Call To Action Urgent Meeting

March 17



No KXL in Treaty Territory

March 11

Pipeline Fighters Unite to Protect Future Generation’s Water and Land

Message to Obama – Reject and Protect.

Oceti Sakowin Territory – Just three days before the U.S. Department of State’s public comment period ended on the TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline Project (KXL), Pipeline Fighters and Water Protectors from across South Dakota and Nebraska gathered for a meeting in Winner, SD, hosted by the Ihanktonwan Treaty Council and the Brave Heart Society to discuss direct-action campaign strategies that will include grassroots spiritual camps along the Keystone XL corridor, as well as a National event to be held the third week of April, 2014, with the message to President Obama - “Reject and Protect”.


The Promised Time For Our Indigenous Nations to Take Unprecedented Unified Action is Now!

February 12

From Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr.:

“After hundreds of years of on-going violations of Nation to Nation Treaties by the Governments of Canada and the US, supported by Multinational Natural Resource Extraction Industry, here and globally, it is clear that closing down the ever-increasing destruction of the Alberta Tar Sands and related Pipe Lines and Tankers, or ending other environmental destruction occurring on Indigenous Territories everywhere on Mother Earth, will take culturally- spiritually based, principle-centered, and unprecedented, unified action of Indigenous North Americans, Indigenous Communities globally, and their Allies, including, supportive NGO's, Citizens of Canada, the US, and other related International Support, never before seen or actualized. 

This unprecedented unified action will only be achieved by fully revitalizing our spiritually based, cultural traditions, values and guiding principles and standing together and acting from within our own inherent, Indigenous Legal Orders, as reflected by Treaties and Declarations like, the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands Projects, the Save the Frazier Declaration, the Yinka-Dene Alliance and the Rights of Mother Earth, The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other related Treaties and Declarations, in coordination with supportive and unbiased dimensions of the International Legal Order.

white-buffalo.jpgIt has been demonstrated, time after time, that this needed unity and unprecedented, principle-centered action for social and environmental justice will not be able to be realized through the Canadian, US or other Legal Orders of Nation States that continue to destroy Mother Earth, disrespect Human Rights and violate their own Treaties In fact, from my perspective, if you polled most Indigenous communities in Canada and the US, they would agree that most of our Treaties have long since been violated and broken and therefore are null and void. And in all justice, whatever we gave up, in spirit and intent, when these Treaties were made with Canada and the US should be justly returned. In the case of British Columbia First Nations territories were simply illegally and unjustly seized and their inherent Aboriginal Legal has never ceded or surrendered. 

Unless this Unity in Diversity, based in the full consciousness of the Oneness of the Human Family and all Life, is achieved, all that is envisioned in regard to the full development of the Tar Sands, including Pipe Lines and Oil Tankers, by the Governments of Canada and the US, the Multinational Oil Companies they serve and other related supporters, will be actualized in short order. Only a level of unity, never before achieved or, in some cases, even imagined, will be able to stop these unsustainable, environmentally destructive, corrupt and devastating forces, centered in an ideology of privilege, elitism, unbridled materialism, greed and economic gain, at whatever the cost. 

If allowed to continue, these unsustainable, environmentally destructive and devastating global forces will very negatively and profoundly impact our Human Family and Mother Earth for many, many generations to come. It is more than time for unified, principle-centered, global action to Protect and Restore the Sacred by Indigenous Peoples and our dedicated allies of the Human Family!

In summary, It is crystal clear, there will be no just and ultimate resolution to the broken treaties between Indigenous Sovereign Nations across Canada and the US, and the illegal seizure and confiscation of never surrendered and unceded territories (British Columbia) within the Canadian and US Legal Orders that broke their own treaties and illegally seized the lands of other Sovereign Nations! Canada and the US broke their promises, Indigenous Peoples didn’t. 



October 31

In response to the rising tide of tribal opposition to the KXL Pipeline, slated to destructively cut through numerous sacred sites and to compromise the safety of land and water for all citizens; several tribes and allies of the Ponca, are participating in a Spiritual Camp on the Ponca Trail of Tears, near Neeligh Nebraska, on November 8-13, 2013. 

