Sacred Ponca Indian Corn Planted in the Pathway of the Keystone XL Pipeline

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Members of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance and their allies are sending a profound message to the owners and supporters (such as the Koch Brothers) of the Keystone Pipeline. They have gathered at the farm of Art Tanderup near Neligh, Nebraska, to hand sow sacred Ponka red corn seeds along the proposed route of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Just over a dozen volunteers planted at the Tanderup farm which is crossed by both the historic Ponca Trail of Tears and the Keystone XL path.

 “Our family is honored to have sacred Ponca corn seed planted here on our farm,” said Art Tanderup.

“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 continues as we join with our friends and neighbors in replenishing their sacred corn and fighting against Keystone XL.”

A sacred ritual accompanied the planting of four full acres of the Ponca corn seed. performed last Saturday morning by the members of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. It was led by Mekasi Horinek, the son of Casey Camp-Horinek, a Native rights activists and environmentalist. He has brought cowboys and Indians together before to fight the Keystone XL project.

Finding common cause over the desire to protect land and water, and sharing a wariness of both government and industry, the participants grieved the past and prayed for the future. The camp—one of several planned for this winter—signifies a new phase in the growing solidarity between the Native Americans of the Great Plains and their non-native neighbors, all united in opposition to the Keystone pipeline.”

 “We’re going to stand together with the cowboys—the ranchers and farmers—in our Nebraska homeland,” said Horinek. “Together our families will plant sacred red corn seed in our ancestral soil. As the corn grows it will stand strong for us, to help us protect and keep Mother Earth safe for our children, as we fight this battle against the Keystone XL pipeline.”

Hinton is working to find and restore the tribe’s five varietals of heirloom corn and establish a seed bank to preserve the seeds for future generations.

Hinton also worked with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, a Nebraska corn geneticist, Tom Hoegemeyer, the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, and the Intertribal Agricultural Council with assistance from the Pawnee tribe to plant the ancient corn which successfully yielded hundreds of pounds of heirloom seed.

He hopes that the Tanderup farm will, instead of being plowed through with the XL Pipeline, be a growing site for historic seed.

“In our creation story the Creator gave us three original gifts: red corn, a dog, and a bow,” explained Hinton. “I am honored to be able to provide my tribe with this historic sacred red corn, which we had not seen since my people were forced to leave Nebraska.”

The U.S. GOP has other plans. In a major battle over federal spending, the Keystone XL Pipeline is planned to be tied to a debt limit increase, tying us further to the crumbling petro-dollar.


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