Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 14, 2022

The Struggle for Survival -- Energy, Genocide and the Targeting of Leonard Peltier

Creator Nabahe Kadenehe, Alliance for Survival. Courtesy Bard College 'Observer'

The Struggle for Survival -- Energy, Genocide and the Targeting of Leonard Peltier

Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The Four Corners Energy Map of 1980 was published in the Bard College newsletter, "Observer." The article details genocide in Indian country, the energy war in Indian country, and the targeting of Leonard Peltier.

The genocide of Native people by the United States government was carried out by murder, removal of children to boarding schools and foster homes, exploitation of energy resources, sterilization of women, and forced relocation. The cultural genocide was also carried out by missionaries and churches.

The article, "The American Indian Struggle for Identity and Survival," includes the admission of Standing Deer, Leonard Peltier's fellow inmate, and the fact the United States asked Standing Deer to assassinate Peltier in prison.

It includes the Walk for Survival 1980 and shares the journey, including the prayers at the atomic bomb testing site on Western Shoshone land, and prayers for Native women sterilized without their consent by the U.S. government in Oklahoma.

The horrific torture of Cheyenne and Arapaho girls during the Massacre at Sand Creek in Colorado by the United States is documented.

The victories of Crazy Horse, the violation of Treaties by the U.S., and the murder and land theft for gold mining in the Black Hills and railroads in the Northwest are shared.

The definition of genocide, and how the United States carried out genocide in Indian country, are listed.

The genocide in Indian country includes murder, the removal of children from their homes to boarding schools and foster homes, the role of missionaries and churches, the sterilization of Native women, forced relocation, the exploitation of energy resources, and specifically the poisoning of Lakotas at Pine Ridge with uranium tailings, nuclear waste, the spraying of Agent Orange, and the bombing at the range at Sheep Mountain in the Badlands which left behind scattered explosives.

The uranium mining in the Black Hills and Four Corners, were only two regions targeted. Uranium mines also left behind cancer and death in eastern Washington state, and in northern Canada.

Radioactive uranium tailings were strewn.

As a defender of the land and people, as the American Indian Movement demanded rights and justice, Leonard Peltier was targeted.

John Trudell said, "Leonard Peltier is not the criminal, nor is he the enemy. He is the victim."

Excerpts from Bard College Observer

The U.S. plot to have a fellow inmate, Robert Standing Deer, assassinate Peltier in prison. (After he was released Standing Deer was later murdered, sitting in his wheelchair in Houston.)

The Longest Walk for Survival 1980 included prayers at the site of atomic bombing and uranium mining in Indian country. The walkers stood in solidarity with Native women who were sterilized without their consent by the U.S. government by Indian Health Service and its medical contractors.

The article includes the horrific torture of Cheyenne and Arapaho at Sand Creek.

The definition of genocide is stated, and the specifics of genocide in Indian country are listed, including the poisoning of Lakotas at Pine Ridge and Rosebud in South Dakota.

Debra White Plume, Oglala Lakota, gives the Lewis and Clark Expedition a symbolic blanket of smallpox in Chamberlain, South Dakota. The American Indian Movement demanded the pretenders leave their land. Read the article at Censored News, originally published by the U.N. Observer and International Report at the Hague.

Uranium mining's death trail

Pine Ridge: Contaminated Water and the Sterilization of Lakota women

The Energy War 1980 Four Corners

The United States Sacrifice Zone in the Four Corners Region: "Energy War 1980 Four Corners"

Allen Cooper, who broadcast live from Wounded Knee, and volunteered at KUNM Radio Albuquerque, left behind an incredible poster collection that includes the Energy War map. Thanks to journalist Kent Patterson for the great tribute that we published on Censored News.

The poster shows the Navajo Nation, Hopi Nation and Pueblos. The symbols show the uranium mining and tailings; Peabody coal mines; electric coal train from Black Mesa to Page power plant; coal-fired power plants on the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners; Peabody coal slurry line using Black Mesa aquifer water, and the Jackpile Mine, the huge and deadly uranium strip mine on Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico. It left a legacy of cancer of death for Laguna and Acoma uranium miners.

The mountain peak images are Big Mountain and San Francisco Peaks in Arizona and Mount Taylor in New Mexico. 

Censored: Uranium Mining on Pine Ridge

The uranium mining on Pine Ridge was censored by Indian Country Today, while I was a staff reporter with ICT in 1999.

Buffy Sainte Marie was censored by the newspaper.

Backstage at Dine' College, Buffy described how she was blacklisted out of the music business in the United States by President Lyndon Johnson because of her song, "Universal Soldier," and her stance against the Vietnam War.

The article I wrote was censored in 1999. When I was terminated from ICT in 2016, a portion was published, but the uranium mining on Pine Ridge remained censored.

During those years, Louise Benally of Big Mountain was also censored by Indian Country Today, when she compared the United States attack on Iraq to the Longest Walk, the genocidal forced removal of Dineh to Fort Sumner in New Mexico. Louise's words came as the U.S. bombs fell on Baghdad.

Big Mountain on Black Mesa is the pivotal nucleus of the energy war. Louise's family is among the resisters who have fought removal for more than 40 years. The relocation of thousands of Dineh came as Peabody Coal took control of the land on Black Mesa for coal mining. Peabody poisoned the water, land and air, and depletedv the aquifer and springs.

The coal was used at the power plant near Page on the Navajo Nation, to produce electricity for distant Southwest cities. At the same time, many Dineh on the Navajo Nation lived without running water or electricity. 

The censorship at Indian Country Today, while I was a staff reporter, was after it was sold, during the time it had owners in New York state. Many issues were censored, then the editor said I would be terminated if I didn't stop writing about grassroots Native people.

I was terminated in 2006 and began Censored News. It is a labor of love to show what is being censored. We have no ads, grants, salaries or revenues. We've had 22 million page views since 2006.

The voices of Dineh resisters of coal mining and relocation at Big Mountain, the secretive uranium mining at Pine Ridge, leaving a trail of cancer and death for Lakotas, the voice of Leonard Peltier in prison, the militarization of the Tohono O'odham Nation, and the border, were among the truths that Indian Country Today newspaper attempted to silence.

About the author

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 40 years, beginning at Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She was a correspondent for Associated Press and USA Today on the Navajo Nation. After serving as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated in 2006, and created Censored News. Since then, she broadcast live with Earthcycles coast to coast on the Longest Walk 2008 northern route; reported from Bolivia's Mother Earth Conference, and the UN Climate Summit at the Via Campesina gathering, and reported from the border, the west and Mexico. She has traveled with the Zapatistas many times since 1995. She has a master's degree in international health, focused on water, nutrition, and infectious diseases.

Article and Debra White Plume photo copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News
Bard College Observer excerpts property of Bard College.

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