We’re excited to have teamed up with Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth for today’s demonstration against the construction of the toxic KXL in Oklahoma! As of 1:30PM, 50+ people are rallying against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and the Tar Sands project in so-called “Alberta, CA” which is poisoning the watersheds and traditional lands indigenous people in the region rely on for survival.
Kechina Nelson, of the Lakota Nation and organizer with Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth:
“I want to fight against this because it would be so harmful to this beautiful land we call home. I want to protect this land so the older generations can pass on knowing that there is hope for a positive change and for my generation to make the right decisions and become a great people of the future. I also fight for the future generations, so that they can protect the earth and not abuse her, like the forefathers. We are different. We will make a change”.
Update 3:00PM: Folks have gone home, and are drying off from the rain! Thanks everyone for coming!
Update 2:30PM : Around 50 people continue to rally outside the capitol, despite the rain.
GPTSR rallies alongside members of Idle No More Central Oklahoma and Youth outside the Oklahoma Capitol.
People rally at meeting point, 1:30PM.
Press Release here, forward widely!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance hold Rally and Round Dance Against Toxic Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline
Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth: Kechina Nelson, 605-4070800
Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance: Betsy Catlin, 207-729-9262, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.
Oklahoma City, OK: Idle No More Central Oklahoma’s Youth Group and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance are joining together for a demonstration and round dance against the construction of the toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, beginning at 1pm with a march from 16th and Lincoln and culminating with a rally and round dance at the State Capitol Building. This demonstration is on the heels of countless round dances and flash mobs that have emerged from the international Idle No More indigenous sovereignty movement, as well as direct actions along the pipeline route by grassroots coalitions such as GPTSR.
The groups oppose the Keystone XL on the basis of its environmental impacts, the high risk of a spill, and its role in facilitating the expansion of the Tar Sands project in “Alberta, Canada” which is poisoning indigenous communities and destroying their traditional lands.
Tar Sands infrastructure projects have met staunch resistance from indigenous and grassroots groups. In the colonial construct of “Canada,” the Unis’tot’en camp has been blockading the construction of natural gas and diluted bitumen (tar sands) pipelines through their traditional lands, and the Yinka Dene Alliance and signatories of the Save the Fraser Declaration have vowed to not allow Tar Sands infrastructure projects such as the Northern Gateway Pipeline through their lands. In late January, tribes and groups resisting tar sands infrastructure met at the Yankton reservation in “South Dakota” and signed the Declaration to Protect the Sacred, which amounts to a vow to resist the expansion of tar sands infrastructure through traditional lands.
“The reason why I/we INM Central Oklahoma Youth stand up and say no to tar sands pipe line is because I respect my mother earth. I want to take care of her as she has taken care of us/me,” said Kechina Nelson, an organizer with Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth. “I want to fight against this because it would be so harmful to this beautiful land we call home. I want to protect this land so the older generations can pass on knowing that there is hope for a positive change and for my generation to make the right decisions and become a great people of the future. I also fight for the future generations, so that they can protect the earth and not abuse her, like the forefathers. We are different. We will make a change”.
Idle No More Central Oklahoma has been building the Idle No More movement locally since its inception, with the formation of a youth group earlier this year marking a new and important chapter in the local movement’s history. Numerous round dances and much community work have been at the forefront of the movement’s visibility in the public.
Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance—a coalition of grassroots groups dedicated to resisting the expansion of Tar Sands infrastructure in the Great Plains—is having an action camp March 18th-22nd to share skills for building blockades and running a resistance campaign.
In February, GPTSR launched two direct actions. On February 4th, Norman resident Elizabeth Leja locked herself to an excavator being used to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline through Oklahoma. On February 11th, Oklahoma City youth pastor Stefan Warner ascended a side-boom used for laying pipe and locked himself to it. Both actions are a part of a wave of resistance to tar sands infrastructure.