The crop art was created by artist John Quigley and was inspired by tribal artist Richard Vollaire of the Tongva Nation.
The crop art is directly on the proposed path of Keystone XL, which also crosses the Ponca Trail of Tears. Landowner Art Tanderup said, "This land has been in our family for over 100 years. We have always been stewards of the land. The soil is very sandy here, any leak would leach into the Ogallala Aquifer, contaminating our water without any concrete plan to clean up the pollution. With this crop art we are literally drawing a line in the sand and asking President Obama to stand with our families.”
The massive crop design of a cowboy and Indian warrior includes key images of water and a hashtag made of arrows. A sun with seven rays depicts the tribal tradition of protecting seven generations and the renewable energy that farmers, ranchers and tribes want to see on their land rather than a tarsands pipeline that risks their water. The aerial image was taken over Art and Helen Tanderup's land in a crop duster plane from 3,000 feet. Art Tanderup dug the image lines with his tractor following the direction of flags planted by volunteers and artistic on-the-ground direction of John Quigley.
“Americans always go big when they’re pushed to their limits. This image, which may well be the largest crop art ever, sends the message that the good people of the Heartland have the courage to stand up for their rights to clean water. They reject the bullying of TransCanada and will defend their land,” said artist John Quigley.
The Keystone XL route crosses the Ponca Trail of Tears without a proper cultural analysis from the state of Nebraska or the US State Department. Aldo Seoane with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe said, “The United States and TransCanada have consistently and intentionally disregarded the concerns of tribal nations and concerned citizens. We as tribal people have been here since the beginning of time and we have seen the best and worst of what people can create. This pipeline is certainly the worst thing that can happen to our land, our water and our people.”
The series of actions called Reject and Protect will take place April 22-27 in Washington, DC. Landowners and tribes share a common goal of protecting the land and water from risky projects like the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline. Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska put the action into context, "President Obama has deep family roots in the Heartland and was adopted into a tribal family. It's too easy in Washington to only think about politics. Our families may not contribute millions to candidates, but we do put food on America's table and can only do that with clean water that is tarsands-free."
“President Obama and Secretary Kerry have a chance to stand with Americans concerned about their livelihoods and their futures. They can choose to listen to these voices and reject Keystone XL or they can choose to bow to the pressures of Big Oil bent on jamming this pipeline through our nation’s Heartland,” said David Turnbull, Campaigns Director of Oil Change International.