Monday, October 18, 2010

Promoting Energy Justice on the Navajo Nation: Merging the Ancient with the Modern ( No to Uranium Mining)

Comment:  Their fight against uranium mining is our fight too!  No to uranium mining!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Nikila Badua,
Women's Earth Alliance,

Across these long empty roads, amidst red mesa plateaus and small desert towns, I hold my camera in hand as my mind's fingers trace the edges of horizons lined with rock formations that seem to have been intentionally carved out by Nature's hands. Every now and then I spot rural properties with traditional tepees and hogans (sacred, traditional Navajo homes) built alongside old, run-down houses, reminding me of the spiritual preservation that still exists despite modernization's detrimental influences.

From behind the lens of a camera, I was blessed to experience the Navajo Nation. Through the eyes of my creative spirit, always seeking to capture the beauty within each moment, I was able to witness the perfection within in every person and place.

For the past 60 years the Navajo lands have been subjected to large coal and uranium mining enterprises upon the Reservation without the people’s consent, negatively impacting sacred land, aquifers, and communities. These corporations are able to do so because, unfortunately, the judicial system of the United States of America still does not recognize indigenous tribes of North American Reservations as being legally competent to make their own decisions regarding their properties, denying their sovereignty and human rights.

The Navajo Nation continues to work toward removing these dirty energy corporations from their land, but are faced with a number of challenges that have required a well, thought-out strategy.

 With a complex tribal judicial system, and an unemployment rate that is over 40% higher than the U.S. national unemployment rate during the Great Depression, the fact that a large percentage of mining employees are Dine' has played a part within the establishment of the "Just Transition Campaign" - "an innovative, proactive plan to transition tribal economy, employment, and energy off fossil fuel extraction and onto a sustainable renewable energy path."

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