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Still stealing land



However, this expansion project symbolizes that we are at a standstill, stuck in our habits and ways.

jobs, it is debatable whether the KXL Pipeline will create any lasting
jobs. Cornell University has reported that it could destroy more jobs
than it creates in the long-term. Regarding energy independence, this
pipeline serves to export oil. We will not become any more
energy-independent through this project.

The only thing
the Keystone XL offers Oklahoma is the continued practice of abusing
Oklahoma land, small farmers, workers and indigenous peoples in support
of big business.

When we talk about past actions that
shame our nation — for instance, violently taking and abusing indigenous
people’s lands to construct our comforts — someone might say, “But
that’s in the past. We need to move forward.”

When we
reflect on our history, we ask, “What about the under-represented
peoples that were here before us?” They are not mentioned because they
were not considered. It was cruel on the part of those with power; it
was naive on the part of the majority.

The majority
accepted comfort without acknowledging the discomfort it caused others
and the earth. Today, the majority is carrying on the tradition of
failing to consider where our comforts come from. We are ignoring the
impact of the Keystone XL on small farmers, indigenous peoples, the land
and our futures.

We cannot change the past; however,
we can change the present and impact the future. By embarking on
projects like the Keystone XL on land made available through genocide,
forced relocations, broken treaties and cultural assimilation, we are
continuing the practice of disregarding and disrespecting indigenous
people’s voices and presence.

—M.B. Stephenson, Oklahoma City

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