The KXL Pipeline cuts a swatch through the historic Ponca Trail of Tears, the forced migration route for the Southern Ponca who were exiled from their homelands in Northern Nebraska, during the 1800’s. The famous Ponca leader who challenged the government and eventually returned to his homelands was Chief Standing Bear, now buried near Niobrara, NE.

With this new erosion of tribal rights, now with a foreign company, tribal families are saying “enough.”  The entire area of the KXL Pipeline cuts through Treaty and aboriginal lands without respect to water rights, sacred sites and threats to the environment. 

The SPIRITUAL CAMP ON THE PONCA TRAIL OF TEARS is the first of FOUR TRIBAL SPIRITUAL CAMPS that will be slated to take place this fall and winter of 2013. The other three will take place in South Dakota which is 1851 and 1868 Treaty Territory.  The four camps are scheduled  to send a strong message to President Obama, Congress and Transcanada, that this Pipeline will not be allowed.  The other participating tribes are in South Dakota, in the area of the Seven Council Fires or “OCETI SAKOWIN”.  These groups see this as necessary to protect the “rights of Mother Earth or Ina Maka.

Entities that are supporting this effort are the Protect the Sacred Campaign, Southern Ponca families; other Dakota/Lakota/Nakota bands of the Oceti Sakowin and the Cowboy and Indian Alliance.  The CIA or Cowboy and Indian Alliance is a historic unification of ranchers/farmers and Native peoples who are creating a powerful coalition against Tar Sands and pipeline development.  Media are invited to record this historic event.  For more information contact Faith Spotted Eagle, 605 481 0416( or Jane Kleeb at 402 705 3622.


Treaty Signing Ceremony and Background on Gathering

January 31

On January 23rd through 25th 2013 we co-hosted the Gathering to Protect the Sacred from the Tar Sands and Keystone XL Pipeline.  Here are two remarkable videos. 

The first video is the Grand Council Signing Ceremony that took place on Friday, January 25th with assembled Elected Leadership, Treaty Council Members, Traditional Leaders, Societies, and their Allies signing the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands Projects.  The video features Tantoo Cardinal, Chief Rueben George, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Faith Spotted Eagle, Chief Phil Lane Jr., and others. 

The second video is an overview and background on how the Gathering and this new International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands Projects came into form as told by Faith Spotted Eagle, Brave Heart Society member and First Native American woman to sign such a treaty! This video was recorded and produced by Ashley Young from the Feather Project:

We invite you to engage and be a part of the campaign to Protect the Sacred.  You can volunteer here.


International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands Projects

January 26

Signed on January 25th 2013

International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands Projects

The representatives from sovereign Indigenous Nations, tribes, and governments, participating in the Gathering to Protect the Sacred on January 23 – 25, 2013, on the 150 year anniversary of the Treaty Between the Pawnee and Yankton Sioux, have gathered on the Ihanktonwan homelands, and have resolved by our free, prior, and informed consent to enter into a treaty to be forever respected and protected. We agreed upon the following articles:

Article I

The undersigned Indigenous Peoples have inhabited and governed our respective territories according to our laws and traditions since time immemorial.

Article II

As sovereign nations, we have entered into bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements with other nations including the Treaty Between the Pawnee and Yankton Sioux, Mother Earth Accord, the Spiritual Leaders Declaration, the Agreement to Unite to use 16 Guiding Principles, and the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council Declaration, and all the inter-tribal treaties in the Western hemisphere, among others, which promise peace, friendship, and mutual opposition to tar sands projects and energy development that threaten the lands, the waters, the air, our sacred sites, and our ways of life, and acknowledge other Indigenous Peoples such as the Yinka Dene, the People of the Earth’ who have exercised their lawful authority to ban tar sands projects from their territories through Indigenous legal instruments such as the Save the Fraser Declaration and the Coastal First Nations Declaration.

Article III

We act with inherent, lawful, and sovereign authority over our lands, waters, and air, as recognized by Article 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which provides:

States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.

