Indigenous Environmental Network
Last weekend the Indigenous Environmental Network and the ACLU of Montana hosted a historic first of its kind Gathering of Oceti Sakowin Environmental Symposium in my home nation, the Fort Peck Assiniboine Sioux Tribal Nation. This two-day summit was hosted at the Fort Peck Community College to talk about the history, risks, and future of the Keystone XL pipeline, a dirty tar sands project.
Oil was first discovered in the Fort Peck region in 1951 and because the oil industry went unchecked for decades up to 37 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater has spread across our aquifer. It wasn't until this year we finally completed the $300M Assiniboine & Sioux Rural Water Supply System, a water filtration plant supplying our community with clean water for the first time in decades.
And now the Canadian pipeline company TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) wants to have its KXL pipeline cross the Missouri River upstream of the tribe's new water system intake and less than two miles downstream of the Fort Peck Dam spillway, which suffered significant damage during massive flooding in 2011.
Pipeline industry experts have stated, it is not a matter of if Keystone XL will leak, it's a matter of when Keystone XL will leak, because ALL PIPELINES LEAK.
And it is terrifying to think about what would happen to my tribal nation — my family — when the pipeline ruptures and releases dirty tar sands bitumen into our river.
Furthermore, it is not just my communities that are in danger, for we must remember the Indigenous communities at the tar sands source in Northern Alberta.
We must remember that with extractive industry comes industrial man camps which are fueling our missing and murdered Indigenous women epidemic. Indigenous women like myself have the highest rates of rape, assault, stalking and murder of all vulnerable populations, and the KXL will bring so much pain to our community that is still healing from the forced assimilation that has been happening for hundreds of years since colonization.
We need your help to fight the KXL!
Commit your support to frontline communities along the route when you
Sign the Promise to Protect Pledge.
Aba Wasté Yuhá.