Amidst Keystone XL Fight, NE Farmers Give 10 Acres Back to the Ponca
November 26, 2018 7:36 AM   Subscribe

In addition to deepening an unlikely bond, the gift from Art and Helen Tanderup could help protect the land and drive a wedge into TransCanada’s plans for the pipeline.

“We want to protect this land. We don’t want to see a pipeline go through,” Larry Wright Jr., the chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska told the Omaha World Herald in June, after the land was gifted to the tribe in a small ceremony. “If this adds another layer (of opposition) to that issue, we’re happy to be part of that.”

posted by poffin boffin (3 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not a native Nebraskan but since I moved here I've made a few friends who are very active in fighting the pipeline. Thanks for this article, I've shared it with them.
posted by PussKillian at 9:41 AM on November 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Not only is this a small bit of justice, it's also clever. I don't know what the legal nuances of this are going to be, but if it does turn out to add an obstacle, it could be quite clever in that it's also an imitable bit of direct action. However, (importantly) one also doesn't need the legal-obstacle-powermove aspect to copy it - and while "gifting" land like this isn't a novel idea, this is the kind of situation that might inspire others to do something similar.

Also it will be interesting to see if what they're doing with the corn, and using/registering heirloom seeds, might become another factor in future conflicts concerning big agriculture, genetic engineering, herbicides, etc. Impossible to predict and this is pure speculation, but there's a myriad of possibilities that could occur (including nothing) and it's possible the corn from this small strip of land could be invoked in other, different legal battles down the line, either here or in other places it's planted.

Thanks for posting this. Very creative. Very clever. And just.
posted by barchan at 10:13 AM on November 26, 2018 [3 favorites]

Giving the land to the Ponca is an interesting idea, but if the land wasn't traditionally Ponca land, I don't think it'll be accepted into trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Which means that their leverage is significantly reduced.

I wonder if there are tribes native to Nebraska who would be interested in similar arrangements?

Identifying the land as sacred to the Ponca isn't nothing, but it might not be enough to make any difference.
posted by suelac at 12:15 PM on November 26, 2018

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