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Formal Response from Indigenous Peoples to USDA Sacred Sites Report



“The Creator gave the Aboriginal Indigenous Nations of the People Laws to follow and
responsibilities to care for all Creation. These instructions have been passed down
from generation to generation from the beginning of Creation. It is the Law that no one
can overpower the Creator’s Law, you are a part of Creation, thus if you break the
Law, you are destroying yourself.
We speak on behalf of all Creation: the four legged/those that swim/those that
crawl/those that fly/those that burrow in the Earth/the plant and tree Nations. This one
life system includes the elements of fire, water, earth and air, the living environment of
“Mother Earth”.
The Sanctity of the Creator’s Law has been broken. The balance of life has been
disrupted. You come into life as a sacred being. If you abuse the sacredness of your
life then you affect all Creation. The future of all life is now in jeopardy.
We have now reached the crossroads. As Aboriginal Indigenous People we ask you to
work with us to save the future of all Creation.”

Aboriginal Indigenous Nations of the People’s Message 3.11.2011

The message above was brought forth, by Indigenous Elders and Medicine Peoples, at
the threatened sacred mountain of the ancestors of the Huhugam. This message
presented an opportunity to the United States of America for direct face-to-face
dialogue with Indigenous Elders and Medicine People, which is necessary to assist and
educate the Forest Service on how to conduct their activities to prevent damage,
destruction and desecration to places held sacred by Indigenous Peoples.

As the Original Stewards of this Land, we are offended by the lack of sensitivity being
shown to our position and we are discriminated against by having to respond in black
and white with a foreign language that is not ours and does not convey the full depth of
our concerns. We maintain the inherent responsibility that was given to us by the
Creator to care for all Creation and to speak for our relatives that cannot be easily
understood by the newcomers. We are united under the Creator’s Law to protect and
extend Life for our future generations. Today, your understanding of a sacred site does
not reflect what Indigenous Peoples know to be true about the places that we hold
Sacred and Holy.

The “Report to the Secretary – USDA and Forest Service Policy and Procedures
Review: Indian Sacred Sites” is without spirit and fails to provide meaningful and
effective direction for the development of policies for the protection of Indigenous
sacred places. There is nothing in the report that offers any new or real mechanisms to
protect sacred places that create the foundations of our Way of Life as Indigenous
Peoples. The activities of federal agencies continue to damage, destroy, and desecrate
these sacred places. For instance, there is no mention in the report of how the Agency
is going to protect sacred places from special use permits, third party contractors or
resource extraction. And, there is no recognition of the fact that the United States has
treaty, agreements and statutory obligations to Indigenous Peoples; these obligations
surpass the Agency’s mission to provide multi-use activities. Recreational activities on
our sacred lands do not reach the same threshold and should not be weighed equally
with our Way of Life as Indigenous Peoples particularly when actions may result in
negative consequences to the natural system of life.

Protection of what we hold Sacred as Indigenous Peoples surpasses domestic and
international laws; it also requires adherence to the Creator’s Law, a Law that is
indivisible and creates the spiritual foundations for Indigenous Nations and our Way of
Life. For this reason, we specifically asked that the United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples be included in the document and noted as “a minimum
standard”. This specific request was not included in the report. And, there is no
mention of the Creator’s Law in the report. As Indigenous Peoples we do not separate
ourselves from the Creator’s Law. The Creator’s Law is that All Life is Sacred, All
Creation is Sacred. That is the Natural Law we cannot change or challenge.

The Forest Service states it cannot delegate decision-making authority for actions on
National Forest System land to entities outside the federal government. However, the
Creator never delegated the right of Creation and Destruction to the Forest Service.
Yet, the Forest Service continues to destroy and desecrate the natural function of these
lands, while trying to create new uses for these lands that have held their sacred
purpose since the beginning of Creation. We, the Indigenous Peoples, have obligations
and responsibilities that go beyond man-made domestic and international laws. We
must adhere to the Creator’s Law and protect and maintain these sacred places and
honor their sacred purposes. The Creator’s Law does not change so our obligations and
responsibilities have not and will not change.

