Call to Protect the Sacredness of the Salish Sea

July 17


Dear Friends and Allies,

We invite you to join with us on a historic journey to Protect the Sacredness of the Salish Sea. There are significant increasing risks and threats to our beautiful region as well as inspiring solutions for how we can respond as a community.

There is powerful and unparalleled leadership coming from the First Nations in British Columbia and Native Americans in Washington state. Now is the time to come together and we invite all of us who live in this region to unite in “unprecedented unified action” to Protect and Restore the Salish Sea.

In September there will be 4 Days of Action from September 20th through September 23rd culminating in a signing of the International Treaty to Protect the Sacredness of the Salish Sea.

To find out more details here, is a link to a brief one-page description:

We invite you to the "Call to Protect the Salish Sea", a 90 minute tele-conferene that will take place on July 29th at 12:00 PM. The call will be hosted by Sundance Chief Rueben George from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr.


Happy Earth Day - Reject KXL and Protect the Sacred

April 22

There is a story of "unprecedented unified action" unfolding as unlikely parties have come together to protect and restore our sacred Mother Earth. First Nations, Native Americans, and their allies, in the form of ranchers, farmers, landowners, lawyers, educators, activists, environmentalists, faith and spiritual leaders and others are teaming up to stop all tar sands projects; to challenge us to confront our dependency on fossil fuels, demand that we accelerate the shift to renewable energy, and stop destroying our planet.
The recent delay by President Obama on the Keystone XL pipeline is not just connected to the courts in Nebraska; the actions in the Dakotas and Nebraska come as the most unlikely of parties are joining forces. There are international treaties being signed between sovereign nations to stop the tar sands projects from all directions. There are prayer and spiritual camps being set up along the KXL pipeline route. First Nations, Native Americans and their allies have come together to form the Cowboy Indian Alliance (CIA).  This new CIA is engaged and working cooperatively like never before to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. 

A video message – “Obama's 50 Wounded Knees????” has been prepared for President Obama reminding him of the names he was given and the promises he has made. This video message is a call to remember and awaken to our common home and shared destiny. 


Obama's 50 Wounded Knees????

April 20

There is a story unfolding today of "unprecedented unified action". Some of the most unlikely parties are coming together to protect and restore our sacred Mother Earth. First Nations, Native Americans, and their Allies in the form of ranchers, farmers, lawyers, educators, activists, environmentalists, faith and spiritual leaders and others are teaming up to stop all tar sands projects; to call us to confront our dependency on fossil fuels, and to demand that we start the shift to renewable energy sources and stop destroying the earth. 

The motivation to come together is not driven by the insatiable desire to grow without limits, consume more precious resources, and produce more profits for a few. The motivation is a sacred promise to our ancestors and our future generations to act as stewards of our precious planet and to summon the courage to "Warrior-Up" and stand up to these threats and just say no!  


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:


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Protect the Sacred
Unprecedented Unified Action to Protect Sacred Mother Earth