Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 13, 2024

'Ground Zero' Annual Ward Valley Spiritual Gathering Feb. 17, 2024


Celebrating the Victory for the Colorado River and Desert Tortoise 

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, Feb. 13, 2024

"It was 26 years ago that history was made at Ward Valley in the Mojave
Desert.," said Bradley Angel of Greenaction, remembering today, the days of the resistance. 

"On February 11, 1998, hundreds of people from the Fort Mojave,
Chemehuevi, Quechan, Cocopah, and Colorado River Indian Tribes and
supporters defied federal eviction orders and occupied Ward Valley to
protect the sacred land from a proposed nuclear waste dump."

"Barricades were erected, ceremonies began, and traditional singers and Elders led
the standoff and occupation that continued for 113 days until the White
House dropped plans for test drilling for the proposed dump."

"This epic occupation and victory that protected sacred Indigenous land, the
Colorado River, and the endangered desert tortoise is celebrated every
February at Ward Valley, hosted by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe. The
occupation and victory continue to inspire Indigenous struggles everywhere!"

Ward Valley: Celebrating the Heroes

Listen to Western Shoshone Spiritual Leader Cobrin Harney, speak on the life of the water, and sing the Water Song. Ward Valley photo by Molly Johnson

Censored News original series
Photos by Molly Johnson and Greenaction

The Rhythmic Journey Home: Birdsingers ensured victory at Ward Valley 

Molly Johnson was the Save Ward Valley Coalition office coordinator and liaison with the Colorado River Native Nations Alliance.

"The first person to place a flag and camp at Ward Valley was Anthony Gaurisco, Alliance of Atomic Veterans, in 1995. After that a women's activist group called CHAOS, camped at the site and the permanent encampment was established. Then, as you know, in February of 1998 we occupied," Johnson told Censored News.

Remembering the resistance in those days, said today, "The turning point was the occupation which began on Feb 12, 1998. The 113 days we held that land and the number of people there made 'the powers that be' realize we were NOT going to give up. Having the 5 Colorado River Indian Tribe -- The Colorado River Native Nations Alliance -- getting fully involved early in the 1990s was huge."

One film that tells this story is 'Trespassing,' and when it was released, it was censored at most film festivals around the world. This is the transcript of Mojave Steve Lopez' words in Trespassing

Mojave Steve Lopez: Ward Valley halted Nuclear Genocide, Poisoning of Colorado River

Corbin Harney, Western Shoshone, Wally Antone, Quechan and Llewellyn Barrackman, Fort Mojave. Photo by Molly Johnson.

Celebrating Victory at Ward Valley: Corbin Harney 'Sing to the Water'

The Desert Tortoise on Sacred Land, Celebrating the 20-Year Victory at Ward Valley 

Laguna Pueblo Dorothy Purley Exposed Nuclear Holocaust on Native Lands 

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