Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 27, 2022

Tohono O'odham Ofelia Rivas at White Mesa Ute Sacred Walk: An Offering to Mother Earth

Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham, encouraging walkers.

Tohono O'odham Ofelia Rivas at White Mesa Ute Sacred Walk
An Offering to Mother Earth

Transcribed by Censored News

"Every step that you take on this Mother Earth is a sacred step, every step is a prayer, every step is an offering, every inch of this Mother Earth is Turtle Island, it has the remains of our Ancestors, every one of these people that are here today, people from this area, people from the surrounding area, the Indigenous People."

Standing next to Ute Grandmother Thelma Whiskers, Ofelia said, "She looks like she is by herself, but from generations since the beginning of the Earth, her ancestors are standing behind her."

"This is a prayer walk, solidarity walk to bring that offering to the Mother Earth and remind her that we are still defending her, we are still here."

"We still speak our language and sing our songs, we remember the birds, mountains and the sky and the water.

"We are all in solidarity with each other, that will never change as long as we are here.

"So we just encourage everybody, remind everybody, to be in that sacred way when you walk today and to bring that message to the whole world that this is a sacred place and that will never change."

Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham, on right, joined White Mesa Ute on the Sacred Walk to shut down the uranium mill in southeastern Utah endangering the people, land, water and air. Photos by Ofelia Rivas.

Read more:

White Mesa Ute Spiritual Walk Exposes Radioactive Dump, Dangerous Radon Gas

The walk on Saturday exposed these facts: The White Mesa Mill is bringing in radioactive waste. The waste from the original atomic bomb at the Nevada Test Site was too dangerous to remain there, and it was trucked through St. George, Utah, to the White Mesa Mill.

The improperly stored waste at White Mesa Mill is poisoning the people with radon gas. The waste ponds are over the Navajo Aquifer, where Ute, Navajo, Hopi and everyone in the region gets their water.

Already there was a radioactive spill in Cisco, Utah, and radioactive fluids were found leaking from barrels at the mill site.

The mill is only licensed to mill uranium ore, but it is secretly operating as a radioactive waste dump.

White Mesa Mill is owned by Energy Fuels Resources in Colorado, a subsidiary of the one in Canada. The mill is now planning to bring in radioactive waste from Asia and Europe, and has already approved radioactive waste from Japan.

Read the article at Censored News:

Grand Canyon Trust Reveals the Facts

Tim Peterson, the cultural landscapes director at the Grand Canyon Trust, said over 700 million pounds of waste has been buried at the site."

“It's cheaper for polluters to send their waste to the mill than to a licensed low-level radioactive waste disposal facility,” he said during a press conference. 

“The long and short of the report and our recommendation is that if the mill wants to function like a radioactive waste disposal business, it should be regulated like one.”

Read the report'

Article and photos copyright Ofelia Rivas. Content may not be used without written permission.

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