August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Navajo Uranium Film Fest: Microcosm of truth in Indian country

Navajo Uranium Film Festival exposes truth, as Long Walkers trek for sovereignty, and Mi'kmaq put their lives on the line to protect their land and water
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo by Bad Bear Sampson
The International Uranium Film Festival is underway in the Navajo Nation Nation's capitol, with films exposing the local and global devastation resulting from uranium mining on Indigenous lands, where corporate greed and sinister agendas have left a legacy of cancer, disease, death and ecocide.
Meanwhile, in Nevada, Native Americans are walking across America with the message of sovereignty and hope. As they trekked over the snow-packed highway toward Carson City, Nevada today, walkers grew closer to their goal of Alcatraz Island. The Longest Walk 4 Return to Alcatraz began in Washington DC on July 15 and arrives in Alcatraz on Dec. 21, with a ceremony on Dec. 22.
In Canada, Mi'kmaqs continue to resist fracking and the threat to their land and water, as the Houston-based Southwestern Energy, SWN, pushed forward in the courts and onto Mi'kmaqs sovereign land this week. Arrests continue as Mi'kmaqs, including women and elderly, put their lives on the line to protect their land, water and future generations.

On Sunday night, Umatilla tribal members and climate justice activists blocked and halted a megaload in Oregon bound for Alberta tarsands. It is the most recent protest of megaloads and the planned Keystone XL pipeline that threatens Indian country. Already Cree and First Nations lands and waters are poisoned from tarsands mining.

At the International Uranium Film Festival in Window Rock, Arizona, at the Navajo Nation Museum, Shiprock, N.M., Councilman Russell Begaye described the devastation caused by uranium mining on the Navajo Nation and in his home community of Shiprock. He remembered the dead fish floating in the river as a child, and his relatives stricken by diseases from radioactive contamination.
On the Navajo Nation, Navajos were sent to their deaths in the uranium mines during the Cold War without protective clothing, even though the US government and corporations knew of the deadly effects of radioactive uranium. Today, radioactive uranium tailings remain strewn across the Navajo Nation, as the US EPA has failed in its responsibility for cleanup. The Church Rock N.M. uranium tailings spill contamination in 1979 has now flowed down the Rio Puerco contaminating the region. Even with this legacy of disease and death, and failed cleanup, new uranium mining companies are targeting this area of Navajoland and the nearby Pueblo and Mount Taylor region in New Mexico with new uranium mining.
On Monday during the festival, Duane 'Chili' Yazzie pointed out that the modernday Navajo Nation government is not one of the peoples' own, but one imposed on Navajos.
Among the speakers at the film festival was Petuuche Gilbert of Acoma Pueblo and Carletta Tilousi of Havasupai who described the widespread contamination in the Southwest from uranium mining, from the Pueblos in New Mexico to the Supais sacred land in the Grand Canyon. The Southwest region remains contaminated with radioactive dust from Cold War uranium mining and recent uranium mining, that has poisoned water and land, and both plant and animal food sources, resulting in widespread deaths from cancer and respiratory disease.

Wendsler Nosie, San Carlos Apache, described the ongoing fight against Resolution Copper mine and the need to protect sacred land. Nosie fought to protect Mount Graham from the massive telescopes constructed by the University of Arizona in Tucson and a consortium of universities, which was promoted by the Pope. Nosie stressed the importance of working with the youths for future generations.
The International Uranium Film Festival continues at the Navajo Nation Museum on Wednesday, the final day, with talks by Native Americans and films from around the world. It is available on livestream.
Photos of today's Longest Walk 4 by Western Shoshone Long Walker Carl 'Bad Bear' Sampson

Censored News was created after Brenda Norrell, longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, was censored and terminated by ICT. Censored News is in its 8th year, with 2.8 million views and with no advertising.
copyright Brenda Norrell, for reprint permission

Into the snow, Longest Walk 4 to Carson City, Nevada



Longest Walk 4 Return to Alcatraz walked toward Carson City, Nevada, today, from Fallon, after a grand welcome by the Stillwater Paiute Shoshone Indian community. Thanks to Western Shoshone long walker Carl 'Bad Bear' Sampson for sharing photos each day with Censored News!

