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Oklahoma chapter of the group Idle No More seeks protection of water resources

About 50 people attended a rally outside the Oklahoma state Capitol on World Water Day.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: March 23, 2013

About 50 people, mostly American Indians from Oklahoma and several other states, gathered Friday outside the state Capitol to call attention to the need to protect the state's water.

“Water is one of the more sacred medicines of native people,” said William Birdshead Hawk, with the central Oklahoma chapter of the group Idle No More. “With the destruction of what is going on around the world, our water is getting polluted.”

Hawk, of Moore and an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, said the event was held in conjunction with World Water Day.

“What we're talking about today is the sacredness of the water,” he said.

Several tribes from across the state attended the event on the south steps outside the Capitol. Some came from other states, such as Kansas, Texas, California, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Hawk said the central Oklahoma chapter is organizing and anyone may join the grassroots movement. Idle No More, started last year in Canada, is a worldwide movement.

“The ultimate goal is to protect our human rights, religious rights, our freedoms and protecting the land for future generations,” he said.

The central Oklahoma chapter also seeks to improve conditions for local tribes.

About 200 attended a rally in January at the Capitol to show support for Idle No More. Many opposed TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, which would move crude oil from Canada and North Dakota through Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast. They said they were concerned the project would harm the environment and could decimate tribal lands.