The report speaks of keeping sacred sites confidential for their protection, yet the Forest
Service continues to move forward with its plans to damage, destroy, pollute and
desecrate known and identified Holy places with telescopes, treated sewage effluent,
resource extraction, further development, recreation and other damaging activities. As
a result it is not prudent for Indigenous Peoples to provide federal agencies with
information on sacred places and knowledge until a mutually acceptable and fully
responsible system has been established for protecting the sacred places that have
already been identified. Our knowledge is for us to protect and not for federal agencies
to abuse. Only when a sacred area is threatened or revealed will it be interpreted by the
Indigenous Elders and Medicine Peoples. Direction will then be given to the Forest
Service on how to conduct their activities to prevent damage, destruction and
desecration. Those born into this way of life understand that it is our responsibility not
to give away the inherited rights of our future generations to those who do not value
and understand our Way of Life. The only way to legitimately include authentic
indigenous knowledge is to include the Indigenous Peoples, who are the true keepers of
that spiritual knowledge throughout the entire process especially when decisions are
being made. So you must come to the Indigenous Peoples, face-to-face, in order to get
our free, prior and informed consent before plans are initiated that may affect
Indigenous Peoples and the Creator’s Creation.

When you decide to move forward in a correct manner (that is with respect and dignity
as human beings), then you will come to the Indigenous Peoples to consult face-to-face
with an understanding that we need consensus before proceeding. Anything less falls
short of developing a working relationship that is necessary with Indigenous Peoples to
address critical issues and to benefit all Creation. The Forest Service has indicated that
it wishes to engage in co-management of these lands with the Indigenous Peoples.
However, the Forest Service has failed to recognize that our obligations and
responsibilities go beyond the limitations of man-made laws. Our responsibilities
include an obligation to speak on behalf of all Creation, to protect that sacredness that
has been given to us by the Creator. The word “co-management” itself is inappropriate,
because we don’t view our role as managers, but rather to protect and to live in
harmony with all Creation. Once these foundational principles are understood and
respected, we can begin discussions on how this balance can be achieved.
The Forest Service needs to understand that it is fully responsible and liable for the
activities and actions that it allows and undertakes on our sacred lands and which
negatively impact Indigenous Peoples and our Way of Life. The report singles out
Forest Supervisors as having final authority for these decisions, but we remind you that
all administrators and staff within any given line of authority will be held responsible
for fulfilling obligations to all domestic laws, international laws and the Creator’s Law,
which protect the Creator’s Creation and our Indigenous Way of Life. Line officers are
not the only staff that require performance measures for this to work; these measures
must be required of all public servants from the President, Members of Congress,
Supreme Court Justices, USDA Secretary and all Forest Service line officers, especially
since there is such a strong record for violation of and past inconsistent implementation
of policies listed in the report. There is a need to immediately enforce and synthesize
all current laws, policies and procedures and to create legitimate consequences for those
who fail to follow these protocols.

We all need a healing. The report does not address how your Agency is going to right
past wrongs and restore past damages that your Agency has caused. As Indigenous
Peoples we strive to maintain balance and harmony with all Creation. Many years ago
we received the message that this harmonious balance had been disrupted. We have
sent messages of all types to every governmental body around the World including your
Agency that we must begin to heal activities of the past that have led to damage,
destruction, and desecration. To begin this healing process we must first stop these
damaging activities to allow the natural healing process of Mother Earth to begin. The
healing cannot begin until your Agency formally confronts the legacies of injustice to
the water, air, land, plants, animals, trees, and all of the Creator’s Creation that you
have damaged, destroyed and desecrated, including the Indigenous Peoples.

A healthy relationship between our Nations needs to be created. We noted your nondiscriminatory
statement but also noted the omission of our spiritual way of life and
sacred holdings in that statement. The United States of America has not honored its
agreements to the original inhabitants of this land since the beginning of our
relationship. This same lack of commitment to the agreements being made with the
Indigenous Peoples continues to this day. For that reason we as Indigenous Peoples
recommend that the Secretary as a first step towards reconciliation conduct an
independent investigation into past and current human rights and environmental
violations, including discriminatory practices, under both domestic and international
law. The findings from this independent investigation should be made public and
should include recommendations and plans to restore past damage and to prevent future
harms to the Creator’s Creation and our Way of Life. Your laws get outdated and do
not respond effectively to emerging threats such as treated sewage effluent, invasive
species, antibiotic resistant genes and all other types of emerging and existing threats to
the natural system of life. The United States’ 1872 mining law, for example, does not
adhere to your best available science and does not adhere to the Creator’s Law. It must
be changed if your laws as a Nation are to be taken seriously. Your science is flawed as
it cannot predict with absolute certainty how Mother Earth will respond to your
activities. Because you are blinded by laws and science that are economically driven,
Indigenous Peoples, as the Original Stewards of this Land, must be involved in every
aspect of your actions – planning, development and implementation– to ensure the
protection of our Way of Life and to fulfill our obligations to the Creator and all Life.
Another concern stated in the report is that the Agency lacks personnel, knowledge and
funding. This means you lack the resources to fulfill your obligations to your laws,
international laws and the Creator’s Law and should not be allowed to proceed with any
plans until you are ready and able to be responsible for your actions and to fulfill all of
your obligations.

