Reconciliation Pipeline? Efforts to stop Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline just got really messy

A few years ago I saw the powerful indigenous-made documentary Red Power Energy. It highlighted Indian Country’s divergent views on mining and resource management. It featured Native Nations in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Some Nations were mining coal and drilling oil as part of their economic development plans. Others rejected resource extraction in favor of sustainable wind farms and solar arrays.

I recalled that film when I read the latest news out of Canada on the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. An indigenous-led group called “Project Reconciliation” is proposing to buy a majority stake in the pipeline. They are calling it the “Reconciliation Pipeline,” and using the tagline: “There’s a pipeline to reconciliation. We should take it.” According to its website:

Through majority Indigenous ownership, it [the pipeline] can improve Indigenous lives throughout the West. How? By returning profits made from shipping resources to market to the traditional owners of the land from which those resources came.

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Indian Country is Divided on Mining Coal, Drilling for Oil; More Clashes Ahead

Many Native nations united to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline because of its impact on Mother Earth and its threat to sacred water. But Indian Country is divided on fossil fuel development. Some tribes are mining coal and extracting gas as a source of jobs, income, and autonomy.

That said, Native rights will continue to clash with energy companies’ expansion plans and Trump administration energy policies.

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Upcoming Native American Documentaries, Storytelling, and Food Drives

There has been plenty of news coverage and fundraising appeals regarding Native-led efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. However, there are any number of ways to learn about and support Native American communities. Opportunities include attending free upcoming Native American documentary screenings, an evening of traditional Native American story telling (also free), and supporting food drives to help Native American families.

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