Lakota elders addressed the crowd with important messages about protecting the Sacred Waters from toxic tar sands. 

Here are a few highlights from the opening ceremony:

Drummers performed a traditional song in Lakota that’s loosely translated as: “Grandfather look down and watch over us as protectors of Mother Earth.”

“Water is the first medicine. It doesn’t matter what color you are. You need water to survive. This is about protecting our Sacred Water.” – Vic Camp

“This is the key question: When do we claim self defense for Mother Earth?” -Alex White Plume

“This is a death pipeline. Cultural death for our people.” Ramsey Sprague, Tar Sands Blockade

Article by Debra White Plume, Lakota Grandmother, Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way). You can follow live updates from Moccasins on the Ground: Frontline Activist Training on twitter.

Lakota know we love Unci Maka. All of Unci Maka. Our ancestors were free, to follow the Star Nation Path (the Good Red Road), to roam, to hunt, to be happy, to have sacred water. Then one day, FAT TAKER came thru camp, and stole the fat that many women prepared to get their lodges through the harsh prairie winters. From then on, it was the beginning of a war our ancestors waged in defense of their children, their babies, their, and our, sacred path of life.The gunfire may have ended at Wounded Knee in 1890 on that day when the 7th Calvary massacred unarmed women, children, old people, and men. But the war continues. America continues to violate international law, which is what a treaty is. Our ancestors made the 1851 and 1868 Ft Laramie Treaty with the United States to retain territory and make peace. America violated the Treaty Law when Fat Taker found gold, and they have been violating it ever since. America recently admitted their guilt in being a Fat Taker, through the unilateral (because no one bothered to talk with Traditional government about this lawsuit) approval of the Cobell Settlement, which awarded a few billion to the many many Red Nations peoples who America stole money from in the amount of $134 billion dollars worth of what American calls “natural resources”. These were taken off Unci Maka to make a profit for a few Fat Takers, leaving destruction and contamination behind that our Red Nations have to live and die with.

Our Treaty boundaries encompass a large part of the Great Plains. This is our ancestral territory that we retained through Treaty. We, to this day, love this land, and feel that we need to take care of it. At one point in time, America called, after illegal takings of other unceded territory, the remaining portions this land base “the Great Sioux Reservation”. Nonetheless, we are our own sovereign Nation!

Therein lies some of the confusion as to the understanding of the American people when we speak of “reservations”. The place where I live now is the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. Officially, in the records of the American government’s Interior Department (where the national parks, animals, and plants are managed, is also where the Indians and our lands are “managed”) Pine Ridge Reservation is acknowledged as Prisoner of War Camp 344. In the past days, our people were not under the Interior Department, we were classified under the War Department. American Indians (sic) are the only people in this big land who have ANOTHER number, beyond the social security number of all Americans. We have our “Indian” number, our Prisoner of War number. Mine begins with 344. So America knows I dwell within Prisoner of War Camp 344. Think about that for awhile.

In our work to protect Treaty Territory, Human Rights, Treaty Rights, we make allies all over the world to educate about our situation in POW Camp #344, our Treaties, and our obligation and priviledge to protect lands and waters for our coming generations. We have many American people allies. Sometimes they make the human error of going by information they find about us, and utilize American records, and America refers to some of our land base as the “Great Sioux Reservation” which was a collective land base for our Nations to live on together, vs the individual ‘reservation’ landbases that remain after American carved out all our Treaty Territory that they wanted for the Fat. These individual ‘reservations’ are where the distinct Bands (I am of the Oglala Band) reside today.

TransCanada is trying to make a big deal out of a mistaken American identification of who our people are and what are Territories consist of. TransCanada is trying to explain away how their tarsands KXL pipeline application process for a permit to enter the big land is all above board and honest and good. Ask the non-Indian American ranchers and farmers from Montana to Texas how above board TC and America have behaved. They lost their lands to eminent domain to TC. They are the new Indians of today, the federal government is helping Fat Taker to take their lands now, against their wishes.

Folks have to take caution, and read between the lines of what these Fat Taker corporations say, as they manipulate the English language and play with words to make themselves look like they are not Fat Taker, that they are honest and good. Do not be deceived by Fat Taker. Stand with us to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and shut down tarsands oil mine. Stand with us now while there is still time to stop them. Take courage! We do have the right to protect our sacred water for our children and grandchildren. It is their water. We must be prepared to protect that which is for our generations.

We are now hosting a three day training session to learn from each other how to protect our sacred water using non violent direct action, which, by the way, is a right of all citizens in this big land. We will make allies, learn new skills, share existing effective skills that will make us stronger in our collective action of putting our Moccasins on the Ground to protect our sacred water. Hecetuwe. (It is so so.)

Debra White Plume Owe Aku, Bring Back the Way


Responses to "Moccasins on the Ground to Protect Sacred Water (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    We are all being lied to about the Keystone pipeline! What the news media has said "there is problem with the water shed." Nothing has been said about Tribal Lands. It was only on KUED one time the Man from the Dept of Water Conservation said, "Due to population growth an underground glazier lake was drying up in the midwest and the polluting of our river, streams, and lakes there will be a water shortage in America." Utah wants to start Tar Sands on public lands in the Canyon Lands. Please send me information so that I can tell people the truth. My email address

  2. This is so wrong in so many ways! I am almost speachless. Thank the Great Spirit for the Lakota elder and other woman who speak out in this video. I pray for the day when white man begins to understand the truth, that to live in harmony with Mother Earth & all her creatures is the only way there will be harmony and peace...

  3. Anonymous says:

    Divine Spirit with you all...For the Highest good....Truth & Justice Prevail...

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hooray to the Lakota Nation for standing up to the money grabbing oil corporations. Tar Sand oil must be infused with Benzine in order to make it flow through a pipeline. It is the most caustic oil and can erode the metal in the pipe and cause vast leaks. Trans Canada has the worst record of any pipeline company. Why doesn't Canada send the pipeline West through Canada to Vancouver B.C.? America will not benefit from this oil, it is destined for the Texas refineries to be refined into jet fuel and diesel fuel to be sold and exported to other countries. Don't believe what these lying companies and the Republicans say. It is not in the best interest of America to have this pipeline.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The earth helps to take care of us, so we have an obligation to take care of the earth.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Canada does not want this pipeline, and are in a fight with the government over native rights and protection of the earth.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I stand for the Lakota nation, it is disgusting how they or treated on their own land

  8. Hannelore Geilenkirchen says:

    I express to you all our fingers crossed that they get justice

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