Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 7, 2024

Celebrating Water -- 'Rumble on the Mountain' Powerful Music to Halt Uranium Mining in Grand Canyon

Hopi singer and composer Ryon Polequaptewa, spoke on the sacred cedar which lends itself to make the Hopi flute, and of the sacred space of Hopi, where there is "very little rain, but an abundance of life." Listen to his performance at Rumble on the Mountain. Screenshot by Censored News. Watch

Songs from the Water

Rumble on the Mountain 10: Native Voices of the Colorado Plateau in opposition to uranium mining in the Grand Canyon

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, February 3, 2024
Translation into French by Christine Prat

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona -- In a beautiful tribute, Ed Kabotie, Hopi, performed "The Trail," honoring those who have passed, making their journey among the stars, during the seven-hour Rumble on the Mountain at the Orpheum Theater on Saturday.

Kabotie remembered Dine' artist Baje Whitethorne, Sr., Rainy Ortiz, daughter of Simon Ortiz and Joy Harjo, and Dine' Klee Benally. Kabotie said Icy Whisper, the band, had a death in the family and was not able to be at Rumble.

Carletta Tilouisi, Havasupai said, "Our Havasupai youth danced and sang for the earth people, animals, and waters. We have been participating in “Rumble on the Mountain” for 10 years. Thank you to Ed Kabotie and to all the talented musicians for all your support and advocacy! Hangyu!" Photo courtesy Carletta Tilousi, Censored News

During the extraordinary lineup of stars during the 10th Rumble on the Mountain, Kabotie spoke of war, a war of the paradigms and philosophies, and of industrial mining which has no respect for the people or value of the land.

Kabotie and Tha Yoties performed "War" in honor of Havasupai.

"That little reservation in the Grand Canyon has been teaching us to fight."

The war now is the fight against the Canyon Mine uranium mine in the Grand Canyon, threatening the water of the Little Colorado, and the drinking water of the Supai.

Ed Kabotie, Hopi

"Coyote Soldier," sounded out the Hopi way of life of humility and the struggle to protect the water. Their song, "Genocide," documented the American Holocaust. Kabotie and Tha Yoties were joined onstage by Dine' Apache singer Sage Bond.

"There is no peace without no justice," their song Genocide reminds.

Diné/Apache Sage Bond, who performed at Carnegie Hall in March, is Tł’ízíłání and born for Ndeh, from Tonalea-Red Lake on the Navajo Nation.

Urging everyone to sound out, 'Haul No!' Kabotie said the uranium transport from the mining that just began in the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona, to the White Mesa mill in southeastern Utah, is a threat to all those who live along the transport routes. The uranium hauling by truck threatens those living along the routes, from the Grand Canyon to Williams, and through Hopi and Navajo lands, and ultimately White Mesa Ute.

The uranium transport is planned to culminate at Energy Fuels uranium mill on White Mesa Ute ancestral homeland in southeastern Utah, already devastated by years of radioactive dumping.

Leona Morgan, Dine' of' Haul No!' spoke on the battle to halt Energy Fuels' uranium transport through sacred lands, from the Havasupai's ancestral homeland in the Grand Canyon, and the second danger to the Dine' sacred mountain to the south, Mount Taylor in New Mexico. Live screenshot by Censored News.

Leona Morgan, Dine' with Haul No! said, "We are tired of being a resource colony."

"We are not a sacrifice zone," Leona said, pointing out new plans for hydrogen mining on the Navajo Nation.

"The Navajo Nation is tired of being extracted."

Leona warned about Biden's plan to triple nuclear energy production worldwide. She pointed out there is no place to put nuclear waste from nuclear power plants -- waste that will be radioactive forever.

Leona said Holtec International was stopped from building the world's largest radioactive waste dump in New Mexico last year. It was stopped with a New Mexico State law, after the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a permit for it. A second radioactive waste dump was stopped in Texas.

