Saturday, June 24, 2017

Havasupai: Guardians Gather to Protect Sacred from Uranium Mining

Photos Courtesy No Haul

The Havasupai Tribal Council is hosting a three day gathering on Red Butte to defend the sacred land and water from uranium mining and transport.
Supai, ancestral Guardians of the Grand Canyon, began their gathering with a prayer walk.
June 23 -- 25, 2017


Home / Facts: The Canyon Mine and White Mesa Mill

What is the Canyon Mine?

The Canyon Mine is a uranium mine located near Red Butte, a sacred mountain and Traditional Cultural Property only six miles from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Canadian company, Energy Fuels, is currently sinking the mine shaft and plans to extract uranium in early 2017. The company is operating under a Plan of Operations and Environmental Review that date to 1986, and the Forest Service failed to properly consult with the Havasupai Tribe before allowing the mine to operate.
The Havasupai Tribe, Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity, and Sierra Club have legally challenged the United States Forest Service’s decision to allow Energy Fuels Resources to reopen the Canyon uranium mine, which was initially approved in the 1980s and had been closed since 1992.
  • production rate is 109,500 tons per year of high-grade uranium ore
  • EFI permitted to stockpile up to 13,100 tons of uranium ore at Canyon Mine.
  • is within a one million acre area that was withdrawn from mining in 2012 due to concerns about uranium mining’s environmental and cultural threats to the Grand Canyonwatershed.
Canyon Mine haul route facts:
  • Nearly 300 miles
  • 25 trucks (both ways) with capacity to haul up to 30 tons of highly radioactive ore per day
  • Covered only with tarps
  • Through towns such as Valle, Williams, and Flagstaff; through Navajo reservation communities including Cameron, Tuba City, and Kayenta; and finally arrive at Energy Fuel’s White Mesa Mill only three miles from the Ute Mountain Ute tribal community of White Mesa, Utah.

Sacred Sites & Precious Water:

Red Butte is located in the Kaibab National Forest in Coconino County, Arizona on ancestral Havasupai lands. It is known to the Havasupai nation as Wii’i Gdwiisa, “clenched fist mountain,” and has been held sacred since time immemorial.
  • determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as a Traditional Cultural Property in 2009
  • The Canyon Mine is located within the Traditional Cultural Property boundary of Red Butte
  • also culturally significant to Diné (Navajo) and Hopi Nations
An estimated 40 million people rely on water from the Colorado River which flows through the Grand Canyon. Already, 20 seeps and springs in the Grand Canyon region exhibit dissolved uranium concentrations over safe drinking water standards as a result of historic uranium mining. The Canyon Mine threatens to further those impacts, and the haul routes travel over two key Colorado River tributaries – the San Juan and Little Colorado.

What is the White Mesa Mill?

The White Mesa Mill is the only conventional uranium mill licensed to operate in the United States. Energy Fuels Inc. owns and operates both the mill and the Colorado Plateau uranium mines, including Canyon Mine, that supply ore to the mill. The mill is located three miles north of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s White Mesa Ute community and six miles south of Blanding, Utah.
  • built in 1979 to process uranium ore from the Colorado Plateau.
  • In 1987, it began processing “alternate feed material” (uranium-bearing toxic and radioactive waste) from across North America.
  • Energy Fuels disposes of the mill’s radioactive and toxic waste tailings in “impoundments” that take up about 275 acres next to the mill.
What are the tailings impoundments?
  • There are currently five tailings impoundments (Cells 1, 2, 3, 4A, and 4B) in the mill’s 275 acre tailings-management system. These impoundments receive tailings, including waste processing solutions, that are laden with radioactive and toxic elements.
What are the health and environmental hazards?
  • Cells 1, 2, and 3 at the White Mesa Mill were constructed with thin plastic liners between two layers of crushed rock. The liners in those cells had a useful life of 20 years when they were installed in the early 1980s and have never been replaced.
  • Cells 1, 2, and 3 leak detection system lacks a double liner and will not detect a leak until groundwater has already been contaminated.
  • The mill emits radioactive and toxic air pollutants including radon and thoron (gases) and sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides (particulates). Windblown particulates and gases travel off-site. Energy Fuels has stockpiled both ore and alternate feed on-site. Many of the stockpiled materials are not adequately covered and can blow off-site. White Mesa residents report smelling pollutants from the mill.
  • Trucks loaded with ore hazardous materials travel on Arizona and Utah highways to reach the mill. Alternate feed materials are usually off-loaded from the railroad at Cisco, Utah, trucked to Interstate 70, east to Highway 191, and south through Moab, Monticello, and Blanding to the mill. Ore from the mines near the Grand Canyon region travels north through the Navajo Nation and Bluff to the Mill.
  • There are plumes of increased levels of nitrate, nitrite, and chloride in the perched aquifer beneath the mill site.
What are other community concerns?
  • The mill was built on sacred ancestral lands of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. More than 200 rare and significant cultural sites are located on the mill site. These include burial sites, large kivas and pit houses, storage pits, and artifacts. When the mill and its tailings impoundments were constructed, several significant archeological sites were destroyed. These included pit houses, kivas, burial sites, and food-processing and storage structures.
  • Many residents in the communities of White Mesa and Bluff are concerned that the Navajo Sandstone aquifer, which provides drinking water to the area, will be contaminated. This primary drinking water aquifer lies underneath the mill site.

Longest Walk 5 Walks into West Virginia Photos by Bad Bear

Photos by Western Shoshone Photojournalist Carl Bad Bear Sampson.