More photos!
Stillwater Paiute Shoshone Grand Welcome to Long Walkers
Photos Bad Bear and Emilio presentation in Fallon Nevada
Long Walk 4 at Grimes Point sacred Paiute land, photos by Bad Bear
Bad Bear's photos Yomba Shoshone to Paiute land, Long Walk 4

Mohawk Nation News 'Mi'kmaqs Eastern Gatekeepers of Turtle Island!'


Navajo Uranium Film Fest Day 2 article and videos


Live streaming video by Ustream
Click arrow to watch livestream!

The International Uranium Film Festival is underway, Navajo Nation Museum, Dec. 2 -- 4, 2013

NAVAJO NATION -- On the second day of the International Uranium Film Festival on the Navajo Nation, Shiprock NM Councilman Russell Begaye spoke on the detrimental way uranium cleanup is being done in the Shiprock area. Radioactive tailings and ore are just covered up with rock, rather than hauled away and removed.
Begaye said the drinking water is poisoned in the Red Mesa and Sweetwater area because uranium has been detected in the wells. Currently, a water pipeline is being constructed because of this contamination.
"We continue the fight," Begaye said, pointing out that every Navajo knows someone who has been impacted. Begaye said as a child he and friends would jump in the river for the dead fish floating from the results of the Shiprock uranium mine.
Begaye said the Navajo Nation Council updated the ban on transporting uranium ore across Navajo Nation land, making the prohibition more stringent.
Still, he said uranium mining companies on private land in New Mexico are trying to convince the Navajo Nation Council to allow transportation from uranium mining across Navajoland.
"No more mining on our land," Begay said.
"It changes the DNA of our people," adding that the Navajo people are beautiful people, who are strong and creative, and uranium mining threatens the people.
"We have radioactive dust all over the place, we know that.
"When dust storms occur, we are breathing in that."
Begaye pleaded with Navajo chapters not to give in to the coercion and offers of uranium mining companies.
"Let's stand strong as a people."
Begaye encouraged Navajos to stand strong and united in the battle for cleanup of the radioactive tailings left behind on the Navajo Nation from Cold War uranium mining and to prevent future uranium contamination and disease for Dine'.
The Four Corners region, which includes the Navajo Nation, is considered a "sacrifice zone" by the United States government. Navajos were sent to their deaths in the uranium mines without protective clothing, even though the US knew of the deadly effects of radioactive uranium mining.
The Four Corners region is also poisoned by coal-fired power plants on the Navajo Nation, two in New Mexico and one in Arizona. The land is leased to coal mines and coal-fired power plants by the Navajo Nation government. The power primarily goes to non-Indians in the Southwest, while many Navajos continue to live without electricity. Further, the power plants use excessive amounts of water, while many Navajos continue to haul their water.
Further, the drinking water in the region is widely contaminated from Cold War uranium mining and strewn radioactive tailings which were never cleaned up.

Watch video of Begaye's presentation:
Watch more videos from Navajo film fest talks:

Streaming from the International Uranium Film Festival (IUFF) at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona.
Tuesday December 3, 2013
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM International Uranium Film Festival
1:00 – 2:00 Community Gathering Part II
Workshop: Traditional Knowledge vs. Western Scientism
Wendsler Nosie; Carletta Tilousi; Dr. Anthony Lee;
2:15 – 3:15 Workshop : The Cradle-to-Grave Approach of the
Sierra Club Nuclear Free Campaign
-Buffalo Bruce, Sierra Club Nuclear Free Committee
-Sarah Fields, Co-Chair Sierra Club Front End Working Group
-Leona Morgan, Sierra Club Volunteer
-Jennifer Thurston, moderator, co-chair FEWG
-Robert Tohe, Envir.Justice Sierra Club
3:30 – 6:30 International Uranium Film Festival
More about IUFF:
Navajo Nation Museum:

Read article from Day 1 at Censored News
Background on films:

Stillwater Paiute Shoshone Grand Welcome to Longest Walk 4


A grand welcome for the Longest Walk 4! Photos by Carl 'Bad Bear' Sampson, Western Shoshone long walker, on Longest Walk Return to Alcatraz, at Stillwater Paiute Shoshone Indian Nation, Fallon, Nevada, on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. Thank you for sharing with Censored News.
More photos!
Photos Bad Bear and Emilio presentation in Fallon Nevada
Long Walk 4 at Grimes Point sacred Paiute land, photos by Bad Bear
Bad Bear's photos Yomba Shoshone to Paiute land, Long Walk 4

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