Protecting the Earth Mother from mining
By Brenda Norrell
SOUTHFORK, Nevada -- The Indigenous Environmental Network's Healing Mother Earth Conference, with speakers from Canada, US, Mexico, Central and South America, is live on the web today and through Sunday, July 20, 2008. Listen now at Earthcycles: http://www.earthcycles.net/
Western Shoshone Carrie Dann, speaking on the gold mining devastating Western Shoshone lands today, said the mountains are being destroyed for minuscule amounts of gold.
"It looks like big cancer sores on the earth mother. They are extracting our water."
Dann pointed out that water and petroleum products are being extracted from the Earth Mother. She said the elders have talked about these things and compared it to the foundation of a house being removed.
The Earth Mother will collapse if they continue to extract these things from her body, she said of gold mining and petroleum extraction.
"Remember those of us destroying the Earth are those of us buying gold jewelry." Dann said she knows now the destruction that comes from gold mining and no longer buys gold.
"We are a part of this destruction as long as we continue to buy gold. The US consumers keep the gold prices up."
Louise Benally, Navajo from Big Mountain, Arizona, said Thursday at the IEN conference, that she threw her gold ring in the Rio Grande, in solidarity with those fighting gold mining and the destruction of sacred mountains.
Dann compared the destruction of the Earth Mother to the destruction of the body of Native women.
"Giving life is very sacred. This giving of life comes from a female."
Dann said Indigenous Peoples must act now to preserve the Earth Mother. She pointed out that the birds and animals can not live without water. She said the most intelligent being, supposedly human beings, are at the forefront of mining and destruction of the earth.
"We must preserve it for future generations, for our grandchildren."
Dann spoke out against Indian Nations accepting royalties from energy companies for the extraction of their resources. She pointed out the various ways the US government attempts to coop Native people and seize their lands and minerals.
She said the whipporwills and Monarch butterflies are vanishing from this region. The plant life is dying. "Is it because of the mining, the pumping of our water, or the contaminants that come from the mines."
There is also the nuclear testing and the dump sites. "Could that be what is killing our plant life?" Dann also spoke out against accepting US dollars for the Earth Mother.
"We don't want to be paid for our land." Dann said she will not accept payment for land, such as the current US offer of 15 cents per acre.
Julie Fishel of the Western Shoshone Defense Project pointed out that Carrie Dann never enrolled in an American Indian Tribe.
"Carrie does not need the US government's permission to be who she is."
Listen to the IEN Conference today from the North and South
Speakers include Robert Shimek (Anishinaabe) from Minnesota; Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone; Samuel McKay (Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwu) from Big Trout Lake First Nations, Ontario; Pennelys Goodshield (Anishinaabe) with the Sustainable Nations Development Project and Jeff Tobe of the Solar Energy International.
Friday afternoon small circles
For those attending, there are small circles Friday afternoon include: "Water Healing and Protection with Virgina Sanchez (Duckwater Shoshone) from Nevada; Rick Spilsbury (Ely Shoshone) from Nevada; and Felicia Rocha-Bertin (Inuit)
Climate Change 101 and Solutions: Trainers: Jihan Gearon (Dine') IEN Native Energy and Climate Program in Arizona; Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Arikira, Hidatsa) IEN Tribal Campus Climate Challenge in North Dakota.
Using CERD as a Human Rights Tool: Alberto Saldamando, legal counsel, Chicano/Zapoteca, International Indian Treay Council in California; Julie Fishel, Western Shoshone Defense Project in Newe Sogobia (Nevada)
"Toxics Policy: The Need for Aggressive Action" Shawna Larson (Ahtna Athabascan/Sugpiaq); Alaska Community Action on Toxics and IEN/REDOIL in Alaska.
Youth activity, eldery and youth discussions; traditional food and plant discussion by Shoshone elder.
Listen at: http://www.earthcycles.net/
Photo: The Indigenous Environmental Network's Healing Mother Earth Conference on Western Shoshone lands. Seated are the speakers on Friday morning's panel: "Big Circle: Indigenous Struggles on Extractive Industry:-- Mining the Sources of Life -- Voices from the North and South." Sam McKay, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, among six chiefs who served time in jail for protecting the land from mining in Ontario, is second from right. KI is an Aboriginal community in the Boreal Forest of Ontario. Six chiefs were jailed for refusing to comply with an October,2007 court ruling that allows Platinex Inc., a Toronto-based mineral exploration company, to begin drilling on KI traditional lands without protest or obstruction. KI established a peaceful protest camp at the Platinex exploration site. (Please double click to enlarge photo.) Photo copyright Brenda Norrell
Directions to conference at South Fork, near Lee:
The conference site is located approximately 22 miles south of the town of Elko, Nevada, in a place called South Fork Indian Reservation, near and around the small town of Lee, Nevada. Elko is located along Interstate 80. Interstate 80 goes east to west. When coming from the east (from Salt Lake City, Utah), next take Elko East interchange. When you exit off the freeway, turn left, under the freeway, turning right on Idaho Street. When coming from the west (from Reno), take Exit 298 (Elko West interchange). When you exit off the freeway, turn right onto Mountain City Highway, then left on Idaho Street. Idaho Street is also known as (Business Loop 80 and Nevada 535). When you are coming down Idaho Street, turn south on 5th Street (Nevada 227) toward Spring Creek and Lamoille Canyon (right if you are coming from W. Idaho, and left if you are coming from E. Idaho). Go south on 227 for a couple miles, it will have curves. When you reach Spring Creek (your last gas and food spot before the gathering), turn right at the stop light onto Nevada road 228 (south) toward Lee and Jiggs and proceed for approximately 15 miles, turning left at the Lee sign (after tractor crossing sign) onto the paved road going east (this is road number 714, the “Lee” road, even though the road will not be marked as such). Proceed on this paved road for approximately 8 miles, curving several times, after you reach the second 15 mile per hour signage you will cross a bridge over the South Fork river, the gathering site is 1/8 mile from the bridge on your left. There will be “IEN-PME” signs along the way, in addition to colored cloth markers. (Note: Approximately another 5 miles on 228, is another road going east to the conference site. This is called the “backroad” and is a well maintained gravel road. It is known as another 714 road, but named “Woods Lane”.)