Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 2, 2012

Havasupai Damon Watahomigie to UN Rapporteur: Halt uranium mining in Grand Canyon

Statement of Damon Watahomigie

Keepers of the Secret

Havasupai Tribe

Grand Canyon, AZ

(928) 277-6541

Consultation with The Honorable Mr. James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Tucson, AZ, April 26-27, 2012

Re: Land and Resources

Thank you Honorable Mr. James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for allowing me the opportunity to come before you today to speak on behalf of the Havasupai tribe.  I am Watahomigiga, Keepers of the Secrets and an original descendent of the first Havasupai that were removed from the Grand Canyon national park. My grandfather was the sub chief of our people and a war captain who presided here at the national park  just as his parents before him  Our ancestors taught us that we are the anthropocentric and the theocentric  tribes of this region. This is based on nature centered beings who we've entrusted as forbading gods to provide super natural substances for water,  rich soil and good crops. This in return is fed to the deities to usher in a time of prophecies of how our living should be instructed as an ancient matriarchal society with the oldest known language and culture of the Hokan and Yuman tribes of the south west.

On behalf of the Havasupai, the people of the blue-green waters, I appreciate the human rights inquiry led by James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples focusing on the plight of Indigenous people in the US and how the standards of the declaration are reflected in US law and policy, and needed reforms and good practices.

The Havasupai Tribal Council and the Havasupai People strongly oppose uranium mining in the Grand Canyon to protect our cultural values, traditional beliefs and uses, practices, sacred places, water, plants and wildlife. The Grand Canyon is a place of prayer for the well-being of the world. Protection of this sacred place affects the climate and weather patterns of the earth.

We support the Department of the Interior’s January 2012 decision to withdraw one million acres of public lands and ban and prohibit new mining claims and mine development on existing claims without valid permits. In March, we joined conservation groups to defend the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon.

We appeal to you today for your urgent intervention under the declaration and international law to protect Havasupai territory, the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River, a drinking water source for tens of millions of people. 
The current mining ban does not include new uranium mining from Denison Mines:  active mining by VANE Minerals the in Kaibab forest and 3 permits approved for EZ, Pinenut and Canyon mines -- two north of the Grand Canyon, and one near Valle, south of Tusayan. 

I see the effects of uranium mining in Havasupai homeland and for my Navajo neighbors who do not have access to safe drinking water. Today let’s make a stand to end this capitalistic nephilism and demonic conquest of nuclear enticements to all indigenous nations globally.  Our freedom requires we stand together to create a movement that is greater than any movement on the face of this earth. If our belief systems and life ways are free of geomatra, our traditions will be pure and clean and free from political insurpations. We refuse to be viewed as insipid or desiccated.  As the first born warriors of the Grand Canyon we refuse to become the next millennium’s world terrorists by allowing mega nuclear industrial complex mining industries to mine in the Grand Canyon.


Damon Watahomigie

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