Native Americans Gathered Downtown Last Night to Protest Broken Treaties and a Tar Sands Pipeline

Categories: Environment

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Courtesy of Yolanda Blue Horse
If you happened to be passing the corner of Akard and San Jacinto Monday night, the huge, blue LED lights spelling out "IDLE NO MORE" might have left you nonplussed.

It was no coincidence that the demonstration, known as a light brigade, took place within a stone's throw of the Canadian consulate general's office. The group of Native Americans and non-Natives from across North Texas may have been small -- maybe a couple dozen -- but it's a tentacle of a much larger movement protesting what they call the wholesale violation of treaties with Canada's First Nations people by their federal government.

At issue is an omnibus bill that would relax restrictions on development around their ancestral waterways and allow construction of the Northern Gateway Pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil mined in Alberta, through British Columbia and to the Pacific, where it will be shipped off to China.

On the line for the tar sands industry are potential billions of dollars in exports. It's the very same stuff the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would carry to the Gulf Coast.

The message the First Nations and their supporters here in North Texas and elsewhere want to telegraph is that the Canadian government can't simply rewrite the law around a sovereign people.

"We're showing them we hear you down here, and we're here for you," said Yolanda Blue Horse, a nurse in McKinney and a member of the Lakota Oyate. "This generation just cannot sit back and be quiet no more. We're not going to sit idle no more. We're finding our voice once again.

"They say this is the seventh generation. It was the White Buffalo Calf Woman who said it'd be the seventh generation who decided whether or not the people would live or die."

"Idle No More" demonstrations have been held in places as far off as Vienna, Poland and Sicily, and as close as Oklahoma City.

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Even if each of these 24 people were representative of 1000 others (which is probably a stretch), we're only talking about 24000 people.  There are 5.1 million Native Americans according to the last census.  I don't know if I'd call .4% of a people group a "movement"...

Not that I disagree with their argument.  Just trying to lend a little perspective.  

This story is interesting on the merits of the fact that something seems to be stirring.  Native Americans have much to be stirred about and perhaps this can turn into a movement at some time.  I'm enthralled with the comments about the 7th gen.  

"We, the great mass of the people, think only of the love we have for our land. For we do love the land where we were brought up. We will never let our hold to this land go. To let it go will be like throwing away our mother that gave us birth."  Aitooweyah, Cherokee Opposition Leader

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