We, as Indigenous Peoples, have a great responsibility to our children and all Life that
must be honored and upheld. The covenant we have with the Creator requires us to
consider the impacts of our decisions on the Creator’s Creation and the impact these
decisions will have on the future of life. The Indigenous Elders, Medicine Peoples,
Spiritual Leaders, Wisdom Keepers, Spiritual People and Those Who Carry Great
Responsibilities for Their People will continue to fulfill their responsibilities to provide
a future for the coming generations of Life and must be included in all planning and
decisions affecting the natural system of life.
In order for us to move forward meaningfully we must first create a base understanding
between us, to ensure that we are agreeing to speak about sacredness in a manner that is
appropriate, respectful and with the dignity it requires. Otherwise, these discussions
will fail to address the concerns of the Indigenous Peoples and to honor the Secretary’s
request to create more effective policies for the protection of Indigenous sacred places.
We have much more to share with you outside of this very limiting and discriminatory
process, a process that does not reflect who we are as Indigenous Elders and Medicine
Peoples. We want to be very clear that this is not consultation. True consultation
requires those with decision-making authority to be willing to come to us formally, and
sit with us face-to-face. Then we can initiate a true dialogue on how to proceed
honorably to provide a future for All Life.

We are united under the Creator’s Law. We are from various Indigenous Nations and
are spiritually related. We have been placed on our lands as Aboriginal Indigenous
Nations of the People with sacred instructions and responsibilities placed within us by
the Creator to follow the Laws of the Creator. Your Agency uses terms like federally
recognized and federally unrecognized. We see this as your way of dividing the
Indigenous Peoples. We are united under the Creator’s Law, as United Indigenous
Nations, to protect and extend Life for all future generations.

We have worked through the Senior Advisor to Secretary Tom Vilsack to set up a two
and a half hour meeting on October 12, 2011. The Indigenous Elders and Medicine
Peoples intend to begin dialogue with Secretary Vilsack during this phone conference,
rather than continuing to have these discussions filtered through his representatives. The
Secretary is the representative for the United States regarding their position on the
protection of our Indigenous Sacred Lands. The Secretary’s participation or lack of
participation on this phone conference will reflect the United States commitment to
creating a working relationship with the Indigenous Elders and Medicine Peoples to
realign their way of life with the Creator’s natural system of life.

Chief, Arvol Looking Horse
19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe
Spiritual Leader
Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations
Bobby C. Billie
Clan Leader and Spiritual Leader
Council of the Original Miccosukee
Simanolee Nation Aboriginal People


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  1. Christine Prat

    October 6, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Happy Birthday!

  2. Christine Prat

    October 6, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Add your comments (racist, sexist, & trans/homophobic comments will not be published)


A quick & dirty review of the movie Oppenheimer




We watched this movie after arguing with social media pro-nuke apologists who accused us of being ill-informed as not having viewed Christopher Nolan’s biopic, so excuse the mess… (and if you haven’t already, read our initial post here for the context).

Oppenheimer is a glorification of the “complicated genius” and ambitions of white men making terrible decisions that imperil the world. 

Many have remarked that the film is not a glorification, yet Christopher Nolan himself says, “Like it or not, J Robert Oppenheimer is the most important person who ever lived.”
Some of you may have even had a burst of laughter during the scene where Truman asked Oppenheimer what he thought the fate of Los Alamos should be and “Oppie” retorted, “Give the land back to the Indians.” But alas, the poisoned scarred landscape today is host to a 10-day “Oppenheimer Festival.” To underscore the disconnect of legacies, a small commemoration near the Churchrock spill site was also held on the anniversary of the Trinity detonation, a few hundred miles away. Yes, what glorification?

