Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Rejects South Dakota Govenor’s Call to Stop Protests

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier in Washington after White House Tribal Nations Conference. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert

Published March 5, 2019

EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. — After Monday’s announcment by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem that she is backing legislation that promotes the Keystone XL pipeline and the limitation of free speech by imposing tough penalities for those who protest the pipeline, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier released the following statement:

“I am disappointed again with the leader of South Dakota. The Governor has not discussed any proposed legislation with the Sioux Nation or Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. This proposed legislation is designed to further an agenda of shoving this pipeline down our throats. She is putting the economic needs of the foreign company TransCanada ahead of the future of South Dakota.

If the Governor truly wants save money she should consider not allowing a pipeline through the state. This legislation only shows that they are more concerned with saving money while suppressing South Dakotans rights of assembly and intimidating anyone who is considering options to stand up for what they believe is right.

Another opportunity to make something legal because it is not morally right is obvious by the way this legislation has been proposed. No one knew about this legislation and it has been concocted and pushed in the back rooms and out buildings designed to keep the people of South Dakota in the dark. Nothing speaks to the deviousness surrounding the actions of a rich corporation more than the actions of the politicians under their influence.

This proposed legislation will contribute the diversion of the Cheyenne River just a couple thousand feet above our reservation boundary. Does the Governor not realize that this diversion will stir up the poison on the riverbed that was dumped by the Homesteak gold mine? This poisoned our river for decades and we are just now recovering from the effects. Where will our children swim? Where will we fish or get water for our projects? What happens when these toxins show up in the wildlife? Hunting and fishing that we are famous for will be affected. We have dealt with the poison from this superfund cleanup before and it looks like we will have to deal with it again.

I ask South Dakotans who value their freedom to see that this legislation is not only aimed at the Sioux Nation but themselves as well. There will be a time when South Dakotans wish to express themselves and this legislation is an indicator that excessive force is the desired resolution rather than listening to the people. This legislation indicates that the state of South Dakota is all for the 1st amendment rights of its citizens….until they get paid otherwise…”

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