From: Save Ward Valley <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Ward Valley
WARD VALLEY - AN ISSUE OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, SOVEREIGNTY, SACRED SITES,
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, AND PROTECTION OF MOTHER EARTH
The proposal to site a nuclear waste dump in Ward Valley is a direct
assault on the sovereignty and land rights of the five Tribes in the
Colorado River Native Nations Alliance (CRNNA) - Fort Mojave, Chemehuevi,
Cocopah, Quechan, and Colorado River Indian Tribes. Tribal testimony during
the Indian Claims Commission Hearings in the 1950s claimed Ward Valley as
part of their aboriginal homeland. Ancient Mojave and Chemehuevi running
trails traverse the valley. Mojave Elders have a sacred, centuries-old song
about traveling through what is now known as Ward Valley. All of the
surrounding mountains are of spiritual significance to the Tribes.
At meetings with government officials, at federal hearings, and in
correspondence for the past ten years, the five Tribes in the Alliance have
insisted on the protection of Ward Valley as a land rights and sovereignty
issue. For example, at a November 1996 meeting about Ward Valley between
the Alliance and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Bureau of
Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, Tribal Council members and traditional Elders reiterated
the sovereignty of the Tribes and stated that the dump project should not go
forward and could not be mitigated.
The Tribes in the Alliance have consistently sought to deal with the U.S.
Government on a nation-to-nation basis concerning Ward Valley. However,
requests for a meeting with President Clinton or Vice President Gore have
never been met. While the BLM professes to consult with the Tribes on a
nation-to-nation basis, the Tribes believe the BLM has violated its trust
responsibilities by withholding information about the criteria and
decision-making processes used in the Supplemental Environmental Impact
Statement (SEIS) on the dump proposal that is currently underway.
Some of the reasons that Ward Valley is so important to the five Tribes in
the Alliance include: it is close to Ave Kaw Ame (Spirit Mountain) which
is the dwelling place of the Creator; it is currently used for Native
American rituals, medicine and art; it has historic value; and it supports a
robust population of desert tortoises (known as Kah-Pet and sacred to the
Landscape figures prominently in the traditional cultures of the Tribes in
the Alliance. The culture and spirituality of Tribal members is
inextricably linked to the life-giving water of the Colorado River and to
the desert regions through which it flows.
The Mojave people cannot move, even if a nuclear waste dump should be sited
near their community. They are called Pipa Aha Macav (People of the River)
and are endowed by their Creator to be the keepers of the river. Moving
would break the people's tie to the land and the river, which gives them
their sovereignty. When the carcinogenic and mutagenic properties of
radiation are considered, it becomes clear that the proposed nuclear waste
dump is a vehicle for long-term genocide.
When it was learned that the Department of Interior (DOI) had given itself
and the California Department of Health Services (DHS) permission to
desecrate 1½ acres of sacred land in order to do “testing” for
tritium--which has already been found 100 ft. below the surface of Ward
Valley--the Elders of the Colorado River Native Nations Alliance said, “No
more desecration of this sacred land.” Following their lead, tribal members
and supporters from all walks of life have occupied Ward Valley since
February 12, 1998. This occupation has stopped further desecration of the
land while the Tribes once again attempt to negotiate with the US Government
and have their sovereignty recognized and respected.
The Colorado River Native Nations Alliance needs your help! Here’s what you
1) People are needed at Silyaye Aheace Village (Ward Valley) to help
maintain the occupation. There is place for everyone--whether you can stay
a few days or a few weeks.
2) Donations of money, food and supplies are always needed. Call the number
below to find out what is needed and how you can help.
3) Put pressure on the US Government; especially President Clinton,
Vice-President Gore and Secretary of Interior Babbit, to honor the
sovereignty of the Alliance Nations by initiating nation-to-nation consultation.
4) Write letters to your Congressional Representatives and Senators asking
them to get involved and to stop this project once and for all.
For more information call: Save Ward Valley PH. 760/326-6267 FAX
E-MAIL [log in to unmask] WEB-SITE www.ctaz.com/~swv1
HIGHLIGHTS OF WARD VALLEY OCCUPATION
January 16, 1998 - FEDERAL AND STATE DRILLING TESTS APPROVED FOR WARD VALLEY
SITE. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today approved scientific
drilling to be conducted at Ward Valley in California. . .
January 23, 1998 - NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES VOW TO DEFEND WARD VALLEY FROM
FURTHER DESECRATION--CONTROVERSIAL DUMP SITE WOULD THREATEN SACRED LANDS,
THE COLORADO RIVER AND ENDANGERED SPECIES. Native American Tribes fighting
against a controversial nuclear waste dump at Ward Valley vowed today to
defend their sacred lands from further destruction resulting from test
drilling by the state and federal governments.
January 29, 1998 - SHOWDOWN AT WARD VALLEY: INDIAN NATIONS AND ENVIRONMENTAL
ACTIVISTS ISSUE CALL TO ACTION TO PROTEST NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP. Today, the
United States Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the imminent
closure of Ward Valley from public use and their intention to evict an
on-going protest occupation at the site. . .