"We can stop Pinyon Plain," Leona said. The mine, now called the Canyon Mine, has already been documented in violation of laws.

Although the mine only recently began operations, Leona said the Canyon Mine in the Grand Canyon in Arizona has already been hauling uranium in unmarked trucks to the White Mesa mill in Utah.

Canyon Mine has already been caught spraying uranium-contaminated water onto the Forest Service lands in the Grand Canyon. Last week, a tractor there was turned upside down, which they reported. Leona urged the public to go out and watch the uranium mine, which is on public land, and document the violations.

Leona shared how Haul No! was born, out of concern for Energy Fuels, which owns the uranium mine on the Dine' sacred mountain of Mount Taylor in New Mexico. Then, there was the threat of the Energy Fuels Canyon Mine/Pinyon Plain uranium mine in the Grand Canyon.

Leona said there was the threat of two uranium mines that would be transporting uranium through the Navajo Nation, which has laws prohibiting both uranium mining and the transport of uranium through Dine' land.

Leona recalled how she was discussing this with Serena Riggs, of the struggle to protect the Confluence, and Klee Benally.

"We were just sitting around the table talking about our concerns, and Klee Benally said, 'Let's call it 'Haul No!'"

"That's how Haul No!' got started," Leona said.

Vernon Masayesva, Hopi, photo courtesy Black Mesa Trust

Vernon Masayesva, Hopi from Hotevilla and former chairman, in a talk shared by way of a video presentation from the first Rumble on the Mountain, encouraged seeking a new paradigm in life.

"Water is life, without water, no life exists."

Masayesva, speaking of sacred San Francisco Peaks as a sacred Kiva, said the people must now go beyond here, and out into the world, to ensure there will be a continuance beyond the Hopi's Fourth World.

The people must envision the Fifth World.

"We come from the sea, water is what connects all of us together. All of us together can bring holiness back to Earth, our mother, who we have abused."

"She's crying out to us for help, but no one seems to be listening. But now, we Indigenous People need to speak out and say water is not just something you sell or trade, water is sacred, water is spiritual."

"Water connects us to the Creator."

Scientists and engineers believe they can control and manage the water and have placed hundreds of reservoirs on the Colorado River.

"That has disrupted our journey back to the sea."

"Now the river is running dry."

"We do not control water -- water controls. That is the new paradigm."

"That is who we are as Indigenous People. What we do to water, we do to ourselves."

Radmilla Cody spoke on solidarity with Palestine and of the blessings in her songs during the 10th Anniversary of Rumble on the Mountain. Screenshot by Censored News.
Courtesy photo Innastate

The smooth sounds of Jemez Pueblo's Innastate at Rumble on the Mountain 10. The band celebrated its tenth year, along with Rumble. Listen to their original sounds in concert on Saturday night: Watch video of the live concert performance:

Summit Dub Squad closed out the night with reggae "Sovereign Land" and "Hop Ska Honey." Screenshot by Censored News. Watch the video, recorded live at Rumble
Celebrating Water at Rumble for the Tenth Year

During the first Rumble on the Mountain in 2015, Jonnie J, Hopi from Hotevilla and D.
J for Hopi KUYI radio, said the gathering is a celebration of water.

Hopi imprisoned on Alcatraz for defending rights in 1895.

Jonnie J. said the celebration is in the "spirit of Yukiwma Hopi leader, who with his brothers, sacrificed themselves and were in prison for our right to protect our rights and in the spirit of Nelson Mandela, in the spirit of Geronimo and his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama." She recalled the words of reggae artist Marley on the necessity to protect the water and honored Martin Luther King Jr.

Watch and listen online to the first Rumble on the Mountain in 2015. Rex Tilousi, chairman of the Havasupai Nation, who has passed to the Spirit World, shares a drum song to protect the water.

