Monthly Archives: April 2014

It’s a Life or Death Fight

On Good Friday it was announced that the decision on the Presidential Permit for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) would be delayed indefinitely. One reason for this delay is because a District Court Judge in Nebraska ruled the law giving the Governor authority to declare eminent domain over privately owned land as unconstitutional.


Many people out there are mistaken in thinking this is a victory. A delay is a small step because it only means the decision is put off. One delay does not mean the fight is over. It’s a time to continue strategizing in the ongoing fight against toxic tar sands being transported over the Ogallala Aquifer.


The Rosebud Sioux Tribe has established a Spiritual Camp in Tripp County near the proposed route of the KXL pipeline. Camp organizers have no plans to disband. The camp was established as a place of prayer so human beings from all over the country could pray for the KXL pipeline to never be built.


It is my understanding that the camp will remain intact as a spiritual place. If ground is ever broken to begin building KXL pipeline, the camp will convert to a blockade.


Last week a very large gathering was held in Washington, DC to bring awareness and to also protest the KXL pipeline. People from all over the country traveled to America’s capital to participate in a week of events on the National Mall.


While people were in Washington, DC leading highly-publicized marches and educating people about the threat the KXL pipeline will bring, there were people here on the reservation belittling their efforts and wondering if they were tribal members. There will always be the colonized cynics who have problems over who is traveling or what blood quantum they have. Usually it’s the people left behind who always have something negative to say.


What many people fail to realize is the fight against TransCanada is one of life and death. Without a fresh water source we will die whether we are tribal members or not.


I attended a Court hearing in Tripp County earlier this week. TransCanada is forcing John Harter – a rancher from Colombe, SD – to accept a settlement he doesn’t want for an easement allowing the pipeline to cross his land. He is the only man in South Dakota who took the fight against TransCanada to court.

TransCanada believes they are in the right in taking this man’s land away from him and allow for their pipeline to be built. TransCanada also believes the environmental and other impact studies have been satisfied.


The issue in Tripp County Court has to do with the settlement being offered by TransCanada, which Mr. Harter feels he is being coerced into. The Judge stated he has no jurisdiction over anything except a jury trial to determine the amount of the settlement to be paid to Harter. A continuance was granted through July 1, 2014.


Prepare yourselves for another round in the ongoing battle against TransCanada and their KXL pipeline.




Tribe Prevents Mega Truck Loads from Crossing Reservation

SD/NE STATELINE – At least one truck carrying an oversized mega load was prevented by tribal police from entering the Rosebud Reservation on Monday afternoon.


Tribal members and police officers stopped and detoured the truck at the Rosebud Fuel Plaza late Monday afternoon. The truck belonged to Hess Services, Inc. of Hays, Kansas and was headed north on highway 83. The company manufactures tanks and other equipment designed for chemical mixing as well as storage. They also provide tank delivery and set up.


 “Approximately seven tractor trailer loads headed north from the Rosebud Fuel Plaza,” stated Gary Dorr of Oyate Wahacanka Woecun. “They held equipment for Zenergy, which is a sub-contractor for TransCanada.”


The Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council has a standing resolution opposing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline expansion, including the transport of equipment on roads running through the reservation. RST Resolution 2014-33 was approved on February 27, 2014 and reads in part: “The Tribal Nations of the Oceti Sakowin stand in unified opposition to the construction of the TransCanada XL Pipeline.”


At least four trailers loaded with single well stream process packages manufactured by Hess Services, Inc. remained in the parking lot of the RST Fuel Plaza on Monday afternoon. However, Zenergy was “asked to remove their equipment from the premises and that any prior agreements made between the Auto Plaza Manager and the Hess Transport company were null and void [as ordered RST President Cyril Scott],” continued Dorr.

Apparently, an informal agreement had been struck between the RST Fuel Plaza Manager where the company would guarantee gas purchases for their trucks in exchange for storing the trailer-loads behind the store on the gravel lot. Four trailers were left on the premises.


“Tribal police made contact with one truck driver from Hess Trucking and asked him to turn around and go back to have his company remove the trailers,” stated Dorr.  “He said he would call the company and he did leave in the direction of Valentine, NE.”


The four trailers were removed by the company from the RST Fuel Plaza parking lot on the morning of April 15, 2014.


The Rosebud Sioux Tribe did establish a Spirit Camp on March 29 on tribal land near the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route. Visitors are welcome and can take highway 18 east of Mission, SD and then drive north on highway 53/183. The camp can be seen on the east side of the highway.


For more information you may call the Rosebud Sioux Tribe at (605) 747-2381. The Oyate Wahacanka Woecun also has a Facebook page at which you can check for updates or you can call 1-888-742-7244.


Photos by Gary Dorr at