Eagle Butte, South Dakota – A truck driver was kicked off of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation on Monday after being suspected of hauling for a contractor building the Keystone XL pipeline.
According to leaders of the tribe, regulations require that “…any and all Keystone XL trucks and escort vehicles that drive onto our reservation be turned around immediately and go back the way they entered the reservation.”
The big rig was parked Monday afternoon in an Eagle Butte-convenience store parking lot where it was first noticed by concerned members.
Members of the tribe reportedly became suspicious of the truck driver after observing the semi was hauling an oversized load without a pilot vehicle.
That’s when Joye Braun, a grassroots organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, said she was alerted about the truck by a friend at approximately 5:30 p.m.
She told the Rapid City Journal she went to the convenience store to also confront the driver.
She claims to have heard the driver say he was heading to the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota.
Further, she claimed someone else told her the driver said he was working for a contractor with TC Energy.
Law enforcement was alerted, and in an effort to keep the trucker from leaving until officials arrived, members of the tribe surrounding the truck.
Images Braun posted to Twitter reveal one member standing on the truck while another is lying underneath the semi.
Once law enforcement arrived, they notified leaders of the situation and were instructed to escort the trucker off of the reservation immediately.
However, according to multiple reports, a spokesperson with TC Energy, Sara Rabern, denied the trucker was working for them or had anything to do with the pipeline.
“We work closely with our crews and contractors on their schedules to ensure their safety and ensuring the safe delivery of our materials,” Rabern said.
“In addition, we currently do not have any activity in the region. We build pipe and are not an oil or gas producer that would move its products by truck,” she commented.
Furthermore, Tony Mangan, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, said he wasn’t sure what company the trucker was hauling for.
“I cannot confirm to you that it was a pipeline truck. We don’t know that,” he told the Rapid City Journal.
Nonetheless, law enforcement officers escorted the truck driver off of the reservation.
Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe praised members for their actions.
“This is Sioux Territory. We will not stand for more encroachments and defilement of our land. Any vehicles or personnel working on the Keystone XL pipeline are not welcome on the reservation,” he stated.