Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 20, 2023

Celebrating the Victory: Ward Valley 25th Anniversary in Photos

Celebrating the Victory of Halting a Nuclear Waste Dump
25 Years Later, Feb. 18, 2023

After facing off with BLM agents, and maintaining the camp in soaring 117-degree heat, in the end, the unified action protected the sacred running trails, the home of desert tortoises, and the water of the Colorado River, a source of life to millions.

Colorado River Indian Tribes Royalty

Tim Williams, Chairman of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe

Doelena Van Fleet, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe


Spirit Runners Coming In!

Thank you, Molly Johnson and friends, for sharing your photos with Censored News!

On Saturday, once again, the Birdsingers sang the people home

Article by Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The Bird Songs once again guided those who have lived in the Mojave Desert since time immemorial, home to a safe haven.

Llewellyn Barrackman, Mojave elder, said, "The Mojave have no place to go. This is our home."
"We are the Pipa Aha Macav, the people along the river, instructed by the Creator to protect it."
Barrackman's words, before he passed to the Spirit World, were at Ward Valley, during the 113-day Occupation which halted a nuclear waste dump on sacred land in 1998.
Here, led by Mojave, Chemehuevi, Quechan, Cocopah and Colorado Indian Tribes, the Occupation faced off law enforcement, and not only survived in the desert, but celebrated a victory here.
Here, in the home of Old Mountain and Spirit Mountain, there are longtime running trails, desert tortoises and a pristine aquifer. The nearby waters of the Colorado River flow southward, across the invisible border into Mexico.
It is Silyaye Ahease, The Place of Mesquite and Sand, a spiritual gathering ground where early Mojave collected mesquite seeds and medicinal plants.
It is the ancestral territory of Mojave, who call themselves the Pipa Aha Macav, People Who Live Along the River. It was once their farmland for beans, corn, melons and pumpkins.
The people were travelers and singers, carried forward by their Mojave Creation and Traveling Songs. The songs described the paths of their ancestors and how to best use what was offered by the land and water.
The Bird Songs were geographic guides for desert travel, revealing the paths of migrating birds, a rhythmic map pointing out the direction of the next source of water and food.
Wally Antone, Quechan Bird Singer, said Mohave, Quechan and Cahuilla were given Bird Songs by the Creator and they tell similar stories.
"To learn to sing is to be given a gift, to be fortunate, to be appointed by the Creator," Antone said, adding that there are over 300 Bird Songs sang at funerals and other major life events.
On Saturday, the Birdsingers once again sang the people home.

Copyright photos Molly Johnson and friends; article copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News. May not be used without written permission.

1 comment:

Lloyd Vivola said...

Beautiful to see such a noble commemoration and the honoring of all the relations, birdsingers, human and non-human. Thanks for the report and photos.