COLORADO BLOOD AND FOUR CORNERS URANIUM -- THE UTES SAY NO  [HUNTER GRAY  APRIL 2, 2002]

 

ANTHROPOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGISTS --AND INDIANS -- AND AN ATTACHED ARTICLE ON AN AMAZON SITUATION [HUNTER GRAY  MARCH 31 2002]

 

COLORADO BLOOD AND FOUR CORNERS URANIUM -- THE UTES SAY NO  [HUNTER GRAY  APRIL 2, 2002]

Note by Hunterbear:

"Nothing lives long / Only the Earth and the Mountains,"  was the death song
sung by a Cheyenne leader as the blood-thirsty Colorado militia legions of
Colonel John Chivington [an ordained Methodist preacher] closed in and shot
down at least 450 unarmed Cheyenne and Arapaho men, women, and children at their village on Sand Creek in eastern Colorado in 1864.  Chivington
defended this hideous, massive atrocity, stating that Indians are "vermin
deserving of extermination" and, on the specific matter of murdering dozens
and dozens of small children, "Nits breed lice." See Dee Brown's, Bury My
Heart at Wounded Knee [New York:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971 -- many
editions]; and Duane Schultz, Month of the Freezing Moon:  The Sand Creek
Massacre [New York:  St. Martin's Press, 1990].

This, of course, presaged the Ludlow Massacre of 1914 in which the Colorado
militia and Rockefeller gunmen murdered many striking multi-ethnic coal
miners [the total number has never really been determined] and at least two
of the strikers' women and eleven of their children -- and, again, in
Colorado, the Columbine Massacre of 1927 when state police machine-gunned
striking coal miners, killing six and injuring dozens.

Among the excellent discussions of the Ludlow tragedy is John Reed's
oft-reprinted "The Colorado War" in John Stuart's nicely done The Education
of John Reed:  Selected Writings [New York:  International Publishers, 1955
and subsequent editions].  On the Columbine atrocity, see Ronald McMahon,
"Rang-U-Tang: The IWW and the 1927 Colorado Coal Strike" in Joe Conlin's At
the Point of Production -- The Local History of the IWW [Westport:
Greenwood, 1982].

Along with the Earth and the Mountains, the Death Aura of uranium lives very
long -- and it lives very lethally as well.  When the uranium mining /
milling / refining saga was beginning with the springtime of the Cold War in
the late 1940s, there was little knowledge nor cognizance of the active and
potentially deadly effects of carnotite [uranium] ore -- once it's
substantially disturbed.  Most uranium in the United States was and is on
and around the vast Navajo reservation [bigger than West Virginia] which
covers much of northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico, and a slice of southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado as well.  Native people had no say in those days when the ever obliging US Bureau of Indian Affairs
ushered the eager, voracious uranium companies [e.g., Kerr-McGee and
Anaconda and Union Carbide and many, many more] onto Indian lands.

And now there are many, many bones -- mostly Navajo, many Laguna, and Anglo and Chicano also -- under the Turquoise Sky.

Thousands of uranium workers and community people have died, are dying and
will -- and much land and sky have been poisoned for eons to come.  For
background on this, see articles of mine -- e.g., American Socialist
["Navaho Indians:  Oil and Mining Buzzards Hover Overhead"], September 1957; and Labor Notes,  ["Navajo Uranium Miners Dying of Lung Cancer"],   July 22, 1980 -- at our large social justice Lair of Hunterbear website, at this
link   http://www.hunterbear.org/a_native_rights_sampling.htm

The Earth and Mountains -- and the deadly impact of uranium [and nuclear
matters generally] -- continue to live on.  But something has changed.

Native tribal nations now have a great deal to say about who and what "does
business" in their respective settings in and around Indian Country.
Navajos are much united in their increasingly effective opposition to any
further uranium development and doings on  their lands. So are other tribes.

But the Federals and the companies and some other Anglo forces are
pushing -- pushing very hard.

These are boiling issues -- and very much now around what-to-do with huge
quantities of uranium and related nuclear wastes.

As this contemporary article indicates, the Utes of southwestern Colorado
and environs are not about to serve as a dumping ground for thirteen
million -- yes, indeed, that's 13 million -- tons of uranium waste.


Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]

Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]
www.hunterbear.org  ( social justice )

================================================================

Tribe opposes Utah pipeline for uranium tailings slurry

Associated Press
http://www.rgj.com/news/stories/html/2002/04/01/11071.php
4/1/2002 08:35 am

Colorado's Ute Mountain Utes have opposed construction of a slurry pipeline
to carry uranium mill tailings from Moab to near White Mesa.

