Cowboys and Indians Protesting the Keystone Pipeline Together
Photo courtesy of Bold Nebraska
Cowboys and Indians are usually on opposing sides in stories of the Old West, but the modern variations have found something to unite them: opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is a 1,700-mile pipeline that will tote sticky black bitumen from the Canadian Tar Sands to the Texas Gulf Coast refineries when -- and if -- the project is ever completed. The southern leg of the line is up and running, but the northern section -- the one that would cross the border into Canada -- has been in regulatory limbo for years now. Despite those delays, President Obama recently announced his decision on the Keystone would (Maybe. Probably. Possibly.) be announced some time this year.
The Cowboy Indian Alliance, aka the farmers, ranchers, and tribal communities along the northern edge of the Keystone route have banded together to try and prevent the pipeline from being approved. The Cowboy Indian Alliance has scheduled a protest.
On April 22, members of the group will ride into Washington D.C. and set up camp near the White House to urge the president not to approve the pipeline. The bigger part of the protest -- the one where they are expecting a ton of people to show up -- is scheduled for April 27.
"The name, I think, rocked people a little bit," Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska, one of the groups involved in the alliance, said. "The name comes from an alliance in the 80s and 90s between ranchers and tribes. It's a little politically incorrect now, but when we brought everyone together on this we decided to revive it."
While most people would assume that landowners --- cowboys, ranchers and the like -- would be on opposite sides with the tribes, Kleeb says people overlook that they all have the land in common. "The tribes and the farmers and ranchers all share this very spiritual connection to the land we live on," Kleeb said.