South Dakota's tribes are gearing up to fight the Keystone XL pipeline, the "black snake." But Yankton tribal elder Faith Spotted Eagle isn't very optimistic:
"There is no way for Native people to say no—there never has been.... Our history has caused us not to be optimistic.... When you have capitalism, you have to have an underclass—and we're the underclass" [Faith Spotted Eagle, quoted in Rob Hotakainen, "American Indians Versus the Pipeline," Governing, 2014.02.18].
Winner mayor Jess Keesis doesn't let Marxist critique weigh down his Dakota development desperation:
Mayor Jess Keesis is eager to welcome construction workers from a 600-member "man camp" that would open just 10 miles from town if President Barack Obama approves the pipeline.
"Out here on the prairie, you know, we're a tough people," said Keesis, who's also a member of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation in Kansas. "We deal with drought and 8-foot blizzards and all kinds of stuff all the time, so anytime we can get something like this to give us a shot, it's a good thing" [Hotakainen, 2014.02.18].
Of course, if any of those men are gay, a lot of Winner businesspeople won't want their money, right?
Mayor Keesis also engages in some irrational optimism at the black snake's business prospects:
Besides the short-term construction work, Keesis said his city would gain another 30 to 40 permanent residents who would work on pipeline-related jobs. He said Winner needs a lift, noting that since the city shut down its strip clubs a few years back, fewer pheasant hunters are visiting, opting to stay in big hunting lodges nearby.
"When I moved here, during the first three weeks of pheasant season, you couldn't find a parking space," he said. "Now you can park anywhere" [Hotakainen, 2014.02.18].
Mayor Keesis, read the State Department report again: Keystone XL will only create 35 permanent jobs nationwide. Those jobs will not all land in Winner. And even if it were possible that they would, must Winner and all of South Dakota really be that desperate to reopen the strip clubs by sacrificing our land, water, and safety?
Related: Speculators are optimistic about Keystone XL, because they see the southern leg of the black snake (wait, snakes don't have legs...) doing just what I've reported it would for years: ease the glut at Cushing, Oklahoma, and raise our oil prices.