 Article IV

We mutually agree that tar sands projects present unacceptable risks to the soil, the waters, the air, sacred sites, and our ways of life including:

-       The destruction of rivers, lakes, boreal forests, homelands and health of the Cree, Dene, and Métis peoples in the Northern Alberta tar sands region and downstream Dene communities of Northwest Territories

-       The threat of pipeline and tanker oil spills into major river systems, aquifers and water bodies such as the Salish Sea, the North Pacific coast, and the Ogallala Aquifer.

-       The negative cumulative health and ecological impacts of tar sands projects on Indigenous Communities.

-       The irreparable harm to irreplaceable cultural resources, burial grounds, sacred and historic places, natural resources, and environmental resources of the central plains region which is the aboriginal homelands of many Indigenous Nations.

-       Greenhouse gas pollution that could lock the planet onto a path of catastrophic climate change.

Article V

We affirm that our laws define our solemn duty and responsibility to our ancestors, to ourselves, and to future generations, to protect the lands and waters of our homelands and we agree to mutually and collectively oppose tar sands projects which would impact our territories, including but not limited to the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, the Enbridge Northern Gateway, Enbridge lines nine (9) and sixty-seven (67), or the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker projects.

 Article VI

We agree to mutually and collectively, as sovereign nations, call upon the Canadian and United States governments to respect our decision to reject tar sands projects that impact our sacred sites and homelands; to call upon the Canadian and United States governments to immediately halt and deny approval for pending tar sands projects because they threaten the soil, water, air, sacred sites, and our ways of life; and, confirm that any such approval would violate our ancestral laws, rights and responsibilities.

Article VII

We agree to the mutual, collective, and lawful enforcement of our responsibilities to protect our lands, waters, and air by all means necessary, and if called on to do so, we will exercise our peace and friendship by lawfully defending one another’s lands, waters, air, and sacred sites from the threat of tar sands projects, provided that each signatory Indigenous Nation reserves and does not cede their rights to act independently as the tribal governments see fit to protect their respective tribal interests, further provided that each signatory Indigenous Nation reserves its inherent sovereign right to take whatever governmental action and strategy that its governing body sees fit to best protect and advance tribal interests affected by the pipeline project consistent with the agreements made herein and subject to the laws and available resources of each respective nation.

This Treaty of mutual defense and support is made on the occasion of the 150 year anniversary of the Treaty Between the Pawnee and Yankton Sioux concluded between the Pawnee Nation and the Ihanktonwan Oyate/Yankton Sioux Tribe on January 23rd, 1863, and the parties thereto hereby commemorate the signing of that historic treaty that has endured without violation for 150 years.

This Treaty goes into effect once ratified by the governing bodies of the signatory nations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned dually authorized representatives, after having deposited their full powers found to be in due and proper form, sign this treaty on behalf of their respective governments, on the date appearing opposite their signatures.




January 2013


We the Indigenous Peoples Organizations, levels of government, businesses, unions and non-governmental organizations, and undersigned citizens, hereby recognize and commit ourselves to upholding the January 2013 International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands Projects:


Declaration of Commitment - Protect the Sacred

January 22

Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples

In support of Protect the Sacred, we would like to share this Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples.  The Declaration was presented to members of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers in Albuquerque, New Mexico in September 2012.

One of the tenets of this Declaration is the call for “collaboration with Indigenous communities and institutions to optimize our collective learning and healing in this pivotal time for all humanity.”  Protect the Sacred is a time for collaboration and collective action.

The Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples is provided in its entirety below.  To sign the Declaration, please visit:

To view a video of the presentation of the Declaration, please visit: 

In Peace and Gratitude,

Philip M. Hellmich
Director of Peace
The Shift Network

Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples

Humanity faces a time in our evolving story when we must harvest our deepest collective wisdom in order to survive and even thrive as a healthy, peaceful and sustainable planetary civilization.

In the course of humanity’s journey we have many great achievements to celebrate and honor but we have to acknowledge what has been misguided, damaging to each other and harmful to all life. It is time for healing and a new beginning.

