Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 14, 2023

Ian Zabarte to White House Council: Stop Nuclear Genocide Targeting Shoshone

Ian Zabate, Western Shoshone

Western Shoshone Ian Zabarte's comments to the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council in Phoenix on Tuesday

By Ian Zabarte
Principal Man for Western Bands of Shoshone
Western Shoshone
Censored News
Translated into French by Christine Prat

Our country stretches from the Mojave Desert in the south to the Snake River in the north defined by the Treaty of Ruby Valley, the only ratified treaty in California and Nevada that is in full force and effect. We have made extensive comments to federal agencies, protested with tens of thousands of people and brought lawsuits over many decades to address the abuse, hazards and threats posed by nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and uranium – that both, disproportionately and adversely affect the Shoshone people.

We love our horses.

The US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management blamed Western Shoshone livestock for destruction of the land caused by nuclear weapons testing then, confiscated our livestock, destroying our livestock economy guaranteed by treaty as, “hunters and herdsmen.”

Shoshone people bear an involuntary disproportionate burden of radiation exposure risk downwind from the secret Nevada National Security Site where the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste repository is proposed.

We have the only ownership contention in Yucca Mountain licensing at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Docket 63-001. The Department of Energy secretly occupies and uses Western Shoshone property yet, cannot prove ownership required for licensing 10 CFR 60.121 because Western Shoshone Indian title remains unextinguished.

There has been no explicit act of Congress to diminish or extinguish Indian title to 30 million acres owned by the Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation of Indians. The treaty is the tool for justice.

We need the President to create a Shoshone homeland under Article 6 of the Treaty of Ruby Valley, so we have a safe place to live, grow and develop. We need federally funded projects to prove ownership.

In 1990, the Department of Energy created “cultural triage” employed to dismantle our living lifeways in relation to Yucca Mountain. Cultural triage is defined as, “the forced choice decision-making by an ethnic group to a development project.”

Cultural triage features are it is forced upon ethnic Native Americans for development.”

The pattern and practice of the Department of Energy and coordinate agencies inflict conditions intended to bring about the destruction of Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation of Indians, violating peremptory norms in International Law and the Proxmire Act in 1988 -- 18 USC 1091 -- GENOCIDE.

Origin is important.

Shoshone individuals must be followed for health consequences. We need federal agencies' collaboration, research funding, monitoring, surveillance and registries for Shoshone downwinders.

Interim Storage Facility is licensed for high-level nuclear waste from commercial reactors. The waste sent to Texas will be stranded and abandoned there without robust environmental regulations because the Yucca Mountain site will not be licensed.

Finally, nuclear weapons are illegal under the new international law, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, that entered into force January on 22, 2021. We can protect our environment, our Mother Earth, by ending our obsession with nuclear weapons of mass destruction and by joining the treaty currently before Congress as H. Res 77.

Now in Phoenix:

Attend by Zoom online:

The WHEJAC convened an in-person public meeting with a virtual option on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at approximately 6:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. The WHEJAC meeting continues Wednesday, June 14, 2023, and Thursday, June 15, 2023, from approximately 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time each day. Meeting discussions will focus on several topics including, but not limited to, workgroup activity, proposed recommendations for the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) consideration, CEQ briefings, new charges, and interaction between the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council (IAC) and the WHEJAC.
Location: The in-person meeting will be held at The Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 100 North 1st Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85004.

About the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council

The Charter of the WHEJAC states that the advisory committee will provide independent advice and recommendations to the Chair of the CEQ and to the White House Interagency Council on how to increase the Federal Government's efforts to address current and historic environmental injustice, including recommendations for updating Executive Order 12898. The WHEJAC will provide advice and recommendations about broad cross-cutting issues related but not limited to issues of environmental justice and pollution reduction, energy, climate change mitigation and resiliency, environmental health, and racial inequity. The WHEJAC's efforts will include a broad range of strategic, scientific, technological, regulatory, community engagement, and economic issues related to environmental justice.

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