Stop the KXL Pipeline

Lakota Law
I was born on Cheyenne River Nation in South Dakota. Several years back, after a lifetime of activism took me far and wide, I returned. Today I make my home close to the place where I was born, and I love my homeland.

Keystone Protest, courtesy of the Associated Press
View the Video

This past month, just as our changing climate brought another violent storm to Indian Country, President Trump issued executive orders and a “Presidential Permit” meant to fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL). He wants to override lawfully required — and much needed — environmental oversight. As I recently wrote to you, KXL poses serious threats to Cheyenne River, and it’s vitally important to stop the pipeline now.

Trump’s invasion of Grandmother Earth and his “Presidential Permits” violate due process and separation of powers. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform needs to investigate and undo these unlawful actions. Watch our video and ask your congressional rep to take action now.

As my colleague Chase Iron Eyes details in our video, TransCanada does not have our free, prior, and informed consent to build this pipeline through unceded treaty lands just a few miles from Cheyenne River.

Map showing proposed KXL pipeline

Part of me can almost understand why Trump and his oil industry cronies are avoiding asking us for permission and making up new rules — because they know we would never say yes to the desecration of our sacred land and attendant dangers to our water and people. Another black snake and a Man camp just 13 miles from my home? Absolutely not.

That’s why your voice is needed more than ever. The current US House of Representatives has shown it isn’t afraid to stand up to Trump and look into his many, many shady dealings. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fellows on this committee will hear you when you reach out on our behalf. Please do so today! Together, let’s stop KXL now, before more damage to my oyate — and to Unci Maka — is done.

Wopila — together, let’s encourage Congress to do the right thing!

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
Lakota People’s Law Project

P.S. Trump is doing everything he can to fast-track KXL and railroad Native communities without our consent — again! Your help is required to protect Grandmother Earth and my people from his unwanted advances. Please email your representative today. It’s time for congress to uphold due process of law and stop the KXL pipeline before it spills and destroys Native lives.

Lakota People's Law Project
Lakota People’s Law Project
547 South 7th #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

The Lakota People’s Law Project is part of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.

Julian Assange: April 11, 2019

The arrest of Julian Assange is a signal of the end of a free press. A free press is the eyes and ears of a free people. This attack on dissent is directly related to the movement to end fossil fuels and the building of oil and gas pipelines. It was the presence of the independent press and social media that helped get the word out about Standing Rock. There were enormous efforts to stop media coverage of the actions at Standing Rock.


This is when the shutdown of dissent begins in earnest. It is time for action – past time!

Alexandria, VA — Today, Chelsea Manning’s legal team will file a reply brief in their appeal asking the Fourth Circuit to vacate District Court Judge Hilton’s March 8 finding of civil contempt. Ms. Manning, a staunch advocate for government transparency, asserted legal grounds for her refusal to participate in what she views as an assault on the free press. She remains in detention as a result of the contempt finding. The Assange indictment disclosed this morning strengthens their claims of grand jury abuse, say Manning’s attorneys.”  Assange Arrested: Call for protests and phone calls; also links to articles.

WikiLeaks tweeted that Ecuador allowed British police into the London embassy to arrest Assange at around 10:30 am British time, 5:30 am in Washington.

The U.S. charged Assange with conspiracy to hack a computer government computer related to the 2010 release of classified information, according to the criminal complaint unsealed hours after his arrest. The indictment does not charge Assange with espionage.”



Pine Ridge: Help Needed

Take Action: Pine Ridge Needs Federal Disaster Relief!
Tue, Apr 2, 2019 5:52 pm
Chase Iron Eyes ( Details
Lakota Law

The Pine Ridge Reservation is flooded! The aftermath of Winter Storm Ulmer, which hit the Midwest on March 13th, is still wreaking havoc on the territory where I now reside.

Lakota Law
View the Video

Our tribal president, Julian Bear Runner, has been working around the clock with a barebones staff for the past two weeks to keep catastrophe from turning into apocalypse. I was honored to serve as President Bear Runner’s campaign manager last year, and I am all the more pleased that we have a leader of his character during this crisis.

Join OST President Bear Runner in calling for a federal declaration of disaster in South Dakota. Please send an email to President Trump today!

You can also assist in other ways. Here’s a page we set up, working directly with the OST president’s office, with critical information about help needed by the tribe.

I and other members of the Lakota People’s Law Project team have now set up shop at tribal headquarters in Pine Ridge to join the effort. Over the past several days, we’ve observed that 1,500 tribal citizens remain displaced from their homes and 75-100 structures have been damaged by the flooding. 500 people remain without access to potable water, culvert systems are plugged, and roads are impassable.

Pine Ridge now faces millions of dollars of damage. Recovery will take a long time.

Meanwhile, the tribe is woefully understaffed and under-resourced, which is why my team is in the process of recruiting grant support to assemble an even larger group of qualified professionals: engineers, skilled laborers, heavy equipment operators, grant writers, etc. This force will untangle the complicated web of prerequisites coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of South Dakota that must be met before they will provide assistance. We will need help from these institutions to navigate the waters ahead.

Yo Park in Pine Ridge, photo by Kimmy Blanco

In coordination with President Bear Runner’s office, our team will be issuing regular updates and press releases — please stay tuned.

I would be remiss to not point out that President Trump — even as many of our families lack potable water and medical support due to a climate-related catastrophe — issued an executive order on March 29th attempting to circumvent a Montana court’s injunction against the Keystone XL oil pipeline (KXL). As you likely know, KXL is slated to run through unceded treaty territory in South Dakota, over the protestations of my people.

Trump’s executive order is wrong on so many levels it’s hard to track them all. Whether or not he grants us emergency assistance for the flooding, we are going to fight him tooth and nail on KXL.

We will keep you posted as this flood relief work unfolds in the coming days. Please stay tuned, remain alert for calls to action, and pray for us.

Wopila! — Thank you!

Chase Iron Eyes
Lead Counsel
Lakota People’s Law Project

Lakota People's Law Project
Lakota People’s Law Project
547 South 7th #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

The Lakota People’s Law Project is part of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.

News From Canada

Canada would be the first country in the world to harmonize its federal laws with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) if the Senate passes Bill C-262, according to the chair of the UN permanent forum on Indigenous issues.


Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde is urging the Senate to pass Bill C-262, a private member’s bill tabled by NDP MP Romeo Saganash. (CBC News)