February 12,1998 - SHOWDOWN IN THE DESERT: INDIAN NATIONS AND ENVIRONMENTAL
ALLIES BEGIN ASSEMBLING AT WARD VALLEY--VOW TO DEFEND WARD VALLEY FROM
FURTHER DESECRATION AND NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP. U.S. DEPT. OF INTERIOR THREATENS
TO EVICT OCCUPATION FEB. 13TH. PRESS CONFERENCE AND SPIRITUAL CEREMONIAL
ACTION THURS. FEBRUARY 12. . .
February 13, 1998 - FEDERAL DEADLINE TO CLOSE WARD VALLEY EXPIRES. HUNDREDS
OCCUPY GROUND ZERO. TRIBES AND SUPPORTERS DECLARE “WE ARE NOT LEAVING WARD
VALLEY! NO NUCLEAR DUMP! SPIRITUAL CEREMONY AT 11:30 PM AT SITE OF
ATTEMPTED CLOSURE. . .
February 14, 1998 - SHOWDOWN AT WARD VALLEY ESCALATES: ALL NIGHT INDIAN
RELIGIOUS CEREMONY HALTS U.S. GOVERNMENT’S PLANNED CLOSURE OF
SITE--GOVERNMENT AGAIN UNABLE TO REMOVE OCCUPATION-PROTESTERS BLOCKADE ROADS
TO GROUND ZERO--BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT ISSUES EVICTION NOTICE.
February 15, 1998 -STANDOFF AT WARD VALLEY: DAY 4--DESPITE RAIN, WIND AND
TORNADOES, ANTI-DUMP OCCUPATION STANDS FIRM. . .
February 18, 1998 - WARD VALLEY EVICTION NOTICE EXPIRES AT MIDNIGHT--TRIBES
TO US GOVERNMENT: “NO COMPROMISE IN DEFENSE OF OUR SACRED LANDS & THE
COLORADO RIVER”--INDIAN RELIGIOUS CEREMONY BEGINS AT SUNDOWN ON DAY 7 OF
OCCUPATION. . .
February 20, 1998 - STANDOFF AT WARD VALLEY: DAY 9--INDIAN RELIGIOUS
CEREMONIES CONTINUE AT OCCUPATION OF PROPOSED NUCLEAR DUMP SITE. BLOCKADE
HOLDS FIRM--INDUSTRY’S CLAIMS OF A DRY DESERT CLIMATE SAFE FOR NUCLEAR WASTE
DUMPING ARE WASHED AWAY WITH MASSIVE RAINS, WINDS AND SNOW. . .WEDDING
CEREMONY PERFORMED AT WARD VALLEY. Beginning with a blessing in his native
tongue from spiritual leader, Wally Antone of the Quechan Nation, Molly
Johnson and Rick Beaumont were married under the stars at Silyaye Aheace
Village. . .
February 22, 1998 - SPIRITUAL CEREMONY AND TRADITIONAL INDIAN BURIAL AT WARD
VALLEY TO HONOR STORMY WILLIAMS & MEMORIAL FOR COCOPAH LEADER PETE SOTO.
The ashes of Stormy Williams, a well-respected environmental activist, will
be buried in Ward Valley during a traditional Native American ceremony
beginning at 4pm, Monday, February 23, 1998. . .
February 26, 1998 - INDIAN NATIONS WIN VICTORY AT WARD VALLEY AS BLM PULLS
OUT RANGERS FROM OCCUPATION SITE--TRIBES STAND FIRM OF DAY 15 OF OCCUPATION
OF PROPOSED NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP & CALL ON CLINTON & BABBIT TO STOP DUMP
NOW--NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE LEADERS CALL ON CLINTON TO RESPECT
SACRED INDIAN LAND AT WARD VALLEY. . .
March 2, 1998 - COLORADO RIVER NATIVE NATIONS ALLIANCE AFFIRMS STAND AGAINST
RADIOACTIVE WASTE DUMP PROPOSED FOR WARD VALLEY--”WE WILL NOT BE REMOVED
FROM OUR SACRED LAND.”
March 6,1998 - NEW STUDY ON RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION FROM NEVADA DUMP--WARD
VALLEY SAFETY IN QUESTION. Widespread and worsening contamination at a
Nevada nuclear waste dump has been confirmed by a new federal study. . .
March 14, 1998 - GROUND BLESSING CEREMONY AT WARD VALLEY. Indigenous
Traditional people of the Salt River, Pima-Maricopa and Gila River Indian
Tribes and the Tohono O’odham Nation gathered to perform a sacred ground
blessing ceremony on the site of the proposed Ward Valley Nuclear Waste
Dump. . .
April 12, 1998 - NATIVE AMERICANS RUN FOR WARD VALLEY. A ‘Peace and
Dignity’ run across southern California is expected to draw media attention
to Native Americans’ stance on Ward Valley. . .
April 15, 1998 - MULTI-DENOMINATIONAL CHRISTIAN GATHERING AT WARD VALLEY. A
gathering of many faiths will be held in support of Native American
religious freedom on Saturday, April 18, 1998, at Ward Valley. . .
Save Ward Valley
107 F St.
Needles, CA 92363
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