Action at Lower Brule; No Pipelines on Lakota Land | Owe Aku Bring Back the Way &International Justice Project

Owe Aku Intl Justice Project

720 W. 173rd Street #59

New York, NY  10032


Owe Aku Bring Back the Way

P.O. Box 325

Manderson, SD 57756

Today, the grassroots people of Kul Wicasa Oyate (who live on the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe reservation along the Missouri River in South Dakota) have demonstrated their opposition to the development of a power line infrastructure planned by Basin Electric which is a key component supplying electricity for the use of the KXL Pipeline.  The substation would be located on Lakota Treaty Territory as well as being on the reservation of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.  The Lower Brule substation is to be located two miles from the Big Bend Damn.  The peaceful gathering was organized by the people of the Kul Wicasa Oyate when an informational meeting was announced by Basin Electric about the substation.  Relatives from the Rosebud and Cheyenne River reservations, as well as allies from Owe Aku on the Pine Ridge Reservation including a contingent of anti-pipeline supporters from up and down the route of the “black snake” all traveled to Lower Brule to support the Kul Wicasa grassroots people.    

The opposition began when the Kul Wicasa people discovered that their IRA Tribal Council had clandestinely signed an agreement with TransCanada regarding the construction of a power generation plant to move tarsands bitumen through the KXL pipeline, The thick, corrosive nature of tarsands oil (which in its natural state is the consistency of peanut butter) requires a constant temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit and necessary dilutants to liquify it enough to be slurried through the pipeline. 

This increasing demand for electricity forces the need for the additional power station at Lower Brule. Transmission studies indicate the current system has reached its load limit.   The 230-kV transmission line would impact the landscape along the Missouri River.  This area provides a recreational and tourism based economy to the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.  According to TransCanada’s own Supplemental Environmental Impact Study, “the 75-mile transmission line would have a 125-foot-wide right of way; therefore, approximately 1,150 acres of land would be affected by construction… An average of 6.6 support structures per mile would be required. The average height of the structures would be 110 feet, and each would span an average of 800 feet.” The proximity to the Big Bend Damn Power Damn and Power station makes it apparent Missouri River water will be used to produce electricity.

Banners were held outside the small meeting room opposing the Pipeline and the power station.  The room in which the “informational” meeting was held could not accommodate the number of people wanting to have their voices of resistance heard.  Afterwards a silent walk-through of tribal offices was led by the grassroots people of the Kul Wicasa Oyate followed by dozens of Lakota relatives and all our allies.  The silent walk through was a demonstration of the people’s inability to be heard by their Tribal Council led by President Jandreau, who has held that position for at least 20 years.  Alex White Plume of Owe Aku stated “A decision was made without asking anybody.  That’s not Lakota.”  Today’s action demonstrates the determination of Lakota people to protect sacred water by building unity and standing on our sacred ground.  Please see for information on Owe Aku and their project to support sacred or …. .org.  Please share and retweet…  Wopila.

© John Kent Lebsock 2016