South Dakota's Tribes are trying to put up a united front in their resistance to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. If approved, it would run from Canada through South Dakota to the Texas Gulf Coast.
However, many Lower Brule tribal members are concerned that their government is cooperating with TransCanada by agreeing to allow power to run from the Big Bend Dam to the pipeline route near Witten.
"We don't think this is right. We want transparency, not just in our government but also in the federal government. And amongst our relatives as well - whether or not this pipeline is going to go through and whether or not this vital infrastructure is going to go through as well, because we hold the linchpin as to whether or not this pump station will be powered. Because where else are they going to get the energy from?" said Lower Brule tribal member Nick Estes.
The Lower Brule government has denied making any agreement concerning their dam. But KSFY News has received a copy of a resolution from November 12th, 2013 bearing Chairman Michael Jandreau's signature, authorizing him to sign a letter to President Obama and Secretary John Kerry acknowledging the potential benefits of a working relationship between the Tribe and TransCanada.
Thursday, Lower Brule Vice Chairman Boyd Gourneau said he would not share the letter in question, but he says it exists as only a contingency - in the event that the pipeline is approved by President Obama. That decision is expected within the next few months.
Gourneau points out that this is an election year in Lower Brule and believes political opponents are circulating the resolution. To view the resolution, click on the link provided.