'Indian Girl Lost In The Man Camp,' Ledger Art by John Isaiah Pepion at

Obama, Standing Rock, and the Keystone XL Pipeline: The Shortest Thing About Skins Column Ever

Gyasi Ross

President Obama is on the Standing Rock Reservation day to do something that is long overdue—thank Native people for their constant support of him.  We supported him en masse before he was even the Democratic nominee in 2008, when he was supposed to lose to Hilary Clinton (yes, she was the presumptive nominee at that time).  Now he is finally doing the right thing—coming through one of our communities to say thank you. 

A few beliefs that I hold:

1)     It will be a combination of a) Indigenous resistance, b) the President’s (and Nation’s!) enormous debt to Native people, and c) simple economics that kills the planet-destroying Keystone XL Pipeline.

2)     There is no such thing as coincidence.

3)     There’s a reason why President Obama happens to want to come to the very heart of where this atrocity—the Keystone XL Pipeline—would pass through.

4)     At heart, despite many, many political compromises (which are the nature of the job, unfortunately), President Obama is a good man who wants what’s best for the planet and all of its residents.

5)     Therefore, he is going to Standing Rock—to Indian Country—to feel the power of the Indigenous resistance to dirty oil, so his spirit can feel the ancestors compel him to do the right thing.

 All my relations who are out there today, speak loudly.  Your voice WILL be heard.  He wants to hear it.

Gyasi Ross
Blackfeet Nation/Suquamish Territories
New Book, How to Say I Love You in Indian—order today!!
Twitter: @BigIndianGyasi


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HontasF's picture
Submitted by HontasF on
I hope you are right. As unneeded as a new pipe line is, it says something that it's being routed through so much NDN country. Why not send it through say...Wisconsin and Illinois? We know the answer.

Sammy7's picture
Submitted by Sammy7 on
I respectfully disagree with Gyasi Ross regarding #4, " At heart, despite many, many political compromises (which are the nature of the job, unfortunately), President Obama is a good man who wants what’s best for the planet and all of its residents." In my opinion there is little to suggest that President Obama is anything but a sociopath. I believe that he cannot be trusted. To me, he will likely be charged as a war criminal, has failed to prosecute the banksters, has failed to live up to his constitutional responsibilities as evidenced by his support of the National Defense Authorization Act Section 1021, which allows the military to disappear any American citizen without the right to defend themselves. He speaks as if he is for the people but in fact his policies support the 1%. He is definitely not for the planet and has officially fought efforts to confront and controll carbon emissions at world conferences. He supports American Empire under the guise of globalism. I see this outwardly appearing benign likable person as a calculating self serving monster who scrapped the constitution and established a working Fascist Police State. He seems a death token and I will not willingly follow him to my demise.

Sammy7's picture
Submitted by Sammy7 on
This statement is made with the understanding that wisdom and truth are found in all thoughtful and respectful comments. Discernment is a gift, and weather it exists in the following words is your choice. In my opinion Obama is speaking to Indian Country to divide us. His offerings seem mere trinkets designed to divide us and blunt opposition of his eventual approval of the Keystone Pipeline. To me his words are meaningless and harmful. I suggest that only his deeds are meaningful and his deeds have harmed Mother Earth. Let us not be charmed into relinquishing the interests of Mother Earth for a mirage. We have walked that road too many times. See this visit for what I believe it to be, an arrogant belief that the First Peoples are mentally deficient and will succumb to his charm and misleading words. Stand firm. Only deeds, done deals, can be acceptable. Make it clear to him that if he does not reject the Keystone Pipeline via law, not words, that Indian Country will not be a part of the Democratic Coalition of interest groups in future elections. I do not suggest Indian Country be a part of Republican support either. Today both political parties’ policies support the interests of the 1%, and an American Police State greater than any previous one in history. We should not be the dumb victims that I suggest Obama believes we are. We are not Uncle Tom Tom’s.

Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
While many people oppose Mr. Obama & what he does as a politician, I will tell you something. Not one thing gets passed UNLESS Congress agrees for it to. Sure, a president can veto something that comes to his desk, but if Congress disagrees with that veto they most certainly CAN & DO reverse things a president approves or disapproves of by merely getting the votes among their fellow Congressional members, regardless of political party & over-ride that presidential veto. ......................................................................................................................... So my friends out here in Indian Country do not be so hard on a president & blame him for things you disapprove of that he does or gets voted into law. He can only get bills, laws & legislation approved or disapproved by a Congress's nod or approval or disapproval. ......................................................................................................................... Not one thing goes on in politics that gets by Congress. If they disapproved of something a president signs into law or veto's that THEY want, they hold the ultimate power to make sure nothing passes into law. So when you don't like what a president approves & signs into law one way or another, don't blame that president, blame Congress for doing nothing. Their silence is THEIR approval of a president's actions or inactions in matters of legislation & laws. Blame Congress & not the president!