The movie is basically a Western à la John Wayne. It very well could have been called, “The Trial of the Sheriff of Los Alamos.”
Oppenheimer rides his horse with a black hat on and pulls a poster down from a fence post. He then strides into a debate on the “Impact of the gadget on civilization.” To respond to the question of how scientists can justify using the Atom Bomb on human beings, Oppenheimer speaks, “We’re theorists yes, we imagine a future and our imaginings horrify us. They won’t fear it until they understand it and they won’t understand it until they’ve used it. When the world learns the terrible secret of Los Alamos our work here will ensure a peace mankind has never seen. A peace based on international cooperation.”

Nolan establishes the only narrative that matters is his attempt at historical redemption, he paints Oppenheimer as a victim. While perhaps not as depoliticized as Nolan alluded to in interviews (as the politics of American loyalty and the Red Scare drive the drama), the consequences of nuclear weapons and energy is barely considered (arguably barely at all considering the issue). This is a political omission of the most insidious sort and the film is even worse for it.

The movie cares more about constructing and clearing Oppenheimer as a victim of McCarthyism than the impacts of the atomic bomb and its deadly legacy of nuclear colonialism. As it’s stated, there’s a “Price to be paid for genius.” Everything else is dramatic notation. Nolan gives Oppenheimer the public hearing he feels like he was denied to ultimately prove he was an American patriot. In the end, the question “Would the world forgive you if you let them crucify you?” matters above all other concerns. The movie poses the argument as “science versus militarism” while the world and Indigenous Peoples continue to suffer the permanent consequences of nuclear weapons and energy in silence. A deadly silence more deafening than Nolan’s cinematic portrayal of the Trinity test. But hey, there’s even a minute of cheering after the test.

Nolan has us listening to the radio while two cities are destroyed and hundreds of thousands of lives are taken. Nolan keeps the camera on his lead actor’s face while the horrors of his bomb are shown on slides. Oppenheimer simply looks away. What more about this film do we need to know? 

15,000 abandoned uranium mines poisoning our bodies, lands, and water. 1,000 bombs detonated on Western Shoshone lands… the list goes on (we only stop here because we’ve stated much more in our original post). All omitted and sentenced to suffer in catastrophic silence. Films like Oppenheimer are only possible because people keep looking away from the deadly reality of nuclear weapons and energy.

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Architect of Annihilation: Oppenheimer’s Deadly Legacy of Nuclear Terror




Read our quick and dirty review of the movie here.

Klee Benally, Indigenous Action/Haul No!
Contributions by Leona Morgan, Diné No Nukes/Haul No!

Printable posters (PDFs): 11″x17″ color, 11″x17″ black & white

The genocidal colonial terror of nuclear energy and weapons is not entertainment. 

To glorify such deadly science and technology as a dramatic character study, is to spit in the face of hundreds of thousands of corpses and survivors scattered throughout the history of the so-called Atomic age.

Think of it this way, for every minute that passes during the film’s 3-hour run time, more than 1,100 citizens in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki died due to Oppenheimer’s weapon of mass destruction. This doesn’t account for those downwind of nuclear tests who were exposed to radioactive fallout (some are protesting screenings), it doesn’t account for those poisoned by uranium mines, it doesn’t account for those killed during nuclear power plant melt-downs, it doesn’t account for those in the Marshall Islands who are forever poisoned.

For every second you sit in the air conditioned theater with a warm buttery popcorn bucket in your lap, 18 people dead in the blink of an eye. Thanks to Oppenheimer.

Though you’ll certainly learn enough about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb,” thanks to director Christopher Nolan’s 70mm IMAX odyssey, let’s be clear about his deadly legacy and the overall military and scientific industrial complex behind it.

After the successful detonation of the very first atomic bomb, Oppenheimer infamously quoted the Hindu scripture Bhagavad-Gita, “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” Barely a month later, the “U.S” dropped two atomic bombs devastating the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and more than 200,000 people were killed. Some of the shadows of those perished were burned into the streets. One survivor, Sachiko Matsuo, relayed their thoughts as they tried to make sense of what was happening when Nagasaki was struck, “I could see nothing below. My grandmother started to cry, ‘Everybody is dead. This is the end of the world.” A devastation that Nolan intentionally leaves out because, according to the director, the film is not told from the perspectives of those who were bombed, but by those who were responsible for it. Nolan casually explains, “[Oppenheimer] learned about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the radio, the same as the rest of the world.”

