EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. (AP) — Joye Braun, a fierce advocate for Native American rights and an organizer of protests against the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, has died.
Braun, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux, died Nov. 13 at age 53 at her home in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, according to an online obituary from the Charlie Rooks Funeral Home.
Indian Country Today reported that Braun worked as a national pipeline organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network. She was also the organization’s representative in People vs. Fossil Fuels, a coalition of more than 1,200 groups that is calling on the federal government to declare a climate emergency.
At the Dakota Access protest, Braun’s teepee was the first to go up at what became Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock.
Braun’s daughter, Morgan Brings Plenty, said that seeing the Keystone XL pipeline blocked was one of her mother’s proudest achievements.
The 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometer) pipeline that was to carry crude oil from western Canada to Steel City, Nebraska, was nixed after President Joe Biden canceled the pipeline’s border crossing permit last year.
“She had this thing called ‘General Joye,’ which when she gets into a zone, she’s unstoppable and she’ll kind of be bossy and making sure things get done in a certain timeframe, so everything can run smoothly,” Brings Plenty said.
Indigenous Environmental Network’s program director, Kandi White, said in a news release that Braun was the type of person who would “give her last meal or pair of moccasins to those in need.”
“Her advice and counsel was sought by many, she could always be counted on to speak the truth and she pulled no punches. For this, and so much more, she was respected by colleagues and adversaries alike,” White said.