Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 31, 2023

DOWNWIND Wins Prize at Cordillera Film Fest -- Western Shoshone Never Consented to Atomic Bomb Detonations

Western Shoshone Ian Zabarte at Cordillera Film Festival. Courtesy Photo

Downwind tells Western Shoshone story left untold by Oppenheimer's film

Native Community Action Council, July 29, 2023, Censored News
French translation by Christine Prat

On Saturday, July 29, 2023, the documentary DOWNWIND won the jury prize at the Cordillera International Film Festival after the Nevada premiere in Reno. DOWNWIND features the victims exposed to radiation in the fallout from the testing of nuclear weapons of mass destruction and their patriotic response to bring attention to the 928 secret tests conducted between 1951-1992.

The US Atomic Energy Commission, now the Department of Energy, called the people living DOWNWIND, “a low-use segment of the population” and therefore, Americans not worthy of protection from the adverse consequences of radiation in the fallout from nuclear weapons testing.

“We are Americans, and deserve equal protection under the law,” said Principal Man Ian Zabarte of the Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation. Further, he said, “Native American land binds this great nation together. The Shoshone people were never informed and never consented to the occupation and use of our sacred Mother Earth for nuclear weapons testing.”

US nuclear weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) testing in Shoshone country released radioactive fallout upon America. Cumulative for 92 test events between 1951-1962 based on weather patterns. From Fillippe, Alzner et al. (2023).

DOWNWIND is a film that documents the effects of nuclear weapons fallout on the American people as opposed to the film Oppenheimer which focuses on the nuclear bomb test of the Manhattan Project, Trinity. The US conducted 928 nuclear weapons tests that included human radiation experimentation on humans such as Project 4.1 on the Marshallese people.

DOWNWIND is the story left untold by the film Oppenheimer of the effects and response of the Americans living DOWNWIND of nuclear bomb tests. “The Shoshone Nation is the most bombed nation in the world,” said Principal Man Ian Zabarte.

Native Community Action Council, P.O. Box 46301, Las Vegas, NV 89114, Reno, Nevada, 

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