Months after the atomic detonation at the “Trinity” site in occupied Tewa lands of New Mexico, Oppenheimer resigned. He walked away expressing the conflict of having, “blood on his hands,” (though reportedly he later said the bombings were not “on his conscience”) while leaving a legacy of nuclear devastation and radioactive pollution permanently poisoning lands, waters, and bodies to this day. 

U.S. military and political machinery cannibalized the scientist and turned him into a villain of their imperialist cold-war anxiety. They reminded him and the other scientists behind the Manhattan Project, that they and their interests were always in control.

Oppenheimer never was a hero, he was an architect of annihilation. 

The race to develop the first atomic bomb (after Nazis had split the atom) never could be a strategy of peaceful deterrence, it was a strategy of domination and annihilation. 

Nazi Germany was committing genocide against Jewish people while the U.S. sat on the political sidelines. It wasn’t until they were directly threatened that the U.S. intervened. Though Nazi Germany was defeated on May 8th, 1945, the U.S. dropped two separate atomic bombs on the non-military targets of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th, 1945.

To underscore Oppenheimer’s complicity, he suppressed a petition by 70 Manhattan Project scientists urging President Truman not to drop the bombs on moral grounds. The scientists also argued that since the war was nearing its end, Japan should be given the opportunity to surrender. 

Today there are approximately 12,500 nuclear warheads in nine countries with almost 90 percent of them held by the U.S. and Russia. It is estimated that 100 nuclear weapons is an “adequate… deterrence” threshold for the “mutually assured destruction” of the world.

Oppenheimer built the gun that is still held to the head of everyone who lives on this Earth today. Throughout the decades after the development of “The Bomb,” millions throughout the world have rallied for nuclear disarmament, yet politicians have never taken their fingers off the trigger. 

The Deadly Legacy of Nuclear Colonialism

Nuclear weapons production and energy would not be possible without uranium.

Global uranium mining boomed during and after World War II and continues to threaten communities throughout the world.

Today, more than 15,000 abandoned uranium mines are located within the so-called U.S., mostly in and around Indigenous communities, permanently poisoning sacred lands and waters with little to no political action being taken to clean up their deadly toxic legacy.

Indigenous communities have long been at the front lines of the struggle to stop the deadly legacy of the nuclear industry. Nuclear colonialism has resulted in radioactive pollution that has poisoned drinking water systems of entire communities like Red Shirt Village in South Dakota and Sanders in Arizona. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has closed more than 22 wells on the Navajo Nation where there are more than 523 abandoned uranium mines. In Ludlow, South Dakota an abandoned uranium mine sits within feet of an elementary school, poisoning the ground where children continue to play to this day.

Nuclear colonialism has ravaged our communities and left a deadly legacy of cancers, birth defects, and other serious health consequences, it is the slow genocide of Indigenous Peoples.

From 1944 to 1986 some 30 million tons of uranium ore were extracted from mines on Diné lands. Diné workers were told little of the potential health risks with many not given any protective gear. As demand for uranium decreased the mines closed, leaving over a thousand contaminated sites. To this day none have been completely cleaned up.

On July 16, 1979, just 34 years after Oppenheimer oversaw the July 16, 1945 Trinity test, the single largest accidental release of radioactivity occurred on Diné Bikéyah (The Navajo Nation) at the Church Rock uranium mill. More than 1,100 tons of solid radioactive mill waste and 94 million gallons of radioactive tailings poured into the Puerco River when an earthen dam broke. Today, water in the downstream community of Sanders, Arizona is poisoned with radioactive contamination from the spill.

Although uranium mining is now banned on the reservation due to advocacy from Diné anti-nuclear organizers, Navajo politicians have sought to allow new mining in areas already contaminated by the industry’s toxic legacy.  It is estimated that 25% of all the recoverable uranium remaining in the country is located on Diné Bikéyah.
Though there has never been a comprehensive human health study on the impacts of uranium mining in the area, a focused study has detected uranium in the urine of babies born to Diné women exposed to uranium.

