Owe Aku Bring Back the Way

Water Rights in the USA - Protecting Sacred Water

June 30, 2015

Owe Aku’s International Justice Project has put together this brief summary in an attempt to explain a bit about the state of and challenges to American water policy.

Crying Earth Rise Up … full length Prairie Dust Films Documentary Trailer

Owe Aku and the Red Warrior Camp 

Owe Aku’s warriors and water protectors are on the front line at Standing Rock helping to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline on Lakota territory.  We are proud of our people for their stance, their commitment and their vision.  We are also pround of the thousands of allies we have made from around the world in the struggle to preserve SacredWater from those that would continue to destroy, pollute and steal what we call Mni Wakan, our first medicine, sacred water.  If you wish to support Owe Aku’s ongoing work to preserve all aspects of Mother Earth and her culture as expressed by the Lakota people, please feel free to donate to us on the PayPal link below.  If you are looking to donate to the Red Warrior Camp you can visit their FaceBook page at: https://www.facebook.com/RedWarriorCamp/?fref=ts

To donate directly to the Red Warrior Camp please go to the following link:


You can also follow Owe Aku's activities and other news from the Water Protectors on Owe Aku’s FaceBook Page at https://www.facebook.com/oweakubringbacktheway/?fref=ts.  

To donate to Owe Aku’s work please donate here:






“The ASLB decision regarding the NRC's violation of its own standards is a battle victory in the multilayered, protracted paper war to protect sacred water and cultural and sacred places from extractive industries that intend to operate without meaningful regulation and oversight.”  DEBRA WHITE PLUME, OWE AKU

April 30, 2015

Contact:           Jeffrey Parsons, Attorney, 303-823-5738

                         Lilias Jarding, Ph.D., 605-787-2872 (Clean Water Alliance)

Opponents of a proposed uranium mine claimed victory today, as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) ruled that proper procedures have not been followed to protect Native American cultural resources and that further action must be taken to protect water resources before the proposed mining project can go forward.  The Dewey-Burdock mine is proposed for Fall River and Custer Counties in southwestern South Dakota. 

The ASLB required that Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff go back and do proper consultation with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, one of the parties in the licensing procedure.  According to Jeffrey Parsons, attorney for the Oglala Sioux Tribe, “As we have argued from the start of this process over five years ago, Powertech/Azarga and the NRC staff have never conducted an adequate review of impacts to cultural resources, and also did not impose sufficient controls to protect aquifers from contamination through historic drill holes.  The Board ruling today confirms these major flaws in the company’s analysis.” 

Debra White Plume of Owe Aku/Bring Back the Way added, “The ASLB decision regarding the NRC's violation of its own standards is a battle victory in the multilayered, protracted paper war to protect sacred water and cultural and sacred places from extractive industries that intend to operate without meaningful regulation and oversight."

Analysis by Dr. Hannan LaGarry, a geologist, indicates that there are at least 7,500 historic drill holes on the proposed mine site, as well as faults, at least one sinkhole, and artesian springs – all of which create the likelihood that water contamination could not be controlled, if mining is allowed to proceed.  The ASLB ruling requires that, prior to conducting tests at the site, the company must “attempt to locate and properly abandon all historic drill holes located within the perimeter well ring for the wellfield.  The licensee will document, and provide to the NRC, such efforts to identify and properly abandon all drill holes.”

                “We have been heard and acknowledged,” said Sarah Peterson of It’s All About the Water.

 “Hopefully, the company and the NRC recognize the significance of the ruling today, and they will stop trying to both gloss over the serious problems with the proposed project and to move forward on the cheap,” said Lilias Jarding of Clean Water Alliance.  “We must protect our water and our economy from imprudent development of radioactive uranium mining,” added Gena Parkhurst, Chairperson of the Black Hills Chapter of Dakota Rural Action.

 Dakota Rural Action is a grassroots family agriculture and conservation group that organizes South Dakotans to protect our family farmers and ranchers, natural resources, and unique way of life.  www.dakotarural.org

It’s All About the Water is a grassroots group based in Fall River County, S.D.

Owe Aku is a grassroots cultural preservation and human rights nongovernmental organization headquartered on the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation.  http://www.oweakuinternational.org/

The Clean Water Alliance is a diverse collection of citizens concerned about the health, environmental, and economic impacts that proposed uranium mining projects would have on our communities, people, economy, and natural resources. Our goal is to prevent uranium mining in the Black Hills region, and to protect our valuable resources for future generations. www.bhcleanwateralliance.org.


