During the last weekend of October, over 200 Indigenous Peoples from Alaska, North America, Bolivia and Japan converged near Acoma Pueblo for the 7th Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum in Sky City, New Mexico, USA.
Although the forum focused on the uranium developments being proposed at Mount Taylor and throughout the grants mineral belt of New Mexico, it also provided an opportunity for affected communities to share knowledge, experiences, and strategies to combat the current onslaught of nuclear power throughout Indigenous territories worldwide.
Over the two and a half days, participants shared knowledge about a variety of topics related to uranium mining including ongoing resistance efforts, the health affects on uranium mining, the implications of U.S. energy and climate policy, and the emerging green economy. Suzanne Singer, a young Navajo woman new to the issues of uranium mining reflected, "I have learned a lot here. This summit has been very different than other conferences I've been to because it brought out so much emotion in me: anger, happiness, and most importantly, inspiration."
Michaela Stubbs traveled from Melbourne, Australia representing the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, a network of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people sharing skills and strategies to campaign against nuclear development in Australia. "The tactics used by multi-national corporations on the Indigenous Peoples here -division, bribery, and bullying- are the same tactics used in Indigenous communities in Australia. We need to find the resources to connect, support and strategize together. If we can accomplish that on the grassroots level, I believe we can shut 'em down."
The Indigenous Environmental Network, Honor the Earth, and the Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development will be key strategic partners in strengthening connections between national and international communities fighting the nuclear industry. Next steps for the forum include improving communication between communities, coordinating smaller international and inter-tribal dialogues, and planning for the 8th Indigenous Uranium Forum in Australia.
Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth closed the summit by restating a key theme present throughout the summit. "We need to move past being reactive to the attacks on our communities and be more proactive in creating the communities we want." The 7th Indigenous Uranium Summit was a success in moving this important discussion forward for communities affected by the uranium and nuclear industry.
Contact: Anna Rondon, Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum. Post Office Box 5058, Gallup, NM 87301, U.S.A.
Tel: +1 505 726-9392