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Obama, Standing Rock, and the Keystone XL Pipeline: The Shortest Thing About Skins Column Ever

Gyasi Ross offers his thoughts on President Obama's visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation.
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President Obama is on the Standing Rock Reservation day to do something that is long overdue—thank Native people for their constant support of him. We supported him en masse before he was even the Democratic nominee in 2008, when he was supposed to lose to Hilary Clinton (yes, she was the presumptive nominee at that time). Now he is finally doing the right thing—coming through one of our communities to say thank you. 

A few beliefs that I hold:

1) It will be a combination of a) Indigenous resistance, b) the President’s (and Nation’s!) enormous debt to Native people, and c) simple economics that kills the planet-destroying Keystone XL Pipeline.

2) There is no such thing as coincidence.

3) There’s a reason why President Obama happens to want to come to the very heart of where this atrocity—the Keystone XL Pipeline—would pass through.

4) At heart, despite many, many political compromises (which are the nature of the job, unfortunately), President Obama is a good man who wants what’s best for the planet and all of its residents.

5) Therefore, he is going to Standing Rock—to Indian Country—to feel the power of the Indigenous resistance to dirty oil, so his spirit can feel the ancestors compel him to do the right thing.

 All my relations who are out there today, speak loudly. Your voice WILL be heard. He wants to hear it.

At the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, left to right: Mark Consuelos, Kelly Ripa, Cecilee Moses, Shoni Schimmel and Jude Schimmel. Photo by Tara Polen from

Gyasi Ross
Blackfeet Nation/Suquamish Territories
New Book, How to Say I Love You in Indian—order today!!
Twitter: @BigIndianGyasi