President Obama has new neighbors.

This morning, led by 24 riders on horseback, the Cowboy Indian Alliance officially opened the Reject and Protect tipi camp on the National Mall. Surrounded by tribal flags, flags flying the family brands of Nebraska ranchers, (and dozens of reporters from media sources of every kind) they rode onto the National Mall to protest the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline passing through their land.

Here’s what it looked like:

Click here for more photos from the opening ceremony.

Here’s a bit more about what happened today:

The day started with lighting a fire that will burn at the center of camp throughout the entire week. Everyone then walked to the Capitol Reflecting Pool, where the Alliance was welcomed to DC by Piscataway tribal leaders, whose traditional land DC is located within.

After water fresh from the Ogallala aquifer — which Keystone XL would cross, and pollute — was poured into the reflecting pool, we marched to the tipi camp to raise the final tipi, led in a procession by tribal officials and all 24 riders.

This is just the beginning. From now until Sunday, Cowboy Indian Alliance members and allies will be holding demonstrations, ceremonies and educational events to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

Keystone XL would carry 830,000 barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil, pumping dozens of coal plants worth of carbon pollution into the air. I can think of no better way to spend Earth Day than with this powerful alliance who have travelled so far to tell President Obama to stop this pipeline once and for all.

I can’t wait to see everyone together this Saturday the 26th at 11 AM — if today was any indication, this will be an event of particular power and importance.

See you soon,


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