Have you heard about the Cowboy-Indian Alliance?
— john zangas (@johnzangas) April 21, 2014
That’s the group occupying the National Mall in D.C. in tipis to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline until April 27. From Counterpunch:
An unlikely alliance of white ranchers and Native American activists, known as the Cowboy Indian Alliance, has erected the tipi encampment in the nation’s capital to protest plans for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Alliance (with the ironic acronym ‘CIA’) brings together Native Americans with white ranchers and farmers–the archetypal enemies of the American West–to protect their common land and water.
The Cowboy Indian Alliance may seem like an unprecedented type of environmental movement–multiracial, rooted in struggling rural communities, and often more effective in its grassroots organizing than traditional urban-based white upper/middle class environmental groups–but it is also part of a long, proud tradition that has been conveniently covered up in American history. Our history books present Manifest Destiny as inevitable and uncontested in the 19th century, so we never read about the white Wisconsin settlers who opposed the forced removal of Ho-Chunk and Ojibwe, the Washington settlers put on trial for sympathizing with Coast Salish resistance, or other atypical stories that highlight the ‘paths not followed’ of cooperation rather than conflict.
The Cowboy Indian Alliance represents not only a common stand against an oil pipeline, but (like previous alliances) has become a way to build connections between land-based communities that last beyond the immediate threat of oil spills and climate change. Equally important, these unlikely alliances begin the process of decolonizing Native lands and shifting white hearts and minds. Ihanktonwan Nakota elder Faith Spotted Eagle, a leader in past and current alliances to protect treaty lands, concludes, ‘We come from two cultures that clashed over land, and so this is a healing for the generations.’
Representatives of the movement answered questions on Reddit today:
we feel as a lakota people and many other nations his decision to delay was a good decision. it affects us none but gives us hope that the people are being heard. I view it as a decision to give the people time to get their opinions and beliefs heard. I myself am from the Kul wicasa oyate/Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. Im here to support everyone that is standing for their beliefs and the protection of mother earth. Wicahpi Ksapa
The pipe line crosses 22 rivers in our section of south dakota. The proposed pipe line is set to cross the 2 major intakes that supply rural communities with water. Our hydrologist tell us that in South Dakota the saturated soil near water production wells create a cone depression that can draw oil that is spilled directly into the Aquifer. This poison the aquifer the land and the people. – Aldo Seoane
— Bold Nebraska (@BoldNebraska) April 23, 2014
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