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/cryingearthrisThalia 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:
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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.