Western Shoshone lands in so-called Nevada, which have never been ceded to the “U.S.” government, have long been under attack by the military and nuclear industries.

Between 1951 and 1992 more than 1,000 nuclear bombs have been detonated above and below the surface at an area called the Nevada Test Site on Western Shoshone lands which make it one of the most bombed nations on earth. Communities in areas around the test site faced severe exposure to radioactive fallout, which caused cancers, leukemia & other illnesses. Those who have suffered this radioactive pollution are collectively known as “Downwinders.”

Western Shoshone spiritual practitioner Corbin Harney, who passed on in 2007, helped initiate a grassroots effort to shutdown the test site and abolish nuclear weapons. He once said, “We’re not helping Mother Earth at all. The roots, the berries, the animals, are not here anymore, nothing’s here. It’s sad. We’re selling the air, the water, we’re already selling each other. Somewhere it’s going to come to an end.”

Between 1945 and 1958, sixty-seven atomic bombs were detonated in tests conducted in Ṃajeḷ (the Marshall Islands). Some Indigenous people of the islands have all together stopped reproducing due to the severity of cancer and birth defects they have faced due to radioactive pollution.

In 1987 the “U.S.” congress initiated a controversial project to transport and store almost all of the U.S.’s toxic waste at Yucca Mountain located about 100 miles northwest of so-called Las Vegas, Nevada. Yucca Mountain has been held holy to the Paiute and Western Shoshone Nations since time immemorial. In January 2010 the Obama administration approved a $54 billion dollar taxpayer loan in a guarantee program for new nuclear reactor construction, three times what Bush previously promised in 2005.

There are currently 93 operating nuclear reactors in the so-called U.S. that supply 20% of the country’s electricity. There are nearly 90,000 tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear waste stored in concrete dams at nuclear power plants throughout the country with the waste increasing at a rate of 2,000 tons per year.

From the 1979 disasters of Three Mile Island and Churchrock to the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant melted down, the nuclear industry has been wrought with mass catastrophes with permanent global consequences.

In 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant catastrophically failed and began melting down after it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami. It’s been reported that the Fukushima plant has been leaking approximately 300 tons of radioactive water into the ocean every day. Today, the Japanese government is open about its plans to release remaining radioactive waters into the Pacific.

“Depleted Uranium” weapons deployed by the U.S. in imperialist wars (particularly Iraq and Afghanistan) have also poisoned eco-systems, including at proving grounds and firing ranges in Arizona, Maryland, Indiana and Vieques, Puerto Rico. Depleted uranium is a by-product of uranium enrichment process when it’s used for nuclear reactor fuel and in the making of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear energy production is now claimed as a “green solution” to the climate crisis, but nothing could be further from the truth of this deadly lie.

In April 2022, the Biden administration announced a $6 billion government bailout to “rescue” nuclear power plants at risk of closing. A colonial government representative stated, “U.S. nuclear power plants contribute more than half of our carbon-free electricity, and President Biden is committed to keeping these plants active to reach our clean energy goals.” They, along with Climate Justice activists cite nuclear energy as necessary to combat global warming, all while ignoring the devastating permanent impacts Indigenous Peoples have faced.

Due to this “greenwashing” of nuclear energy, we face a push for nuclear hydrogen, small modular nuclear reactors, and High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) driving a renewed threat of new uranium mining, transportation, & processing.

Though the Obama administration placed a moratorium on thousands of uranium mine leases around the Grand Canyon in 2012, pre-existing uranium claims were allowed. Environmental groups and Indigenous Nations are currently attempting to make the moratorium permanent and push for a new national monument, yet these will do little to nothing for the handful of pre-existing uranium mines that have been allowed to move forward.

Despite  these actions, underground blasting & above ground work has begun at Pinyon Plain/Canyon Mine, just miles from the Grand Canyon. Once Energy Fuels, the company operating the mine, starts hauling out radioactive ore, they plan to transport 30 tons per day through Northern Arizona to the company’s processing mill in White Mesa, 300 miles away. 

The White Mesa Mill is the only conventional uranium mill licensed to operate in the U.S. The mill was built on sacred ancestral lands of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe near Blanding, Utah. Energy Fuels disposes radioactive and toxic waste tailings in “impoundments” that take up about 275 acres next to the mill. Since there are limited radioactive waste facilities, White Mesa Mill has become an ad hoc dump for the world’s nuclear wastes that have no final repository.

