Farm Couple Returns 1.6 Acres to Ponca Tribe in Bid to Block Keystone XL Pipeline
In what Bold Nebraska is calling an “historic first”, farmers Art and Helen Tanderup signed a deed last week to transfer 1.6 acres of ancestral land back to the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.
It’s a move “that could challenge the proposed path of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline—and acknowledges the U.S. government’s long history of abusing Native Americans and forcing them off their lands,” the Common Dreams news site reports. As a result, the Omaha World-Herald noted, “TransCanada will have to negotiate with a new landowner, one that has special legal status as a tribe.”
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The land transfer “was celebrated by members of the Ponca Tribe as well as environmental advocates who oppose the construction of the pipeline and continue to demand a total transition to renewable energy,” Common Dreams notes.
“We want to protect this land,” said tribal chair Larry Wright Jr. “We don’t want to see a pipeline go through.” So “it’s an honour to be here today to celebrate this gracious and generous donation to the Ponca Nation. This event is another step to healing old wounds and bringing our people together again to a land once ours.”
“The Ponca and people of this community continue to build strong relationships as they work in collaborative efforts,” agreed Art Tanderup. “It is only fitting, out of the tragedy of the Ponca Trail of Tears, that a small piece of this historic trail be transferred to them.”
“While TransCanada is trampling on Indigenous rights to fatten their bottom line, Native leaders are resisting by building renewable energy solutions like solar panels in the path of the pipeline,” said 350.org executive director May Boeve. “Repatriating this land to the Ponca Tribe raises new challenges for the Keystone XL pipeline and respects the leadership of Native nations in the fight against the fossil fuel industry.”