Coalition to stop the Keystone XL pipeline  

Words and music by Sarah Pirtle © 2014, Discovery Center Music, BMI


    G                                                 C
1. They raised up tipis on the National Mall,
C                  G                                D
Indians and cowboys hear a common call.
D                  C              G              C
They invited thumbprints on one tipi cloth
                  G         D
to say don’t let this sacred land be lost.


                    C     G               C
Chorus: U-wi-ta, people of the world.
        C        G                            D
U-wi-ta, our common prayers are heard.
C          G                 C
U-wi-ta, we unite and stand.
        G       D                              G
U-wi-ta, no pipeline may cross our land.


2. When the water pours in the reflecting pool,
it’s Ogallala water from the aquifer,
the very same water that this line would cross.
But we won’t let this sacred land be lost.


3. When the tipi’s folded and becomes a gift,
and the elders stand and the tipi cloth they lift,
when they carry it to a resting place,
the sacred fires that we light can’t be erased.


May the four winds rise, u-wi-ta,
May our hearts combine, u-wi-ta,
May the ones who lead heal their wounded minds,
find their conscience, and reject the line.


U-wi-ta, people of the world.
U-wi-ta, our common prayers are heard.
U-wi-ta, we unite and stand.
U-wi-ta, no pipeline may cross this land.

Production: Engineered by Scott Sibley, Rainbow Sounds Studio. Banjo and vocals Sarah Pirtle, guitar and production by Scott Sibley.

The Story of the Song

This song honors the work of stopping pipelines. The Cowboy and Indian Alliance is a group of indigenous leaders, ranchers, farmers, and tribal communities from along the Keystone XL pipeline route. In the spring of 2014 they held a week-long “Reject and Protect” encampment on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

You Tube resources: See “Reject and Protect Day 1” from IdleNoMoreMedia at
Slides about the encampment were put to this song by George Aguiar on a youtube called “Reject & Protect U-wi-ta (Coming Together).” You can see the pictures and get a sense of the encampment here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbIXkjpCwjI

U-wi-ta  is a Lakota word of coming together. A Council Fire in South Dakota was called by Chief Arvol Looking Horse and Bobby C. Billie at the same time as the encampment, and they asked people to pray at their own sacred sites. I heard this melody in a dream on the morning of April 22, 2014 as the Cowboy and Indian Alliance started their encampment in Washington D.C. to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.
Winona LaDuke and her sister Lorna Haynes have been riding their horses along the pipeline route. They are living out a dream that Winona had in 2013 about horses riding against the current of oil.

The chorus – “our common prayers are heard” – refers to global efforts to come together to protect the Earth, hearing and living each other’s prayers and appreciating each other’s efforts.

At the encampment in D.C., the alliance set up a hand-painted tipi people where could add their fingerprints. The resting place of the tipi is that it was given to  the Smithsonian Museum. I heard the melody in a dream when I was focusing upon this encampment. This can be seen in the youtubes.

I’m part of Hilltown Community Rights, working to stop the fracked gas pipeline in Massachusetts, and the song connects to our statewide efforts. See nofrackedgasinmass.org.