Reprocessing the radioactive Atlas Uranium Mill tailings is among options
under discussion as a way to dispose of tons of material piled beside the Colorado River.   Estimates of the amount of material left by the defunct mill range to 13 million tons.

One possibility is to build a pipeline to slurry the tailings from Moab to a
uranium mill 85 miles south of Blanding for reprocessing. International
Uranium Corp., which owns the White Mesa Mill, has been considering the plan.

The Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council, based in Towaoc, Colo., recently passed
a resolution opposing the construction.

The 82-mile pipeline, which would employ a 10-inch diameter pipe, would end
at a site three miles north of a tribal community at White Mesa, said Tom Rice,
director of the Ute Mountain Ute Environmental Department.

"If the slurry line were constructed, the IUC mill would receive
approximately 13 million tons of mill tailings,"Rice said.

About 3 million tons could be processed for removal of uranium and the
remaining 10 million tons would be stored, he said.

Tribal council members are concerned about possible impacts to the health
and
environment of the White Mesa community. They believe the plan would result in little or no economic return, Rice said.

"IUC's proposal stated the removal and transportation of Atlas materials to
the (White Mesa) mill would offer many benefits to the community of Moab,
Utah," he said."However, Tribal Council sentiments indicated that what would benefit Moab would be at the expense of the White Mesa community."

Another worry was that receiving the tailings for storage could open the
door to more radioactive material arriving, turning the area into a storage site
rather than a processing facility."Threats to tribal air and water resources
were also of concern to the council," Rice said.




ANTHROPOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGISTS --AND INDIANS -- AND AN ATTACHED ARTICLE ON AN AMAZON SITUATION [HUNTER GRAY  MARCH 31 2002]

Note by Hunterbear:

A few thoughts on Anthropology and anthropologists -- and then a profoundly
disturbing contemporary article.

The relationship between anthropologists -- those of "the study of man" --
and Native Americans has frequently been fraught with tension.  This has
been especially true when the anthropologists have been Anglo.  In his great
biting classic book of thirty-odd years ago,  characterized by some
exquisitely set forth Indian humor --  Custer Died for Your Sins -- the
Sioux lawyer and writer, Vine Deloria, Jr., spends a fair amount of critical
time on this  particular component of the social sciences. And one of the
most enduring songs by the great Sioux singer, Floyd Red Crow Westerman,
deals caustically with "the anthros, coming like death and taxes to our
land."

These criticisms by Vine and Floyd are very well taken.  It's been my sad
lot to have occasionally been forced into intra-academic relationships with
Anglo anthros whose careering and condescending attitudes and practices have been, to state it gently, a long and bitter drink for myself -- and for my
other colleagues and students, Native and otherwise.

I've been among a good number of Native academician/activists  who have
publicly challenged some Anglo anthros on key issues.  An interesting
example of this is the "research" of Christy Turner II who, in his
remarkably twisted and defamatory published work of several years ago, Man
Corn, trashes the peaceful Anasazi of the Northeastern Arizona and
Northwestern New Mexico setting of 800 and more years ago -- ancestors of
the modern Hopi -- by  falsely claiming they practiced wide-spread
cannibalism [somehow ostensibly managing to drag in as co-villains with the
Anasazi the very far away Toltecs of Mexico!]  I grew up among the Navajo,
adversaries of the Anasazi in the "old time" [mostly over water resources],
who have nothing whatsoever in their very carefully maintained and intricate
oral history to indicate that cannibalism was ever practiced by these long
ago pueblo neighbors.  And the Hopis -- Anasazi descendants -- certainly do
not.

 A  good number of Anglo and non-Indian anthropologists have also attacked
Turner's spurious work. And that encouraging note is as good a place as any
for me to indicate that, in my opinion, many anthropologists [including many
non-Indian ones] have been essentially  OK in their relationships with
Native Americans -- and some have been extraordinarily positive allies of
our Indian people.

Anglo anthropologists were among those who encouraged the  launching of the very important pan-Indian [tribally transcendent] and all-Indian Society of
American Indians on Columbus Day, 1911 -- in which Native ethnologists [a
division of anthropology] such as Arthur C. Parker and J.N.B. Hewitt played
leading roles along with many other Native academics and activists from a
wide range of tribal and experiential backgrounds.  Dr W.E.B. DuBois, by the
way, himself part Indian and a key founder of the NAACP in 1909 as well as
its predecessor Niagara Movement, vigorously supported the Society and its
work.

