“Water is Life” is an oil on a round topped panel, 48 x 30. It has hand carved wooden stars that run along the upper part of the side return.
When I completed this painting, I contemplated not posting it as it had political implication. Of course it was about Standing Rock, which became a rallying point for both environmental and indigenous civil-rights advocates as thousands of people, many of them Native Americans, gathered on the Standing Rock reservation to protest and physically obstruct the Keystone pipeline’s construction.
While the pipeline did not cross Sioux Reservation land, it was built just north of those lands through what had been Sioux Territory by treaty, land that was later taken from them. By current treaty, the Standing Rock Sioux are assured certain hunting and fishing rights. Many of the tribe’s members rely on fish or hunted game from that area as a steady food source.
The Keystone pipeline is owned by TransCanada, an energy company based in Calgary. It transports oil from western Canada’s tar sands region to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, where the oil is refined and processed into usable gasoline and diesel. Tar sands produce some of the lowest grade, highest carbon, most polluting oil in the world. A 2014 report co-authored by Lazarus found Keystone XL would boost global emissions of carbon dioxide by up tp 100 million tons per year.
A focus of the Standing Rock protest was about the impact of oil spills from this pipeline (owned by a Canadian company that has a notorious reputation for spills and leaks) and what those spills would do to the water aquifer, water of the river, the fish that live in it, and the wildlife that are sustained by it. All those things are critical to the people of the Sioux tribe, and others living in the area.
And in an even larger sense, this protest was about the rights and safety of the people often being “Trumped”, if I may say so, by corporate interest and power. As these pipelines traverse the breadth of our country, through our Heartland, our bread belt, many of us are also at risk, not just the Sioux Nation.
On 11-16-17, TransCanada reported that 210,000 of oil had spilled from the Keystone Pipeline near Amherst, South Dakota. It was the third major spill in the region for the pipeline, which began operations in 2010… As of 11-21, Keystone XL oil pipeline will go ahead despite this last spill.
#keystonepipeline #keystonexl #environmental degradation #oilspill #waterislife