For Immediate Release
Cowboy & Indian Alliance Plant "Seeds of Resistance" Ponca Corn in Paths of Atlantic Coast & Mountain Valley Fracked Gas Pipelines
STAUNTON, VA - In a series of events this week, the "Cowboy and Indian Alliance" that defeated the Keystone XL pipeline traveled to meet landowners and Tribal Nations in Virginia and West Virginia and plant "Seeds of Resistance" of Ponca Sacred Corn on land that lies in the paths of the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley fracked gas pipelines.
The first "Seeds of Resistance" were planted in 2014 in Neligh, Nebraska, on the Tanderup farm, which crossed both the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and the historic Ponca Trail of Tears. The corn was planted as medicine to protect the land from the tar sands pipeline and as an act of solidarity among the unlikely alliance that came together to protect land and water and fight the pipeline.
At each of this week’s six events, members of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance planted the seeds, met with local landowners, and discussed lessons learned from the Keystone XL fight and winning strategies to fight these dangerous pipelines.
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Quotes from Cowboy and Indian Alliance members attending the “Seeds of Resistance” events:
Lorne Stockman, Research Director with Oil Change International and resident of Staunton, Virginia, close to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route: “The story of the Ponca corn ‘seeds of resistance’ has resonated deeply with pipeline fighters in Virginia and West Virginia, and Oil Change International is honored to be able to work together with the Bold Alliance to bring these events to the region. All over the United States today, people are standing up to the bullying tactics of Big Oil and Gas. This movement is reaching across the country to form alliances and build our strength; this is just one of many acts of solidarity and unity.”
Art Tanderup, a Nebraska farmer whose land was on the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and the historic Ponca Trail of Tears, where the first “Seeds of Resistance” were planted in 2014: “Our family was honored to have sacred Ponca corn seed planted on our Nebraska farm. The people of Neligh, in 1877, assisted the Ponca by burying White Buffalo Girl who died on the Ponca Trail of Tears. Over one hundred years later, that spirit of humanity continued as we joined with our friends and neighbors in replenishing their sacred corn and fighting against Keystone XL. We now travel to other states to stand with fellow pipeline fighters showing we the people can stop these risky projects.”
Mekasi Horinek Camp, Ponca Nation member; Bold Oklahoma Coordinator; son of Casey Camp-Horinek, a long-time Native rights activist and environmentalist: “We're going to stand together with the cowboys—the ranchers and farmers," said. "Together our families will plant sacred Ponca corn as seeds of resistance to these risky fracked gas pipelines. As the corn grows it will stand strong for us, to help us protect and keep Mother Earth safe for our children. We stand with the pipeline fighters.”
Jane Kleeb, Bold Alliance President: “Actions, like planting the Ponca corn, show the strength and commitment of people standing up to Big Gas and their reckless pipelines. Using eminent domain for private gain is something the Cowboy and Indian Alliance stands against. We plan on using actions, prayer and all legal tools available to stop these risky pipelines.”
Spokespeople from Atlantic Coast Pipeline events:
Virginia Davis, owner of the Stuarts Draft Farm Market, Stuarts Draft, VA: “Growing up the daughter of a farmer, I was taught to respect the land. Dominion disrespects our land, our communities, and our great Augusta County. I can think of no better way to pay respect to our land than to plant the sacred corn that the Ponca have shared with us in the proposed path of this incredibly destructive pipeline.”
Nancy Sorrells, co-chair Augusta County Alliance: “We are holding this ceremony because we want everyone to understand the real effects of this proposed pipeline on the people in its path and on the land underneath our feet. None of us really owns the land. We are here to respect it, protect it, and make it better for future generations who will be here. This pipeline takes all that away. By planting this corn, we are giving back…to the land and to the people who are a part of it.”
Joanna Salidis, Friends of Nelson: “Friends of Nelson is deeply honored to join the pipeline warriors who defeated the Keystone XL pipeline in this sacred act of resistance, solidarity, and hope for the future. Planting this sacred corn today in the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline gives us a tangible way to express our connection with the land and people in Dominion’s crosshairs. These corn seeds are ‘seeds of resistance’ but the true seeds were sown by generations of people in Nelson and elsewhere as they learned to love their home and recognize the life it supports. Rooted love like that never gives up and neither will we.”
Spokespeople from Mountain Valley Pipeline events:
Steve and Anne Bernard, Boones Mill, VA: "We're sick and tired of the games MVP has continued to play with landowners in our region. In our discussions with various surveyors, we have uncovered erroneous info on their parts, and a downright lie in one instance. Our family history in the county with the indigenous peoples' inclusion brings us great joy to take part in this ritual of Ponca corn planting. Participating in this action is a visible sign of our resistance to the very industry that hopes to steal our land as well as our connection to it.”
Tom Berlin, Weston, WV: “We are supporting this planting project as a statement of solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the nation and world who are fighting against a system that is based on continuous and accelerating extraction of the wealth of the Earth to the detriment of local individuals, communities, and ecosystems and the benefit of the few powerful and wealthy.”
Patricia A “Cookie” Cole, Blue Roamin Farm, Monroe Co., WV: “I have lived on or near Peters Mountain and Monroe County almost my entire life. My family’s ancestral property is on Peters Mountain and in the Zenith Valley. To us, this is sacred and holy ground and pristine water. Our family has fiercely protected our freedoms and our way of life, so that we could continue to be free and enjoy the land and mountains that we so dearly love. Monroe County is a special place, and we have been fortunate to be its caretakers and defenders. I am grateful that the Bold Alliance and the Monroe Coalition have chosen my farm as a place to plant the Sacred Ponca Indian Corn—“Seeds of Resistance”.”
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