Clean Water Alliance


Facebook -- Black Hills Clean Water Alliance              

Facebook -- Owe Aku Bring Back the Way

Statement from Owe Aku Bring Back the Way re: A Presidential Decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline - VETO


"Lakota are united with our relatives and allies up north. We must stop this kxl from entering the territory our ancestors loved, lived on for thousands of generations, and gave their greatest gift of all to defend, their lives. Our Creation stories teach us that this is our Home on Unci Maka, our homeland is part of our identity, we have our inherent birth right as Lakota Oyate. Our inherent birth right is a spiritual and human right, and we have treaty rights. We do not want kxl, we do not want tarsands in our lands, the tarsands must stay in the ground, the extraction and its aftermath is killing humans and all of life up there, and wasting precious water. The leaders of the world are looking at this, we need them to be good leaders and stand in the way of something bad coming toward us, all over the world, and here, in the big land, it is time for people to be clear to their leader. Now is a time when he can be a green revolutionary, and make decisions that can change the world.

Please take a moment to help get our words, thoughts, and prayers out to the world, all over Unci Maka, that Lakota People, and many other Red Nations people, we have painted our faces. Our allies up north have painted their faces. For sacred water, for Unci Maka, for our generations. As people of the earth, our coming generations have a right to sacred water, no policy, no corporation, no politics should be more important than that. Regional water shortages are befalling people all over the world, people are being displaced, the four legged, the winged nations are becoming endangered and extinct because the system in place honors a huge profit over the health of Unci Maka, prioritizes an unsustainable energy policy that is and that will continue to lead us closer to what is perhaps the most dangerous point in our lifetime, wars over war. We are in a time of prophecy, our collective action will be significant, with all the love in our hearts, we must all resist this destruction, and stand for sacred water and Unci Maka.” 

To see a trailer for the documentary film, Crying Earth Rise Up, please visit http://www.cryingearthriseup.com/

Hear Debra White Plume at the State Department

Where we stand - hear the testimony of Debra White Plume from the Lakota Homeland of Owe Aku about treaties, tarsands, international law,  genocide and protection of Sacred Water and Mother Earth  at the October 7, 2011 Public Hearing on the 1600 mile TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline before the US State Department in Washingoton, D.C.

- Video  on Bridger & Music by Che Christ - See It Hear It Here - 

- Hear the Elders and Leaders Speak to all the People at Bridger Moccasins on the Ground -

Clouds of Thunder by Che Christ with Debra White Plume  - Music & Poetry is Resistance

We want to thank our generous supporters and allies who responded to the pledge to support Owe Aku in stopping the Keystone XL pipeline and other devastations from extractive industries.  We've been able to accomplish a lot including well-attended educational and training gatherings of Moccasins on the Ground across Lakota Territory including Montana, Nebraska, North and South Dakot, Minnesota and Nebraska and with our allies in Oklahoma, Texas,  Wisconsin and Colorado.   Awaiting the decision of President of Obama, we are hopeful that he will open his heart to the future generations of peoples and all living things and preserve the land and water upon which we are all dependent for survival.  However, we will continue to prepare in case it should be necessary to "put our Moccasins on the Ground' to protect the land and water ourselves.   


WE RELY ON THE ALLIES to keep our movement moving.  So far we have been able to mobilize our people and allies because of the generous donations made right her on our website from our supporters for the highly expensive costs of transportation.  The Lakota Oyate is a big place!  With TEN BUCK PLEDGES we have been able to accomplish a lot and hope that our family, friends and allies will continue their generosity and demonstrate their support of our work and in particular Moccasins on the Ground.  With communal effort we will be able to accomplish even more, most importantly recruiting allies and supporters to this critical work for everyone's future.  

Owe Aku works to bring back our way of life which includes humanity’s role in nature:  we are a part of it, not outside of it, not having dominion over it.  To achieve this Owe Aku works to stop mining that contaminates our water and land.  Owe Aku has reestablished programs that utilize the wisdom of our ancestors in combatting the effects of inter-generational trauma caused by colonization and the intentional attempts for hundreds of years to destroy our culture.  

In the Lakota Language Owe Aku means Bring Back the Way.  In bringing back the way, we strive to offer alternatives, based on traditional knowledge, that respect the changing environmental conditions of Mother Earth, and which will ultimately benefit the peoples and ecosystems of the planet.  The environment, upon which we are all dependent, is no longer just an issue for Indigenous peoples.  On every continent, Indigenous cultures offer viable alternatives because we recognize the Earth, not as a commodity to be exploited, but as a relative that protects and preserves our very existence and the existence of future human generations.   

Decisions are always made collectively first with the grassroots leaders of our tiyospaye (extended family or clan) and our direct allies.  The people of our tiyospaye founded Owe Aku Bring Back the Way and have continued to direct its activities and make decisions based on the traditional Lakota principle of consensus.


© John Kent Lebsock 2016