Aboriginals joining forces to protest President Obama's Executive Order calling for the approval of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline were forced by local authorities to conduct their protest from a cage in a nearby park.
The protestors were stunned by their treatment and their inability to be given their right to freedom of speech. Spokespeople at the event said the major concern for the protestors is the impact of Keystone XL and the Canadian tar sands on indigenous communities and their sacred spaces.
Earl Hartley, a protestor, said: "Natives in Canada live downstream from toxic tar sands mines and they are experiencing spikes in colon, liver, blood and rare bile-duct cancers which the Canadian government and oil companies simply ignore. And now they want to pipe these tar sands through the hear of Indian country, bulldozing grave sites and ripping out our heritage."
The Oklahoma Archaeological Survey conducted a study on the effects of Keystone XL and historic sites. Its research found that 88 archaeological sites and 34 historic structures were threatened by the pipeline. TransCanada has been asked to re-route a portion of its pipeline in order to mitigate environmental and cultural disruptions. However, even after the alterations, 71 archaeological sites and 22 historic structures remain at risk.
At the rally, Marty Coenais of the Indigenous Environmental Network said, "President Obama is an adopted member of the Crow Tribe, so his fast-tracking a project that will desecrate known sacred sites and artifacts is a real betrayal and disappointment for his Native relatives everywhere. Tar sands is devastating First nations communities in Canada already and now they want to bring that environmental, health, and social devastation to US tribes."
Read the full story at Climate Connections: BREAKING NEWS: Native Americans Protest Keystone XL From A Cage
Image credit: Josh Semans via Flickr
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