In so-called New Mexico, a state addicted to nuclear monies for both nuclear weapons and energy facilities, there are two national nuclear labs and two national waste facilities. Along with legacy uranium mines and mills, there was Project Gasbuggy (an underground detonation), a “Broken Arrow” accident near Albuquerque, and countless tons of radioactive waste buried in unlined pits, Pueblo kivas, and watersheds. Currently, there are planned expansions and modifications at Los Alamos National Labs, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, and Urenco uranium enrichment facility. Most recently, the state has been threatened by two newly licensed consolidated interim storage facilities for “spent fuel” from nuclear power plants in New Mexico and Texas. The federal government continues to push nuclear projects with financial incentives.

Nuclear proliferation continues as the U.S. allows uranium miners and others who are eligible for the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to die. Many continue to suffer and wait for compensation funds to be allocated or are not eligible due to the limitations of the act. 

The devastation of nuclear colonialism, which permanently destroys Indigenous communities throughout the world, is not entertainment. This is the terrifying legacy of nuclear energy and weapons that movies like Oppenheimer and duplicitous climate justice activists advocate. 

Indigenous Peoples live, suffer, and continue to resist its consequences every day.



Recommended links:

Red Water Pond Road
ABQ Museum

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ICWA & Continued Legislation of Indigenous Existence




As many celebrate the defense of ICWA, we also must recognize the colonial violence that has demanded & produced it. 

ICWA was passed in 1978 due to the rampant genocidal white christian driven legal practice of taking Indigenous children from their homes and placing them with white christian families. The law was created to resolve a problem colonialism created. The settler colonial state didn’t become interested in “keeping Indigenous children with their Tribes” until it was assured that those children would be passively assimilated into its “civilized” order.

Through laws like ICWA, the State continues to legislate and enforce Indigenous existence.

White families stealing Indigenous children should be a non-issue. That any argument for justification for keeping Indigenous children with their peoples is occurring is part of the larger issue of white supremacy, cis-heteronormativity, and Indigenous genocide. 

Before ICWA was enacted in 1978:

– 25%–35% of all Native children were being removed from their homes; 

– of these, 85% were placed outside of their families and communities—even when fit and willing relatives were available. 

– Today, Native families are 4x more likely to  have their children removed and placed in  foster care than their White counterparts.

(facts from 

Before 1492 Indigenous children weren’t stolen by colonizing predators.

While ICWA is celebrated as an affirmation of Indigenous sovereignty, in actuality it affirms congressional power to regulate commerce (The Commerce Clause) with Indigenous Peoples and plenary power over “Indian affairs.” A plenary power or plenary authority is a complete and absolute power to take action on a particular issue, with no limitations. 

The legal battle over ICWA erases Indigenous children who are not from federally recognized tribes, border communities, & migrants doesn’t address issues of dis-enrollment. Particularly as ICWA specifically “sets federal requirements that apply to state child custody proceedings involving an Indian child who is a member of or eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe.” ICWA reinforces “Indian” citizenship policies that some Tribal governments have used to exclude mixed race descendants. Regardless of ICWA, child theft still occurs within the foster care system, where Indigenous youth still are most likely to end up.

The discourse around ICWA is also inherently cis-heteronormative as it doesn’t support queer & two-spirit family formations. ICWA defines Indian child as “any unmarried person who is under age eighteen and is either (a) a member of an Indian tribe or (b) is eligible for membership in an Indian tribe and is the biological child of a member of an Indian tribe…” 

What justice can we expect from a colonial system that also maintains anti-Indigenous laws sanctioning desecration of sacred lands and attacks bodily autonomy?

Are our cultures and communities so desperate and broken that we celebrate that colonizers can determine if our children belong with us? The apparent “necessity” of ICWA demonstrates the fallacy of colonial laws and the predatory white supremacist violence that constantly looms outside our homes.

That colonial laws are required to stop white people from outright stealing Indigenous babies is the result of a much deeper systemic problem than laws like ICWA can address.

Many of our families & homes are broken due to colonization, more colonial laws won’t fix that.

What are culturally-rooted non-state based solutions to keeping Indigenous children with our families?

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