Frank Speck, University of Pennsylvania, a key figure in United States
anthropology for generations and very much trusted always by Native
Americans, did very careful and honorable and enduring research  -- full and
inclusive -- among the  Wabanaki and the Iroquois and other such very much
culturally-intact tribal nations of the Northeast.  He also worked hard and
faithfully on behalf of some of the most marginal surviving tribal groups --
long forgotten -- e.g., the Nanticokes of Delaware and Maryland to whom he
faithfully donated much weekend time for years, helping them retain and
retake much of their aboriginal cultures.

The great work of Clyde Kluckhohn and Dorthea Leighton, Harvard, among the
Navajo is legendary, deep into the 20th Century.

And there are many other very positive examples.  I personally recall with
great affection and respect Bob Euler -- and Ned Danson [father of the
actor, Ted] -- both old Southwestern family friends [and teachers of mine]
whose commitment to Native cultures and Native rights was absolutely
splendid at every point.

From 1973 through 1976, I was a professor in the Graduate Program in Urban
and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa -- and was also UI's advisor
to the Native students.  I arrived as a major national Indian concern was
erupting vigorously in Iowa -- the sanctity of Native American burials.  The
Iowa State Archaeologist [an office traditionally based at UI], Marshall
McKussack,  was extremely insensitive to Indian concerns and was a target of
Deloria in "Custer." [Archaeology, of course, is a major division of
Anthropology.]  This old dinosaur was being retired and Duane Anderson, also
an Anglo, was appointed to the storm-ridden post.  Duane appointed a three
person Native American advisory committee -- Maria Thompson Pearson
["Running Moccasins"], a Santee Sioux; Don Wanatee, a Mesquaki; and myself.

We traveled the state -- and surrounding areas -- securing the opinions
of Native persons from both reservation and urban settings.  Duane Anderson,
anthropologist, was a very solid person all the way through.  In due course,
we-all had an excellent piece of proposed legislation which the Iowa General
Assembly passed and the supportive Governor, Robert Ray, immediately signed.

This legislation -- the strongest package of state level protection for
Native burials ever passed in the country -- set forth elaborate procedures
for the protection of Native burials, for the analysis and reburial in
traditional settings for Native remains, and for a closed state cemetery to
house Native remains that could not be classified in a specific tribal
sense.  The Iowa legislation helped significantly to blaze the trail for the
major Federal statute, the Native American Graves Protection and
Repatriation Act of 1990 -- as well as some related measures.

Very importantly, an increasing number of Native Americans have been
entering Anthropology, following the trail-blazing traditions of Arthur
Parker and J.N.B. Hewitt and, in more contemporary times, such vigorous
researchers [and often activists] as Alphonso Ortiz, Bob Thomas, Edward
Dozier -- and Vine Deloria, Jr [who, although not formally trained in the
discipline, has certainly absorbed and contributed to it in countless
positive ways indeed.]

Increasingly, anthropologists have been extremely useful -- in conjunction
with the very important  Native oral historians -- in providing critical
expert court testimony in support of Native American  land claims and water
rights and environmental and related cases.  A multitude of
anthropologists -- from all ethnicities -- have been at the fore in the
broadly human battle against racism and cultural ethnocentrism.

But there can be mess-ups -- when academic aspirations and aboriginal
societies and cultures and the encroaching world's hunger for natural
resources --  all come together.   Here's a sketch of one.         
Hunter Gray [Hunterbear] www.hunterbear.org


===================================

 

Amazon's war of words revisited
Outsiders take a new look at controversy over Yanomami tribe
By Alan Boyle MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.com/news/728271.asp?cp1=1

March 29 - Almost four decades ago, a young anthropologist named Napoleon
Chagnon began to study an Amazonian people who had known virtually no
contact with the outside world, called the Yanomami. It was a classic case of
"Paradise Lost," with outsiders sparking a wave of rapid - and some would say deadly - changes among the Yanomami. Now Chagnon stands accused of cultural crimes, and he has been banned from pursuing his life's work. Who is right, and who's been wronged? Both sides get their say in a fresh examination of the issue.

WHEN CHAGNON lived among the Yanomami in the Venezuelan Amazon during the 1960s and 1970s, he found their society to be remarkably aggressive and
fractious - an image that ran counter to the stereotype of the noble savage.

Chagnon's accounts of the Yanomami - their battles with neighboring tribes,
their stone-age technology, their shaman healers, their rituals of marriage
and death - made his reputation. But critics charged that Chagnon had created a distorted image of indigenous culture, that his very presence and behavior
encouraged the violence he wrote about, and that he helped lay the
groundwork for invasions by land-hungry generals and gold miners.