Great skill is now needed to reconnect the bonds of our collective interdependence on behalf of all of Earth’s diverse peoples and cultures and to restore an original contract with our planet’s eco-system and its intricate design for all life.

We cannot evolve skillfully at this vital juncture in our collective story if we fail to integrate the teachings of our wisdom keepers.

Both reason and conscience require that the precious wisdom of Earth’s Indigenous peoples be fully acknowledged. Their skillful ways of living in harmony with Nature and its laws have too often been marginalized and ignored.

Humanity has paid a great price for destructive actions committed against Indigenous peoples. In the name of religion, profit and progress, some of humanity’s greatest knowledge about the interrelationship of all life forms has been placed in jeopardy.

Increasing numbers of people now recognize the importance of supporting the transmission of this essential wisdom.

It is in this spirit of deep recognition and appreciation for the value of Indigenous wisdom that we, the signatories to this declaration, hereby proclaim our commitment to the following:

Apology is due to Indigenous peoples for the suppression and violation of their cultures and ways of being. We invite communities, institutions, local authorities and governments to formally and informally offer sincere apology for past actions that resulted in cultural oppression and denigration.

Responsibility for past violations, wounding and discrimination must be expressed in truthful historical narratives and educational materials. We recommend the formation of local and national initiatives to take responsibility for the past and explore the nature of Indigenous wisdom. We encourage support for the production of a wide array of accessible media and curricular materials to set the record straight and ensure the accurate and appropriate transmission of Native wisdom teachings.

Reconciliation must be sought so that healing may occur between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. We call on representatives of public and private institutions to seek ways to engage in meaningful acts and processes of reconciliation through ceremony, presentations and gatherings.

Collaboration in multiple contexts relating to health, environment, sustainable economies and educational opportunities will constitute an essential dimension of expressing sincere apology, acknowledging responsibility and fostering reconciliation. To these ends we encourage collaboration with Indigenous communities and institutions to optimize our collective learning and healing in this pivotal time for all humanity.

We, the undersigned, pledge our commitment to these ideals and the promotion of concrete actions to support respect for Indigenous peoples, a shared partnership for life on Earth and the transmission of our collective wisdom:

(Click here to see signatories and to sign:


A Matter of Honor: First Nations Appeal to the Queen, Remind Canadian Leaders About Treaties

January 18

We invited Jacob Devaney, Founder and Director of Culture Collective, to share his recent article from Huffington Post!  Jacob has offered to blog about the Gathering to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands and Keystone XL.  Thank you Jacob!  In support of the gathering he wrote us this paragraph as well:

“Don't escalate, educate! As the momentum and the frustration builds, with actions all across Canada, the call from the elders of the movement has continued to be non-violence. This is of utmost importance because we cannot afford to jeopardize the moral high-ground and public support of the movement. We all know that even the slightest outbreak of violence will be exploited by the media and powers that hope to silence the voice of Native People.”

A Matter of Honor: First Nations Appeal to The Queen, Remind Canadian Leaders About Treaties

 Words have power, many cultures believe that a person's word is what defines them more than any of their possessions or titles. Religious texts such as The Bible agree, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1. Yet today we have lawyers, lawsuits, treaties, and contracts to validate what used to be an issue of individual honor born of honest and virtuous actions. Since the trees, the waterways, and the air we breathe have an eternal quality, any agreements to protect them should not expire over time or be assimilated into the passing ideologies of ages. First Nations People have known this since the original settlers arrived from the east. Though the current passing ideology that allows for the exploitation of nature for mineral, oil, and gas is more powerful than most institutions on the planet, it is unable to bend truths that are self-evident and of an eternal quality. The Idle No More Movement is here to remind us. To the leaders who have sold themselves to the false and passing ideology of infinite resource exploitation for short-term monetary or political gain, it is time to awaken and join your fellow humans for the sake of honoring the life that sustains us all.