Longest Walk 5 walks into West Virginia, from Kentucky, with the message of halting drug abuse and domestic violence.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Red Warrior Camp Speaks -- June 21, 2017

Contact: Email:
"Mni Sose' called our Spirits.  From the four directions, we traveled alone or in caravans, to gather at the river banks.  We formed a self-sufficient camp and lived together with love, ethics, principles, and protocols guided by ceremony, prayers and medicine.  Our focused, singular, collective goal was to manifest our training and energy to protect sacred water.   We committed ourselves to the tactic of non-violent direct action to slow or halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline north of the Standing Rock Reservation while the tribes and lawsuits moved forward.  In acknowledgment of the 500 years of genocide, treaty breaking, and human rights violations against our people by the United States government in favor of resource extraction and land thefts, we knew we must have a strong frontline.  We gathered allies from proven social justice movements.  We protected our work through principles of security culture, knowing the corporation would stop at nothing to realize their financial investment and future profits.  Tactics of infiltration, dissension, rumors, divisiveness, and lies orchestrated by DAPL and its hired guns soon began to weaken the solidarity of all the camps.  Their tactics continue today.  All the camps moved, were burned or torn down.  People scattered to the four directions.  We have people still engaged in the judicial process, going to court.  Many charges were dismissed.  We carry on with water and land defense work, cultural revitalization, decolonization.  We come from all walks of life, races, ages.  Our collective experience is a powerful weapon we took to Standing Rock to share with others to help stop DAPL.  We are Red Warriors," Stated Debra White Plume.
We represent 27 tribal nations and 10 countries with no regard to the United States' imaginary borders, to defend the land and protect the water through Non-Violent Direct Action.  Collectively, known as Red Warrior Society, we have decades of experience in grass roots, community-based organizing to protect our natural resources.
Red Warriors are highly disciplined, principled individuals who encompass a unique skill set to provide non-violent direct-action trainings, decolonization tools and organize actions to primarily youth with an emphasis on security culture.
There are many definitions of security culture.  Every movement and resistance group and camps should carefully set their standard accordingly to ensure the safety of those involved in the protection of all that is sacred.
Red Warriors are self-sufficient, with minimal impact to the land and resources. These principles are utilized in our actions, both at the NoDAPL direct action in North Dakota and other actions and trainings throughout Turtle Island.
The recent array of propaganda films being released on the NoDAPL camps are reminiscent of the U.S. Government-led COINTELPRO tactics employed against indigenous resistance movements in the 1970's. 
In a recent Intercept expose' ( on Energy Transfer Partner's security contractor TigerSwan, and their counter-terrorism tactics, it was revealed that Big Oil's hired guns focused their attention on Red Warrior Camp over a four-month period. This information did not surprise us, given the dozens of drone flyovers and imminent threats that occurred daily.
Their report dated, September 22, 2016, states, "Information control within the camp, despite causing dissention, makes any internal source information difficult to acquire."
Our level of security protocols is necessary because we are under intense scrutiny, as validated by the TigerSwan report.
A recent pro-DAPL propaganda film features an interview with Lt. Jason Stugelmeyer of the Bismarck Police Department.  Stugelmeyer claims that no water protectors were stripped searched or held in chain link dog cages upon arrest.  However, eyewitness testimony confirms that hundreds of water protectors were stripped searched and held in the dog cages for processing into Morton County Jail.
Allegations against Red Warrior Camp are the highlight of a recent open letter addressed to resistance organizers.
MYTH: "…it has been co-opted/taken over by mostly white and Latino Anarchists."

MYTH: "…not abiding by the tenets of non-violence."
MYTH: "…they have no respect for elders."                                                                                                        

MYTH: "…they were not prayerful."
Red Warriors are picking up where they left off in their homelands before they left for Standing Rock. We continue to build alliances with other active indigenous resistance circles.  We are engaged in cultural revitalization activities and youth-led food sovereignty initiatives.
 We are actively fighting uranium mining operations throughout Turtle Island and currently conducting radiation testing trainings to empower native communities to collect and own the data to protect their environment.
Red Warriors are mapping "water criminals" that seek to destroy finite water sources throughout Turtle Island.  We call upon communities to study their watersheds including, aquifers, streams, rivers and lakes to determine if they are under imminent threat from companies seeking to control or destroy their water sources.
Importantly, hundreds of tribal nation government leaders traveled to Standing Rock and made pledges to support the protection of sacred water.  We call upon grass roots people to hold their elected officials to their word and share the good work that is being done.
We are cautiously optimistic with U.S. District Judge James Boasberg June 16th ruling against Energy Transfer Partner's Dakota Access Pipeline.
Boasberg ruled, "…the Court agrees that it did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline's effects are likely to be highly controversial.   To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court."
Boasberg will rule in the coming days whether to halt the flow of dirty crude during the Army Corps' new environmental impact study on this already leaky 1,172-mile pipeline.
Red Warrior Society's mantra is "Everything for Everyone, Nothing for Ourselves".  We acknowledge the long legacy of warrior societies' continued struggle for indigenous liberation and environmental justice.

Donate to Censored News -- Donations at all time low

Censored News has not received any donations during June. We are reader supported news, now in our 11th year, with more than 16 million pageviews. We have no ads, grants or revenues.
Donate at PayPal or Brenda Norrell, PMB 132, 405 E Wetmore Rd, Ste 117, Tucson, Arizona 85705.
Thank you!

Censored News PayPal

Censored News depends on reader donations for live coverage.