One native-rights activist, Patrick Tierney, went so far as to claim in a
book titled "Darkness in El Dorado" that Chagnon and his colleagues had a hand in exacerbating a killer measles epidemic in 1968 - a claim that drew heavy return fire from other anthropologists.

The years of criticism led Venezuela first to restrict Chagnon's access to
the region, and then to bar all research among the Yanomami. Last year,
Venezuela's Office of Indigenous Affairs organized an expedition to the heart of the rain forest, to investigate the charges of anthropological malpractice firsthand. Accompanying the team were photographer Les Stone and Scott Wallace, a writer and television producer who agreed to do a documentary for an adviser to the Venezuelan agency. Wallace reports on the experience in the April issue of National Geographic Adventure, and footage from his documentary is airing on the National Geographic Channel.

AMONG THE YANOMAMI

In his report, Wallace recounts tales of arriving at a village in the midst
of a funeral, and tasting a ritual soup seasoned with the ashes of the dearly
departed ... of mixing up a rainbow of Gatorade drinks for delighted
Yanomami children ... of reviewing Chagnon's case with two shamans who were under the influence of the hallucinogenic concoction called yopo.

From the Yanomami, he heard repeated complaints about promised goods that
Chagnon never delivered, about prying questions that targeted the tribe's
deepest taboo. Chagnon worked to document the Yanomami's kinship systems, in some cases paying informants to find out the true names of dead relatives -
names that would be sacrilegious for any Yanomami to reveal.

"It's so bad that if I speak the name of your dead relative, you are obliged
to kill me," a missionary who lived among the villagers told Wallace. Almost a
decade after Chagnon's last visit, those transgressions still sting.

Wallace came away convinced that Chagnon - who was known among the Yanomami as "Shaki," or "little bee" - would never be allowed to set foot among the tribe again.

"When Shaki comes, there is hishiki, confusion," one warrior said during a
meeting with investigators. "Those of us who are leaders now say he doesn't
enter here."

NAPOLEON IN EXILE

Wallace met with Chagnon as well, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer with
the balding 63-year-old at his retreat in the North Woods of Michigan.

"Chagnon is completely unrepentant," Wallace said in an e-mail message sent
to MSNBC.com from Brazil, where he was again journeying into the bush. "I think he would live his life over just as he has, if he could."

The way Chagnon told it to Wallace, the controversy was whipped up by
jealous colleagues and "self-appointed ayatollahs" of political correctness who had been out to get him for years. He contended that he treated the Yanomami and their secret lore with respect - but acknowledged that if a warrior didn't
deliver on his part of a deal, he didn't feel bound to follow through on his
end.

He also resisted the idea that he exploited the Yanomami to increase his own
fame.

"I don't look at 'first contact' as a coup similar to raping a virgin,"
Chagnon told Wallace. "It's a privileged opportunity to learn something precious about another people before they're snuffed out. I would have given my left testicle to see the Plains Indians in the 15th century, to see what they did, to see what their society was like."

FUTURE IN THE FOREST

After months of investigation, the Venezuelan government should soon be
issuing its report on the impact Chagnon and other outsiders have had on the
Yanomami, Wallace said.

The American Anthropological Association, based in Virginia, has already
produced a report voicing a different set of concerns about how the
Venezuelan Yanomami are faring. The Yanomami's brethren on the Brazilian side of the border are making out much better, said Florida International University's Janet Chernela, who chairs the association's human rights committee.

Brazil has a better record of working with nongovernmental organizations,
putting trained medical personnel in the field who are motivated to go out
among the Yanomami. After an 18-month campaign by an aid group called URIHI, infant mortality among the Brazilian Yanomami was cut in half, Chernela said.

On the Venezuelan side, in contrast, "the medical facilities are few, and
they're stationary," she said. The state-funded medical workers are not as
well trained, and turnover is high. Chernela said Venezuelan natives at the
border frequently cross over into Brazil for medical care.

A constitution adopted by Venezuela in 1999 provides more rights for the
country's indigenous people, but Chernela said the application of those
rights "hasn't yet been worked out on the ground."

Meanwhile, the Yanomami are facing competition with other tribes for land,
health problems such as malaria, river blindness and infant diarrhea - and
the growing realization that they may have to become more involved in the
outside world to defend their rain forest domain.

"It's very ironic, because it's one of the few egalitarian societies
anywhere," said Chernela, who attended the first all-Yanomami meeting in Venezuela last November. "Yet, in order to protect their own rights, they're going to have to find a means of representation, to find spokesmen ... and in so doing, they could sacrifice that egalitarianism. It's a delicate balance."

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