Iyuksan “The Turn” Spirit Camp Established
IDEAL, SOUTH DAKOTA — In an effort to demonstrate solidarity of the Sioux’s steadfast opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, a Spirit Camp was established on Saturday, March 29, 2014 near the planned route of the pipeline, located close to the tribal community of Ideal, South Dakota.
Opening ceremony was attended by Ed Shultz of MSNBC’s Ed Show (pictured in green jacket).
The Spirit Camp called the “Iyuksan” means the “turn.” The Iyuksan Spirit Camp was established to maintain a constant prayerful vigil and physical presence near the proposed pipeline’s route. It will be staffed 24 hours per day by individuals offering perpetual prayers.
“This camp is a spiritual action,” declared Russell Eagle Bear, a Tribal Council member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, on Saturday during the opening ceremony of the Iyuksan Spirit Camp. “The camp will be up for the long-haul – until President Obama denies the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline,” Eagle Bear continued.
The Iyuksan Spirit Camp is located on tribal trust land of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and has been sanctioned by the Tribe through a Tribal Council resolution.
Saturday’s opening ceremonies were attended by representatives of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation), spiritual leaders and representatives of the Cowboy Indian Alliance from Nebraska.
Numerous media outlets were in attendance to cover the event, including Ed Schultz of the nationally syndicated MSNBC Ed Show, and Sioux Falls based KSFY. Over a hundred supporters also attended the event. A convoy of 80 vehicles led by a Rosebud Tribal Police vehicle made a procession from Mission, South Dakota to the Spirit Camp.
The opening ceremony included prayers, honor songs, and speeches from the tribal and spiritual leaders. The nature of the camp as explained by Rosebud Sioux President, Cyril “Whitey” Scott, was to “put a concrete action into effect.”
The Iyuksan Spirit Camp consists of a wall of 1,500 lb. grass bales surrounding 7 tipis representing the Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation. It is planted on a high piece of land owned by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and visible from the nearby highway.
“We have several options for making more camps, and more importantly we’re able to make more camps,” explained Eagle Bear, indicating that other locations are near the White River and near to the proposed “Man Camp Site” in Colome, South Dakota. All of the possible camp locations are located on Rosebud Sioux land, and are strategic because of their proximity to planned construction phases of the pipeline.
The camp has its own sweat lodge next to a tipi that will be staffed twenty-four hours a day to watch over any construction progress.
After the ceremony was concluded the camp was fed out of two Army tents which are also surrounded by a wall of grass bales.