Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 8, 2015

Crying Earth Rise Up in Crawford


Crying Earth Rise Up in Crawford, NE

Last week Owe Aku and Prairie Dust Films, our documentary film allies, attended a screening and discussion sponsored by the Sisterhood Water Watch from Crawford, Nebraska- the location of the Cameco Uranium Mine. Crying Earth Rise Up screened to approximately 25 Native and non-Indian audience members, including ranchers, the town veterinarian, retirees, experts in the nuclear and bio-science fields and other townspeople who attended due to a concern with the environmental impact Cameco Uranium Mine has had on their region.

Crawford is near to Pine Ridge and the White River flows from Crawford to the Reservation. Although many in the area have trusted Cameco for decades, recent educational campaigns by Owe Aku and Crying Earth Rise Up have sparked an interest in asking more questions about the mines safety record and it's ability to contaminate precious Sacredwater.

"This is documentary advocacy in action. We are grateful to share the film in the town that has believed the mine company for decades. It is inspiring real dialogue and discussion about important issues of protecting sacred water and the safety of uranium mining," says Crying Earth Rise Up director Suree Towfighnia. "The statistics we use in the film come from Cameco and the government documents themselves. What's exciting is that brave citizens are coming out to learn other truths about uranium mining rather than only believing the mine company propaganda".

Over the past decade, Owe Aku has worked hard to create allies in northern Nebraska who are willing to stand up against the mine.  As a result, a series of screenings of Crying Earth Rise Up, were hosted by individuals in their own homes in towns like Crawford and Chadron.  This built enthusiasm for the first of a few public showings arranged by the Sisterhood Water Watch in the town of Crawford. Audience members expressed gratitude for the point of view the film maintains and the alternative version of truth brought forth in the film.  Some were appalled to learn  how Cameco's unbalanced propaganda, power and wealth has impacted the region. Many were not afraid to stand up against the mine, stating they would host home screenings and put up "No Uranium Mining / Protect Sacred Water" signs in their yard.

"I was born in Dawes County, raised in rural Sioux County. Crawford is my hometown. I live in Chadron today, just 24 miles down the road. I still have family and friends there. I don't feel unsafe in my little town. I walk with intention, my head is up, my eyes and ears are open. I oppose this foreign company and its practices. I am not afraid. I welcome anyone to come spend time with open minds. Message me if you have questions or need directions. I am happy to help." quote on Facebook by Colleen Brennan from Sisterhood Water Watch.

Crying Earth Rise Up and Owe Aku advocate for a future that protects the human right of future generations to enjoy clean water and a healthy environment.  This screening was one of many outreach and education actions leading up to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearings August 24-28, of which Owe Aku and Debra White Plume are lead plaintiffs. The hearing will be held in the Crawford Community Building and will address the renewal of Cameco's uranium mining permit. If you would like to host a solidarity screening of Crying Earth Rise Up in your tribal community, home or center, please visit: "Host a Screening" A donation to Owe Aku's hearing expenses can be made through our website at:
Wopila for all your support! Together we can generate positive change for our families and future generations. 

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