August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CENSORED: Navajos protest uranium-funded inauguration

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo by Benny Bahe: Norman Patrick Brown protesting "No uranium mining on Dinetah."

Navajos protested the inauguration of newly elected Navajo President Ben Shelly and Vice President Rex Jim on Tuesday. The inauguration funders included the uranium company that wants to poison the land and water at Church Rock, NM, on the Navajo Nation, already the site of the nation's deadliest uranium spill in 1979.

Norman Patrick Brown, Navajo, said the protesters received a lot of support, with honking horns, during the protest at the inauguration, which attracted a smaller crowd than past inaugurations.

"We had an incredible show of support from the hundreds of passersby," Brown said. "Our dozen or so sign carriers were greeted with smiles and support. I'm proud of our Navajo people. The Navajo government heard us.

"Even the police officers supported our cause with their thumbs ups. Many elders thanked us for making the Navajo government accountable. The youth waved in all their few dozen buses that came to watch the inauguration. Veterans thanked us," Brown said.

As Navajo protesters carried signs reading, "Shelly loves uranium money," Navajo passersby honked their horns.

"We heard that the politicians who were speech making were very frustrated at the constant noise. What an incredible day!" Brown said.

In typical style, AP's pro-corporate reporter Felicia Fonseca did not mention the uranium dollars and protesters in her article. As usual with AP, Fonseca focused on the criminal charges that Shelly and Jim were charged with before entering plea agreements. The focus of AP is to criminalize Navajos, without pointing out the legacy of death from uranium mining, coal fired power plants and oil and gas wells around Navajo homes.

This morning's online headline articles in Navajo Times and Farmington Daily Times also fail to mention the protest of uranium funding.

Although the Navajo Nation banned uranium mining, companies are pushing to mine in checkerboard land area, at the edges of Navajo communities. The same water aquifer supplies Navajos with drinking water in Church Rock and Crownpoint, N.M., that is targeted for new uranium mining by Uranium Resources, Inc., URI. Navajos in the communities have struggled to fund federal lawsuits to fight the new corporate monster bringing the old legacy of death.

A full page ad shows Uranium Resources, Inc., was one of the funders of the Navajo inauguration 2011.

(Brenda Norrell, publisher of Censored News, previously served as an AP stringer while living on the Navajo Nation.)

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