Oglala Leader Confronts Obama on Tarsands and is removed from Denver gathering

By Brenda Norrell

In Denver, Oglala Lakota Vice President Tom Poor Bear asked President Obama about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Poor Bear was removed from Obama's speech.

Here is Vice President Tom Poor Bear's statement:

"Today I was removed from Obama’s speech at the University of Colorado in Denver for sharing words that have been weighing on my heart. Because I was stopped before I could fully express myself this morning, I would like to share these words now.

"I feel that the United States of America should fulfill their obligation to the Treaty Tribes of the territory of the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties, and also their obligation to us as the true owners of this territory. President Obama must honor these treaties. We just want Obama to respect our Mother, the Earth. We just want Obama to respect our water, which is life – and to respect our future generations. We ask all indigenous people to join us in our plight to oppose the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline. We feel that Obama, in his position as President of the United States, should look at this issue very seriously because he also purports to represent us as indigenous peoples. So we are asking all indigenous peoples and Treaty Nations, as well as all other peoples who also respect our Mother, the Earth, to join our opposition and stop the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline. Through a unified effort, we will accomplish this task. As our great leader of our ancestral days, Crazy Horse, once said: 'You cannot sell the land your people are buried on.' I believe today he would say: 'You cannot desecrate the land your people are buried on.'

"In respect of Mother Earth and our Future Generations," Poor Bear said in his statement.

Glenn Morris, with the American Indian Movement in Denver, described what happened at Obama's speech on Wednesday.

"Yesterday, we had our action at the Obama speech on the Auraria campus. It was pretty awesome, as was the action on Tuesday, despite the cold and rain and snow. I want to acknowledge the leadership that was shown by Scott, Tessa and Sky, in the lead-up to today's action, and for the courage that they showed, in the face of the Secret Service and other police agencies. They stood for hours in the rain and snow with our banners and messages and bullhorns, outside of the Pepsi Center where Obama had his $5000 per person fundraiser, outside of Obama's hotel, stood in line for hours to get the tickets to get inside the Auraria event, They smuggled banners into the event, past Secret Service security, and raised the banners, and the Oglala Sioux, flag at the critical time," Morris said.

"A special message of appreciation to Tom Poor Bear and his daughter, Evangeline, who drove down from Pine Ridge, and who were in there with us.  Tom is a long-time AIM veteran of the Trail of Broken Treaties, Wounded Knee "73, Yellow Thunder Camp, Camp Justice, and many other AIM sponsored actions; he is now the Vice-President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Several other members of the OST Council said that they were going to join us, but Tom was the only one with the courage actually to show and confront Obama. He was also instrumental in shouting to Obama about honoring Indian treaties, stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, and respecting our mother the Earth. Also very important to the action was Jennifer Baker, an attorney from the Smith, Shelton and Ragona law firm, who is lead advisor to Tom on the Keystone pipeline impact on the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Jennifer hung in there with us through the actions on Tuesday night, and came into the Obama event, and help us hold up the Keystone banner," Morris said.

"The events above caused Obama to stammer, lose his place in his speech, pause, and then directly to respond to the messages that were shouted, and the message on the banners that were located right in front of him: 'Honor Indian Treaties,' and 'Stop The Keystone Pipeline.' Obama stopped and said that a decision had not yet been made, and he said, 'I know your deep concern about it. We will address it.' The Secret Service then surrounded our group and ordered us to stop shouting, and to take the banners down. When Sky told them that we weren't taking the banners down, they ordered us to leave the room, which we did, eventually."


Read more from the action in Denver: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/10/denver-oglala-president-confronts-obama.html 

About Brenda Norrell

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 34 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.

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About Brenda Norrell

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http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

Biography

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 34 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.