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Greta Thunberg And Tokata Iron Eyes Talk Keystone XL And Climate Change

Chynna Lockett

Sixteen year old Climate activist Greta Thunberg traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation over the weekend. She joined a young Native American activist who was involved in the 2016 protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline to talk climate change. 


Nearly 200 people crowded on the plastic bleachers of a high school gymnasium. Thunberg sits center stage on top of an aqua star quilt. Preventing climate change has been her focus since she learned about it’s effects. She drew international attention when she scolded world leaders at the United Nations. She says it’s important for individuals to change their mindsets. 


“We should not see each other as groups of us and them and them. But as a whole us because we are depending on each other and in so many different ways we are depending on nature.” 


Thunberg reminds the crowd that her home country, Sweden and the United States are democracies. She says that means people make the decisions and create change. 


“We need to fight and we need to show them what really happens to us and that this is a matter of life or death for many people.” 


Thunberg encourages the crowd to mobilize and organize to push things in the right direction. Sixteen year old Tokata Iron Eyes started her activism during the Standing Rock protest against the now completed Dakota Access Pipeline. She says she wanted to ensure people have clean drinking water.


"We know what we need as individuals and we know what makes us happy, what makes us healthy. And the fact that we can recognize that and deny that to the people around us by being complacent is really a strange phenomenon.” 


Now, Iron Eyes focused on drawing attention to the Keystone XL pipeline. It would carry oil through parts of South Dakota. The state legislature is taking steps to criminalize protests.  


“We are at the edge of a cliff in regards to our timeline to save this planet and the indigenous people will be the ones to lead the movement off of the edge.” 


A rally against climate change and the Keystone XL pipeline construction is scheduled for this afternoon in Rapid City.