Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 26, 2009

Faking the News: Where were the reporters?

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

SKY CITY, Acoma Pueblo, N.M. -- Where were the news reporters during the 7th Southwest Uranium Forum? Only two people identified themselves as news reporters at the gathering, a correspondent for Washington Post and another from the Four Corners Free Press.

Where was the American Indian media? Where were the Native American newspapers and radio stations?

Recently, Associated Press and the Arizona Republic were quick to attack environmentalists by rewriting the press releases of politicians and corporations. But where were their reporters when Indigenous Peoples gathered to tell their stories of how uranium mining, and the radioactive waste strewn and left behind, caused the deaths of their children, parents, brothers and sisters?

Faith Gemmill came all the way from the Arctic Circle in Alaska to this gathering, telling of the climate change devastating the way of life of her people and the land, water and air of all life there. Charmaine White Face of Defenders of the Black Hills came from South Dakota, revealing the secrecy of the uranium mining and the waste that poisons the land and water of the Oglala. Winona LaDuke, Anishinabe, came from White Earth, Louise Benally, Navajo, came from Big Mountain, Margene Bullcreek, Goshute, came from Utah and Supai Waters from the land of the Havasupai.

This Indigenous Uranium Forum was broadcast live with streaming video by Earthcycles. As of Monday morning, there were more than 68,500 views of the sessions from Thursday, Friday and Saturday. News reporters have access to these sessions at no cost. Will they tell the story of the Navajos who buried their children after they died of brain tumors, or the children who grew up without their mothers who died of lung cancer from the uranium mines in Monument Valley, Red Valley and Cove, Arizona?

Will they tell the story of the children taken away, vanished from their families, after their parents died working in the uranium mines without protective clothing? Will they tell the story of the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos who ate the radioactive dust with their meals near Jackpile Mine? Will they tell the story of the Havasupai who now must sacrifice their own money to fight the new threat of uranium mining in the Grand Canyon, uranium mining that could poison their water? Will they expose how Cyprus Tohono Corporation's copper mining released uranium into the Tohono O'odham water supply and there is now a cancer alley.

Will they listen to John Redhouse, Navajo, tell of the hate crimes toward Navajos and Pueblos here. Will the news reporters reflect and consider that uranium mining has long been a hate crime in Indian country?

Sky City on Acoma Pueblo is located between the Navajo Nation and Albuquerque. It is alongside the interstate highway, but no local reporters came. If they did, they did not identify themselves at the beginning or the conclusion of the gathering.

Censorship is the sad state of the media today. Faking news coverage is what the media does when reporters are lazy and editors do not send reporters to hear the stories of the grassroots people.

It is far easier for editors and reporters to rewrite the press releases of corporations and politicians than to go and listen to the truth and the voices of the people. A quick phone call will not do justice to the long standing genocide, greed and destruction by energy companies and the US government in Indian country.

This was an opportunity missed for the media who did not make it a priority. Please write the reporters and editors and hold them accountable.

Indigenous Uranium Forum session videos:

Brenda Norrell is a contributor to Narco News, CounterPunch, Americas, Sri Lanka Guardian, Atlantic Free Press and the UN OBSERVER & International Report.
Tiokasin Ghosthorse
Oyate Tokaheya Wicakiye
Comment published with permission
"Faking the News: Where were the reporters?":
"Yes!! the "mainstream" Native American radio stations that are too afraid to bite the hand that feeds them and who can really afford to be there should have been there.
Those of us who want to be and do not have a budget because of the easily accepted Native "American" or America's Indian mentality to not rock the boat. These are the "indians" who America pays attention to rather than the real story. I wish I could have been there. I really do. If there was a travel account for me to go to these events across country without being taking from my personal expenses. I have been "volunteering" for 17 years on the radio.
I will download and use on several radio stations with your permission.
Thank you for doing this."
Listen to First Voices Indigenous Radio, Thursdays 10am-11am CRAZY HORSE (His Horse Is Enchanted) 1877 said this smoking a pipe with Sitting Bull 4 days before his assassination. "Upon suffering beyond suffering: the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day, there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be one."
Submitted October 27, 2009 - 11:38 am by Tonya Hennessey
Hi Brenda,
I'm a Fieldhand; this is my first post over here. The organization I work with, CorpWatch, recently ran a feature written by a journalist in India on this same topic -- the hate crime that is uranium mining, and again, on tribal lands. When the most recent hearing was held on mine expansion, Indigenous voices were locked out.
You can find the article here,
Uranium Corporation of India Limited: Wasting Away Tribal Lands
by Moushumi Basu, Special to CorpWatch October 7th, 2009
NOTE: Yes, permission is given from Govinda at Earthcycles and Brenda at Censored News Blog Radio to radio stations around the world, to rebroadcast our audio recordings, in whole or part in news programs.


Forgotten People Navajo Nation, AZ said...

It is important Govinda at Earthcycles, Brenda at Censored News Blog and Indian Country reporters also cover the upcoming Uranium Stakeholders conference at the Gallup Inn, Gallup NM, November 3-5.

In the morning of November 4th, Forgotten People will present about Black Falls Environmental Justice Safe Drinking Water project and close to 100 families that are drinking uranium and arsenic contamianted water and in the afternoon Forgotten People will participate in an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)/Navajo Peacemaking presentation.

Registration is free. These are stories that need to be told.

Hope to see you there. For more information, please contact Forgotten People at

Censored News, publisher Brenda Norrell said...

We would love to be there. We paid our own cross country expenses to cover the Acoma Pueblo uranium forum, so we are very broke right now. Thanks for the invitation. Best, Brenda