Native American leaders storm out of Keystone XL talks

Photo from Protect the Sacred meeting in South Dakota
Native American leaders from eleven tribes pulled out of talks with US federal officials over the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, which they say would damage the environment and pollute their ancestral lands. 
The leaders were to scheduled meet government representatives in Rapid City, South Dakota on Thursday. But they walked out before discussion started, seeing that the government had sent what they believed to be low-ranking officials to meet them. 

“I will only meet with President Obama,” Bryan Brewer, the president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, told RT.  

Attendees of the short-lived meeting included members of the Southern Ponca, Pawnee Nation, Nez Perce Nation, and members of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires People), including Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Ihanktonwan Dakota (Yankton Sioux), Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Standing Rock Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.

They argued that the tribes had not been properly consulted over the 1,897-kilometer pipeline, as a U.S. State Department report had claimed. 

Currently, the tribal leaders, along with their Canadian counterparts, are working to use their treaty rights to block the Keystone XL pipeline, which critics argue will "lock in" seven billion tonnes of climate pollution over the next 40 years. The tribes also object to the proposed oil pipeline going through sacred ancestral burial grounds. 

In January, Canadian and U.S. tribes signed the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred Against the Tar Sands to oppose the further development of oil sands in Alberta, which would carry bitumen over vital water sources such as the Ogallala aquifer if the Keystone XL were built.   

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