Defending Native water rights: A call to honor

By Brenda Norrell

TUCSON -- Lakota Debra White Plume joined Acoma Pueblo poet Simon Ortiz, O’odham Ofelia Rivas, Dr. Karletta Chief, hydrologist and other Native Americans speaking on the preciousness of water, climate change and the destruction of Mother Earth at the Native Nations Water Rights Symposium hosted by Red Ink magazine on Saturday.

White Plume, Lakota, said the Wasichu, the white men fat takers, depend on a way of life of selfishness and greed to continue mining and the rape of Mother Earth. 

The Lakota grandmother was recently arrested blockading megatrucks on Pine Ridge in South Dakota and in September at the White House protesting the tarsands and proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

At the water forum in Tucson, White Plume spoke on the sacredness of water and shared the essence of why the protection of the relatives is required for the continuance of humankind. White Plume described the fight against Canadian-owned Cameco which has targeted Lakota sacred lands with uranium mining. She described how Owe Aku, Bring Back the Way, was created for the work around the world.

Read more from her talk at the water forum, "Debra White Plume 'Wasichu fat takers are the 1 percent:" http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/03/debra-white-plume-wasichu-fat-takers.html 

At the reception on Friday night, Simon Ortiz, Acomo Pueblo poet, author and professor, read his poetry. Ortiz' read powerful memory poetry of his father speaking five languages. He also remembered the uranium mining at Laguna and Acoma Pueblos in New Mexico responsible for grinding to death one of the Native workers.

Dr. Karletta Chief, hydrologist, Dine' from Black Mesa, spoke on climate change and the impacts to Southwest Indian Nations, and Colorado River water rights.

        Carrie Nuva Joseph, Hopi, shared her dissertation research on uranium contaminants in Indian country. 

The Native Nations Water Rights Symposium is now watching a preview of the film, "Crying Earth Rise Up," about uranium mining on the Lakota Nation. In the film Elisha Yellow Thunder, Lakota, speaks on the uranium mining, and the water she drank when she was pregnant. Her daughter is on dialysis and needs a kidney transplant. Debra and Alex White Plume are among the Lakotas interviewed in the film:
http://www.prairiedustfilms.com/cryingearthris
Thalia M Gomez Torres spoke on Yaqui water rights in Sonora, Mexico. Her presentation, "The Beauty of Resistance, Yaqui Homeland and Contemporary Water Rights," described the theft of Yaqui water rights in Sonora, and the highway blockades by Yaqui in protest of the plan to divert their water.

The Native Nations Water Rights Symposium previewed ten minutes of the soon-to-be released film, "Crying Earth Rise Up," about uranium mining on the Lakota Nation. In the film Elisha Yellow Thunder, Lakota, speaks on the uranium mining, and the water she drank when she was pregnant. Her daughter is on dialysis and needs a kidney transplant. Debra and Alex White Plume are among the Lakotas interviewed in the film:
http://www.prairiedustfilms.com/cryingearthriseup/ 

For permission to repost: brendanorrell@gmail.com

Photos: Debra White Plume being arrested at Keystone pipeline protest at the White House. Photo by Josh Lopez. Photo 2: Native Nations Water Rights symposium: Ofelia Rivas, Dr. Karletta Chief, Debra White Plume and Simon Ortiz. Photo copyright Brenda Norrell.


 

About Brenda Norrell

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 32 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.

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About Brenda Norrell

Personal Website
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

Biography

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 32 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.