Voices of Anti-Nuclear Solidarity: Part One

Mama Bears Brigade brochure for the Canyon Mine protest.
A banner reading "Save the Grand Canyon" brought to a Santa Fe protest by activists working to shut down Energy Fuel's Canyon Mine in Arizona: today more than ever, anti-nuclear politics is all about solidarity.
A banner reading “Save the Grand Canyon” brought to a Santa Fe protest by activists working to shut down Energy Fuel’s Canyon Mine in Arizona: today more than ever, anti-nuclear politics is all about solidarity.

Text, photos and audio by ERIC SHULTZ

Global corporations are trying to restart uranium mining in New Mexico. And their opponents are finding allies next door and around the world. Recent protest actions and informational events in Santa Fe and Albuquerque underscore the politics of solidarity that define the anti-nuclear movement of today.

Responding to the threat by state and federal managers and regulators to greenlight the joint venture by Strathmore Minerals and Sumitomo Metal Mining—the Roca Honda Mine on Mount Taylor—environmental and human rights activists from Native communities that already have long and complicated relationships with the nuclear industries–Laguna and Acoma Pueblos, as well as the Navajo Nation—have decried both the inevitable health and environmental injuries from such a project, as well as the added insult of having those injuries inflicted by the desecration of a mountain each community holds deeply sacred. Native-led organizations such as the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, also known as the MASE Coaliton, have energized activists new and old to stop uranium mining before it gets restarted.

Supai Waters on the plaza in Santa Fe.
Supai Waters on the plaza in Santa Fe.

One group already to have taken action in solidarity with uranium-affected communities is (Un)occupy Albuquerque. During a recent (Un) occupy-organized day of action in Santa Fe (see our coverage here), protesters drew strength from Havasupai activist Supai Waters. His drumming, his songs and his astonishing oratory (hear his declamation to the NMMA) raised the dignity and level of conviction of the entire proceedings. Supai came to Santa Fe from the midst of his own people’s struggle to shut down the Canyon Mine at Grand Canyon, and the moral leadership he gave to our protests was an act of solidarity. In the interview linked to below, he shares some of the history of the Havasupai struggle against Canadian nuclear giant Energy Fuels (which recently bought Roca Honda mine co-developer Srathmore Minerals), besides revealing a profound (and possibly surprising) Havasupai connection to Laguna Pueblo.

AUDIO LINK: Supai Waters on the history of Havasupai struggles against uranium mining on sacred sites; solidarity with New Mexico tribes.

Mama Bears Brigade brochure for Canyon Mine protest (recto): click to enlarge.
Mama Bears Brigade brochure for Canyon Mine protest (recto): click to enlarge.

Accompanying Supai from Arizona were Wind Euler and Blue Jay Lavender of the Mama Bears Brigade. Follow the link to their interview for information, elucidation and their Mama Bear approach to a politics of solidarity recognizing indigenous and women leadership.

AUDIO LINK: Wind Euler on the politics of uranium, the Canyon Mine protest and the Mama Bears Brigade, and Blue Jay Lavender on the Canyon Mine protest.

Mama Bears brochure (verso): click to enlarge.
Mama Bears brochure (verso): click to enlarge.

Developing further the links of solidarity of an anti-nuclear politics on a planetary scale, the MASE Coalition hosted presentations in Albuquerque last week by Dr. Katsumi Furitsu and Tomoyo Tamayama, dissident activists of post-Fukushima Japan. Given the extraordinary value of their reports from inside Japan on the situation at Fukushima and the state of anti-nuclear politics there, as well as their take on one of the original zaibatsu—Sumitomo—trying to start a uranium mine in New Mexico, La Jicarita will provide complete transcripts of their presentations as Part Two of “Voices of Anti-Nuclear Solidarity.” Also at the event last Saturday, MASE Coalition organizer Leona Morgan spoke about the deep connections between New Mexico, Japan and uranium, as well as about other organizing efforts that MASE is currently undertaking. Click on the link below to hear Ms. Morgan describe efforts by the MASE Coalition to build solidarity with uranium-affected communities and among anti-nuclear activists, which completes Part One of this series.

AUDIO LINK: MASE Coalition organizer Leona Morgan situates the visit by Japanese activists within the panorama of her organization’s activities.