What we are doing?


Oyate Wahacanka Woecun is helping to build alliances in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline.

In May 2013, at a proposed Consultation Session between indigenous tribes and the U.S. Department of Interior, the tribes of the Oceti Sakowin walked out and refused to enter discussions.

In August 2013, at a Protect the Sacred Conference held on the lands of the Ihanktonwan, a need was recognized among the tribal membership in attendance. That need is for a central office through which all tribes and landowners concerned with the Keystone XL pipeline could maintain contact and organize their own efforts in collaboration with the growing resistance among other organizations.

At that Protect the Sacred Conference, the representatives of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe) stepped forward to offer resources for a start-up organization. In this manner, funding was pooled and project resources were made available by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO), and the Sicangu Oyate Land Office (SOLO).

On Friday, September 13, the first organizational meeting of this newborn project was held in Rosebud, SD. During that meeting, the name Oyate Wahacanka, or Shield the People, was chosen. Upon further introspection, the term “woecun” was added to the name. Taken literally, the project’s name is translated to mean Shielding the People:


Oyate = people

Wahacanka = shield


It is the addition of the term “woecun” that brings the project to life, as the term refers to activities taking place and things that are being done. We are taking action!

Saturday, September 21, 2013, was designated a day to DRAW THE LINE against the KXL pipeline. Groups and organizations that oppose the KXL were urged by to come together within their communities and to gather in demonstration, to strengthen an international message: STOP THE KXL. In South Dakota, those like-minded groups converged upon the small town of Winner, SD to spend a day protesting the KXL.

At this Draw the Line event, those who helped boost the fledgling Shielding the People project included: Fast for the Earth, Protect the Sacred, the Cowboy & Indian Alliance, and members of Wica Agli. The Native American Advocacy Project of Winner also stepped forward to offer their location as a gathering place for the converged groups.