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Alamance County couple travels cross country with totem pole, stands up for Native American land


By Rachel Ellis

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    ALAMANCE COUNTY, North Carolina (WXII) — A totem pole journey with ties to Alamance County is underway. Native American organizers from North Carolina are traveling to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness to sacred Native American sites across the country.

A couple from Alamance County, Crystal Cavalier-Keck and Jason Crazy Bear Keck, is taking this trip with a totem pole that symbolizes thousands of years of history.

They’re joining a group that’s heading to the nation’s capital to speak out against the Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate Project and other Native American land rights issues.

Crystal Cavalier-Keck is a member of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation and Jason is a descendent of the Choctaw Nation. Both said development projects like the MVP are threatening sacred lands and burial grounds.

“We have to start standing up and standing together, especially in North Carolina. That’s so important for the people here in North Carolina. Like they don’t even know that these things are happening in their own back yards,” Crystal Cavalier-Keck of Alamance County said.

She also added that “you have neighbors who are being affected by the drinking water and the air quality.”

WXII 12 News reached out to representatives with the MVP project. Shawn Day with Capital Results sent a statement:

“Federal and state authorities have recognized the MVP Southgate project is needed to meet public demand for natural gas in North Carolina. Dominion Energy North Carolina, a local natural gas distribution company, has added more than 100,000 new customers with no new supply source over the past decade, and local demand is expected to increase based on the state’s projections for continued population growth. North Carolina’s Utilities Commission has recognized MVP Southgate offers the best option for meeting that demand.

For the past three years, the MVP Southgate team has worked diligently with landowners, tribes, non-governmental organizations and federal, state and local officials to design a route that minimizes impacts to the environment. These efforts included extensive cultural and environmental survey work to identify any sensitive resources and found the project route would not affect any known burial grounds. In issuing its Final Environmental Impact Statement last year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded the project could be built safely and responsibly, with no permanent impacts to surface or ground water resources.”

The couple said their group wants to meet with members of Congress in D.C., next Wednesday, July 28th.

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