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Senate Decision to Oppose Keystone XL Called for an Honor Song

Greg Grey Cloud sings onstage at the Harvest the Hope #NO KXL benefit concert on Sept. 27, 2014.

Greg Grey Cloud sings onstage at the Harvest the Hope #NO KXL benefit concert on Sept. 27, 2014.

Wica Agli co-founder Greg Grey Cloud breaks into a Native song of victory and thanksgiving after Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced the Senate Keystone XL bill had been defeated:

For Immediate Release: November 19, 2014
Contact: Aldo Seoane, 855-942-2669, ext. 701

Senate Decision to Oppose Keystone XL Called for an Honor Song

Washington, DCWica Agli co-founder Greg Grey Cloud, an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, would like to address the media’s recent understanding surrounding the honor song (not chanting) that was sung for the Senators who voted against the Keystone XL pipeline. This was not a political stunt or a protest demonstration; this is how we honor our heroes.

“Once I heard the outcome of the vote I was overcome with joy,” said Greg Grey Cloud. “Our culture uses songs for everything. Before going to the Capitol, I was wondering what song would be appropriate to sing. I called Pat Bad Hand Sr. of the Sicangu Oyate; he is a renowned hoka wicasa (a keeper of songs). He suggested that a song that was composed during the 1980’s in opposition to coal mining would be the most appropriate. Mr. Bad Hand translated the song lyrics for me as:

“Grandfather look at me, I am standing here struggling, I am defending grandmother earth and I am chasing peace.”

As I was sitting there, watching and listening to the votes being counted, I started to think of all the women and children that would be affected by this pipeline. I thought of all the relatives back home. I thought about the Land and the Water.

I looked to my left and I saw Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Scott sitting there waiting to hear the vote. I was filled with pride thinking about his strong words and the strong words from our tribal leaders on how the Oceti Sakowin and other indigenous relatives would stop the tarsands at all cost.

I looked to my right and saw Jane Kleeb and I was filled with all the memories of this past few years of fighting this pipeline along side our Cowboy relatives.

Then I heard it, I really heard it no. The vote was no. We have time, time to keep fighting time to make sure that Wica Wawookiye hears us, President Obama hears us and says NO to this pipeline.

I looked down and thought we need to honor these Senators for having the courage to make the right decision, for not only Indian country but for America as a whole. As a singer, I know only one way to honor someone, and that’s to sing. I didn’t mean to disrupt the Senate, only to honor the conviction shown by the Senators.

Lakota language for Unci Maka Olowan song:Tunkasila wamayanka yo, le miye ca tehiya nawazin yelo. unci maka nawacincina wowahwala wa yuha waun welo”

English translation Grandmother Earth song: “Grandfather look at me, I am standing here struggling, I am defending grandmother earth and I am chasing peace.”

Wica Agli is a domestic and sexual assault awareness organization focused on healthy masculinity based in and around the Rosebud Sioux Reservation.

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