Please check back for our updated coverage

Rumble on the Mountain 10, February 3, 3pm-10pm at the Orpheum in Flagstaff included Native American Award-winning reggae rock band Innastate, Grammy-nominated Dine' Musician/Activist Radmilla Cody, celebrated acoustic metal singer/songwriter Sage Bond, Hopi singer/composer Ryon Polequaptewa, the high elevation sounds of Summit Dub Squad, IrieZona Reggae Rock with Ed Kabotie & Tha 'Yoties, and education, calls to action, and wisdom from HaulNo, Vernon Masayesva, Bucky Preston, and a delegation from Havasupai. Current operations of the Grand Canyon/Pinyon Plain Mine was a focus of the gathering. 
Rumble on the Mountain 10 is produced with support from Wild Arizona, Protect Grand Canyon - Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, KUYI Hopi Public Radio, Center for Biological Diversity, and HaulNo

Statement from the Havasupai Tribe Regarding Energy Fuels

It is with heavy hearts that we must acknowledge that our greatest fear has come true. Despite decades of active and tireless opposition, Energy Fuels, a foreign for-profit mining company, has acted in its own self-serving interest and extracted toxic uranium at the Pinyon Plain Mine (formerly the “Canyon Mine”), desecrating one of our most sacred sites and jeopardizing the existence of the Havasupai Tribe.

As Guardians of the Grand Canyon, we the Havsuw ‘Baaja, the Havasupai Tribe, have opposed uranium mining in and around our Reservation and the Grand Canyon since time immemorial. We do this to protect our people, our land, our water, our past, our present and our future. And yet, despite the historic and current assistance and advocacy from numerous allies, and the countless letters, phone calls, and personal pleas, our urgent requests to stop this life-threatening action have been disregarded.

Our tribal community’s only source of water is fed by aquifers, which unfortunately sit directly below the Pinyon Plain Mine. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the federal EPA claim there is no danger to us, that no harmful effects will come our way from this alleged “clean energy” source. But how can they so confidently make such a claim when Energy Fuels has already contaminated one of the two aquifers while digging the mine shaft, which then led to the company spraying toxic water into the air, only to be spread to the precious plants and animals by the blowing winds. A whole set of unknown and new problems will exist when the company begins transporting uranium over the land.

This is not just a problem that affects our remote Tribe. Rather, millions of people will now be forced to pass by an active uranium mine on their way to the majestic Grand Canyon. Every being should be able to freely experience this natural wonder without risking their lives. Shame on Energy Fuels, and those who were not brave enough to do what is right and necessary.

We will not
give up. We owe that to our ancestors, our children, and the generations to come. We will fight on.


About the author

Brenda Norrell has been a reporter in Indian country for 42 years, beginning at the Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She was a correspondent for the Associated Press and USA Today. After serving as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated in 2006, after the newspaper was sold to new owners, and created Censored News. Today, with more than 23 million pageviews, Censored News is a collective, with no ads or revenues. The live coverage includes the Longest Walk from coast to coast in 2008, the Mother Earth Conference in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and travels with the Zapatistas in Mexico.

Article copyright Censored News.

1 comment:

NááBahii Bahe Katenay Kéédíniihii said...

"Activist" or "activism" is the 'attempt' to influence politics by influencing for the betterment of society's welfare and that influence to address existing government policies. On the other "extreme" is an influential movement and which is so rare and those are culturally based, biologically, ecologically. Native activism is stuck in acts of opposition but then ultimately the politicians are relied upon, the politics that already caters to corporate threats. What's missing is that spirit of earth based native resistance, and necessary efforts need to be made to inform Dineh communities, get on the chapter (small regional precinct) meeting agendas. Biden, AZ Governor Hobbs, NN Lithium/Raytheon President will not act on halting uranium / lithium / helium / hydrogen production. 85 years, Dineh country has lived with the nuclear legacy of radiation. 85 Years!! And still, USDOE and NRC have deliberately overlooked the superficially-contained uranium mines on the Rez that still have radioactive emissions. "Haul No!", then inform the Rez folks not politics.