Before we get to the beautiful unfolding drama that includes a letter to The Queen of England, let's take a moment to understand a little bit of background thanks to information compiled by Lawyers Rights Watch Canada:

 Lawyers Watch Canada

There is enough information like this to fill hundreds of blogs, but this gives you an idea of the conditions that First Nations People have endured for a long while. You can also learn more about human rights issues by reading the statement from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples in Canada.

It is very important to note that the founding principles of The United States Government, modeled in Canada and The United Nations, are borrowed from The First Nations Haudenosaunee's (Iroquois) Great Law of Peace, which is the oldest living participatory democracy on earth. This is very important because natives signed treaties as allies to the Crown, not as subjects or conquered people. The historic relationship with the Crown accounts for native people fighting and dying as allies in the wars leading to the formation of Canada including the Seven Years War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812.

In my previous article, Idle No More: Hints of a Global Super-Movement, I closed with a powerful and eloquent speech by an 11 year-old Sliammon girl named Ta'Kaiya Blaney. Elders of The Sliammon Nation have written a letter to The Queen of England asking her to act honorably where The Canadian Government has fallen short.

Colonial culture has brought many great things to the world, yet it has also left a path of destruction and dishonor. Imperial forces may take lives and land by force, but honorable respect can only be gained through virtuous action. We have an opportunity to understand this history through a lens of knowledge and compassion to heal historical wounds and restore honor. To own our shortcomings as a people is also to own power to make them right. Below are a few excerpts from the letter with some portions left out as they are meant only for The Queens eyes.

Please visit: to read the rest of the article. By "liking" the article and sharing it through Twitter, Facebook, etc. you are helping to exert political and public pressure on The Queen. It will be harder for the Crown to ignore this issue when they understand that the general public is educated.



Four World's Guiding Principles for Building a Sustainable and Harmonious World

January 16

path.jpgThese 16 principles for building a sustainable and harmonious world community emerged from a 36-year process of reflection, consultation and action within Indigenous communities across the Americas. They are rooted in the concerns of hundreds of aboriginal elders and leaders and thinkers, as well as in the best thinking of many non-aboriginal scholars, researchers and human and community development practitioners.

These guiding principles constitute the foundation for the process of healing and developing ourselves (mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually), your human relationships (personal; social, political, economic, and cultural) and our relationship with Mother Earth.

They describe the way we must work and what we must protect and cherish.

We offer these principles as a gift to all who seek to build a sustainable and harmonious world community.



We speak as one, guided by the sacred teachings and spiritual traditions of the Four Directions that uplift, guide, protect, warn, inspire and challenge the entire human family to live in ways that sustain and enhance human life and the life of all who dwell on Mother Earth, and hereby dedicate our lives and energies to healing and developing ourselves, the web of relationships that make our world, and the way we live with Mother Earth.



Starting from within, working in a circle, in a sacred manner,

we heal ourselves, our relationships and our world.



Human Beings Can Transform Their World

The web of our relationships with others and the natural world, which has given rise to the problems we face as a human family, can be changed. 

Development Comes From Within

The process of human and community development unfolds from within each person, relationship, family organization, community or nation.

No Vision, No Development

A vision of who we can become and what a sustainable world would be like, works as a powerful magnet, drawing us to our potential.

Healing Is A Necessary Part Of Development

Healing the past, closing up old wounds and learning healthy habits of thought and action to replace dysfunctional thinking and disruptive patterns of human relations is a necessary part of the process of sustainable development.




Everything is connected to everything else; therefore, any aspect of our healing and development is related to all the others (personal, social, cultural, political, economic, etc.). When we work on any one part, the whole circle is affected.

No Unity, No Development

Unity means oneness. Without unity, the common oneness that makes (seemingly) separate human beings into ‘community’ is impossible. Disunity is the primary disease of community.

No Participation, No Development

Participation is the active engagement of the minds, hearts and energy of the people in the process of their own healing and development.


Every person (regardless of gender, race, age, culture, religion) must be accorded equal opportunity to participate in the process of healing and development, and to receive a fair share of the benefits. 3




Human beings are both material and spiritual in nature. It is therefore inconceivable that human community could become whole and sustainable without bringing our lives into balance with the requirements of our spiritual nature.

