Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Western Shoshone Carrie Dann: Civil disobedience one way to protect Mother Earth

Carrie Dann: Civil disobedience is one way to protect Mother Earth from gold mining

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

TUCSON -- Western Shoshone Carrie Dann spoke of the sacredness of all living things and how gold mining is continuing to destroy the land, water and sacred places of the Western Shoshone.

During testimony to the UN Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, Dann stressed the importance of ancestral lands of the Western Shoshone in Nevada and southern Idaho, in  regards to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“Think as an Indigenous Person, how it must hurt our Mother to have her ripped apart by gold mining companies and others that drill for things under her skin and through her body. It’s sad to look at these things and then try not to believe this is really happening, but it is," Dann said during the testimony on April 26.

Dann, greeted with a standing ovation, said she believes in civil disobedience to halt the mining and destruction.

“I do believe in civil disobedience among our own people. There's a lot of other friends, other colors of people, that are more than willing to help.”

Land is the Mother of Life
Dann said, “We don’t look at land as real estate. We look at it as a Mother, the Mother of Life. And not only to the ones with two legs, but all that live on earth, eight legs, wings, fins, this is the Mother of Life.
“My grandmother told us, as we are dependent on the land, all life comes from land. Our food, clothing, everything that we have today comes from the land. “
Dann described how Barrick and other gold mining companies are destroying sacred places of the Western Shoshone.
In Horse canyon, she has seen as many as ten drillers, drilling to see if any gold is left.
“When you see ten drillers, you know there’s gold. Recently I read in the newspapers there’s eight miles of gold somewhere in there that they have found, which means they are going to rip the whole country apart.
"If anybody has seen an open pit mine, it is sad to see.”
“And think as an Indigenous Person, how it must hurt our Mother to have her ripped apart by gold mining companies and others that drill for things under her skin and through her body. It’s sad to look at these things and then try not to believe this is really happening, but it is.
“It’s happening all over where there’s mining,” she said, including areas where there is copper and silver mining.
“They are trying, getting water applications from the state of Nevada to get the water rights to pump water.”
Now, she said, white ranchers are beginning to oppose the mining because of what will happen to the water.
“It’s time, I say, a lot of people are waking up. Mining destroys water.”
Water is the life of future generations
“And it’s a shame, we as Indigenous People, we know water represents life. And when we see that type of water being pumped out we know life is pumped out, maybe not ours, but the life of our future generation that’s not here yet.”
“We have to look at these things.”
“But how do you stop such going on.”
Dann said she believes in civil disobedience.
“And I do believe in civil disobedience among our own people. There’s a lot of other friends other colors of people that are more than willing to help.”
Although workers say people are trying to take their jobs away, Dann said that is not the case.
“We want to save the Earth for the future generations, their generations now.”
“But if they have children, like I told my own son in law, if you have any children, you better start thinking about what you are doing.”
“I said you know you have to protect the land, the earth, the water, protect all of these things that represent life. And if you cannot do so, you should not have any children."
Don’t bring them into the world to suffer.”
“They are the ones that will be suffering. They may not be able to produce children. If they have children, some of them may be deformed, we don’t know. We don’t know what can happen."

Nuclear Test Site and Yucca Mountain
“We also have a test site, where they test the nuclear bombs.” There is also the nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain.
“We have all of these things. We don’t approve of it; they certainly don’t come to us for approval. Maybe they go to tribal council I don’t know, I’m not a member of the tribal council, or belong to any so called tribe.”
“I don’t know the meaning of a tribe. I don’t know what a tribe is. When you attempt to read the Bible, they talk about tribes. To me it means a beginning of man to learn how to do things. And if we’re a tribe, is that where we are at? Is that what they talk about?
“There are a few words within our Western Shoshone that we can’t use; one is “tribe.”
“If you use a word wrong, it means we are like a four legged person or animal, that we are not fully developed as human beings.”

“That’s my interpretation. I could be wrong. There’s words that when you use the English language, please understand the words you are using. Because when you use it this way, it might mean something else in another way. In this language, you have to know what you are talking about.”
A Nobel Prize for Courage
In his introduction of Carrie Dann, Ronald Trosper spoke of sisters Carrie and Mary Dann and their long struggle to defend and protect the Western Shoshone homelands.
“They have fought the United States government, the nuclear industry and gold mining corporations for a long time. And she has been leading her struggle for many years. She received the Right Livelihood Award in 1993, an alternative Nobel Prize for courage.”

Dann said, "I don't know if I deserve a standing ovation.
"I got it anyway."
Watch film trailer for American Outrage, the story of Mary and Carrie Dann:

Bullfrog Films: http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/amout.html

Article author Brenda Norrell: brendanorrell@gmail.com

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