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Letters to the Editor

Still stealing land

M.B. Stephenson May 15th, 2013

The myth surrounding the construction of the KXL Pipeline is that it will further fuel us in Oklahoma by providing energy independence and jobs.

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

Regarding 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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