Keystone XL, Evict TransCanada

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe rejects Keystone XL pipeline, tells TransCanada to clear out.
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The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe is celebrating the 147th anniversary of the signing of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty by … enforcing it.

Invoking their rights under article one of the treaty, the tribe voted to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and evict TransCanada from its lands “in direct response to the unethical business practices that TransCanada has demonstrated over the last six years,” the tribe said in a statement.

“As descendants of the people of this land we have witnessed destruction of many magnitudes,” said Acting Chairman Kevin Wright in the Lower Brule Sioux statement. “We are concerned for our land, water, and most importantly not only the physical wellbeing of our people but spiritual wellbeing as well. I am first a human being, not a politician, when it comes to these matters. I believe in protecting our people and look to more ecological ways of living.”

The Lower Brule Sioux said that TransCanada, which wants to build the 1,700-mile-long pipeline to carry bitumen from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast of Texas, has not acted in good faith and thus meets the definition of “bad men” under the treaty’s terms.

“From this day forward all war between the parties to this agreement shall forever cease,” the treaty reads, according to a statement from the tribe. “The government of the United States desires peace, and its honor is hereby pledged to keep it. The Indians desire peace, and they now pledge their honor to maintain it. If bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to the authority of the United States, shall commit any wrong upon the person or property of the Indians, the United States will, upon proof made to the agent, and forwarded to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs at Washington city, proceed at once to cause the offender to be arrested and punished according to the laws of the United States, and also reimburse the injured person for the loss sustained.”

The “bad man” clause puts about 40 percent of South Dakota out of reach of TransCanada, the tribe said, making the route moot.

But the opposition didn’t stop there. The tribe also expressed solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada who are suffering from the effects of oil sands industrialization.

“After much research into this Keystone XL pipeline and hearing firsthand accounts and many disheartening stories from Canadian First Nations, we feel a need to stand in support of our northern relatives,” Wright said. “Our First Nations relatives have been fighting to end these atrocities. This pipeline and tar sands extraction has brought death, devastation and destruction to their homelands.”

South Dakota tribes in general have come out against the pipeline.

RELATED: Can a Tipi Stop a Pipeline? South Dakota Tribes Stand Firm Against Keystone XL

Earlier this week the Yankton Sioux, Cheyenne River, Rosebud and Standing Rock tribes went before the state Public Utilities Commission in a successful bid to reschedule a key hearing on the approval process for TransCanada’s application.

RELATED: South Dakota Keystone XL Opponents Win Summer-Long Delay in Permit Process