Morals And Ethics

Sustainable human and community development requires a moral foundation centered in the wisdom of the heart. When this foundation is lost, morals and ethical principles decline and development stops.

The Hurt Of One Is The Hurt Of All: The Honor Of One Is The Honor Of All

The basic fact of our oneness as a human family means that development for some at the expense of well being for others is not acceptable or sustainable.

Authentic Development Is Culturally Based

Healing and development must be rooted in the wisdom, knowledge and living processes of the culture of the people.





Human beings are learning beings. We begin learning while we are still in our mother’s wombs, and unless something happens to close off our minds and paralyze our capacities, we keep learning throughout our entire lives. Learning is at the core of healing and development.


To sustain something means to enable it to continue for a long time. Authentic development does not use up or undermine what it needs to keep on going.

Move To The Positive

Solving the critical problems in our lives and communities is best approached by visualizing and moving into the positive alternative that we wish to create, and by building on the strengths we already have, rather than on giving away our energy fighting the negative.

Be The Change You Want To See

The most powerful strategies for change always involve positive role modeling and the creation of living examples of the solutions we are proposing. By walking the path, we make the path visible.

 Eagle and the Condor


Treaty between the Pawnee Nation and the Yankton Sioux Tribe of 1863

January 13

The following post was authored by Gordon Adams, the Historical Preservation Officer for the Pawnee Nation

1863 was a year of extreme violence and turmoil for all American populations, especially those living on the American Great Plains.  The Great Plains is a geographic term describing that land between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains, and the Dakotas to present day Oklahoma.  Under the Great Plains lies the vast Ogallala Aquifer, its potable water source. Great Plains demographics at that time were composed mainly of American Indian Nations, homesteaders, ranchers, military units, railroad constructors, and those travelling. These demographics broke down into three factions primarily involved in an ugly day-to-day struggle for survival and use of the land.  This struggle pitted Native American Nations who had occupied the Great Plains for centuries against two other factions intent upon disestablishing them: 1) American homesteaders, ranchers, travelers, railroaders, and military units, and 2) one another.  Orchestrators of the struggle were preoccupied with the American Civil War.  Such were the social dynamics of the 1863 Great Plains – Antidisestablishmentarianist Nations against usurpers.

            On January 23, 1863, a document entitled the Treaty between the Pawnee Nation and the Yankton Sioux Tribe was signed by six representatives of the Pawnee Nation and six representatives of the Yankton Sioux tribe. Both groups of delegates, interpreters, and other entourage travelled to the Ponca Reserve in Niobrara, Nebraska for this unique, innovative, and historic ceremony.  In 1915, Hon. George W. Kingsbury wrote of the treaty in his History of Dakota Territory:

It was the first treaty between Indians that was reduced to written terms that we have record of… [it was] A treaty for the establishment of peace and restoration of friendship, made and concluded in grand council at the peace village on the Ponca Reservation in the Territory of Dakota. 

EarthShield2.jpgUnlike over 300 treaties American government made with the “wild Indian tribes,” the treaty between the Pawnee people and the Yankton Sioux people made on that bitterly cold Nebraska day stands intact after 150 years.  None of the American made Treaties remain. The Reaffirmation Ceremony on January 23, 2013 at a peace village near Wagner, SD will attest to the quality and endurance of Native American Treaties and their promises to one another. 

However, this Reaffirmation Ceremony not only attests to the Treaty’s endurance, it will also herald the formal unification of the Great Nations of the Pawnee and Yankton Sioux people in their present struggle to protect against destruction of their Sacred Sites, the Cemeteries in which their ancestors rest, and the Ogallala Aquifer from which flows drinking water for the entire Midwestern American population. All are threatened by TransCanada and their proposed construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline through which will flow toxic material into the Pawnee and Yankton Sioux ancestral homeland.  The Pawnee and Yankton Sioux people stand united against this travesty.


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Unprecedented Unified Action to Protect Sacred Mother Earth