On April 26, thousands of people descended on the National Mall in the latest demonstration against the Keystone XL pipeline. The march on Saturday was the last in a weeklong series of “Reject and Protest” events organized by the Cowboy Indian Alliance, a coalition of farmers, ranchers, and Native American leaders, along with a variety of environmental organizations, such as Bold Nebraska and 350.org. According to Bryan Brewer, Oglala Sioux Tribal President, “Keystone XL is a death warrant for our people . . . President Obama must reject this pipeline and protect our sacred land and water.”

The week of events was originally planned to coincide with the end of the State Department’s 90-day review period for the pipeline, which would end in a decision on whether or not the pipeline is in the national interest. However, on April 18, the State Department announced that it would be indefinitely extending the eight-agency review period due to an ongoing Nebraska Supreme Court case, which could affect the pipeline’s route. Although this has led some political analysts to believe that the protest will have little effect on the Keystone XL decision-making process, protestors and environmental organizations working against the pipeline have a different take. Art Tanderup, a Nebraska farmer who opposes the pipeline, commented, “no decision has been made, so we need to keep the pressure on so that the president and the public know this is important . . . we have to teach them what this really means. It doesn’t mean more energy for us.”

The Cowboy and Indian Alliance began their protest on Earth Day, April 22, with a march and opening ceremony. This was followed by several actions, including protesting at the Lincoln Memorial, risking arrest at the reflecting pond, marching in Georgetown, and holding a prayer ceremony outside of Secretary of State John Kerry’s home. Throughout the week, teepees were set up on the National Mall, and a hand-painted teepee was delivered to the National Museum of the American Indian to represent “the Cowboy and Indian Alliance’s hopes to protect land and clean water.”

Celebrities like singer Neil Young and actress Daryl Hannah joined protesters in the march. Young told the crowd he was there because “we need to end the age of fossil fuels and move on to something better.” Some progressive political figures tried to get involved, as well. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) provided her support from afar, saying, “I commend all of the ranchers, farmers and indigenous leaders from throughout our nation’s heartland who have come to Washington, D.C. this week. Although I cannot be with you in person, I want you to know that your presence sends a strong signal to Congress and the administration about the need to protect our communities and families from the impacts of dirty tar sands oil.”

According to Jane Kleeb, Executive Director of Bold Nebraska, “this is just the beginning. The Cowboy and Indian Alliance will ride again.”