Baja Quake Devastates Cucapa (Cocopah) Indians - Corn Pollen Or Yellow Cake? Dine Chose Corn Pollen - MLK Memorial In DC
Late Breaking News
Source: East County Magazine
By Miriam Raftery
April 9, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – A relief effort is being mounted here to bring emergency aid to the Cucapa Indian nation, just ten miles from the epicenter of the 7.2 earthquake that devastated their homeland between Mexicali and San Felipe.
March through May is the fishing season for these indigenous people, who rely on fishing to sustain them throughout the year. But the Easter earthquake severely damaged roads that the Cucapa use to fish on the Colorado Delta, forcing them to end their season early, East County Magazine has learned. Tribal members have lost their livelihoods as well as their homes, roads, electricity and water.
“The lives of the Cucapa Nation have been shattered with the loss of their homes, roads, electricity and awter,” said Maggie Rivera, vice president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). “The economic state of Mexicali mirrors that of Haiti to where local economy relies on tourism. This devastating crisis is something many leaders believe reflects the desperate need of financial hardship in this region of the world.”
The Mexican community in Illinois has joined with the Center for Social Advocacy in El Cajon, California to bring immediate emergency relief to the Cucapa people. Estela de los Rios, executive director of the Center, called it a tragedy that governments in Mexico and the U.S. have failed to respond to the needs of the Cucapa. “Once again the oppression of the indigenous people of the land has been magnified by the lack of concern and response. Please help us support their needs.”
Read more: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/3107
EXPERTS TAKING HOLISTIC APPROACH TO URANIUM HEALTH ISSUES
By Kathy Helms
WINDOW ROCK – At the time of Creation, the Dine people came to the top, the place of emergence, where they were given instructions and a choice of how they were going to make their living in this world. They were given two yellow substances and asked, “'Which one are you going to take?” according to Sarah Henio-Adeky.
“This is the corn pollen, and this is the yellow cake, which is uranium – leetso, they call it, in our language. Our Dine people chose the corn pollen, the Beauty Way, and that's what they're going to use to sustain their livelihood and use in all their well-being and their prayers and hold it as a significant item for their people,” she told the audience gathered at Churchrock Chapter House.
The yellow substance they didn't choose, the leetso, they were told, would be returned to Mother Earth. “That will be her protector, so leave that with Mother Earth. That's hers. It should never be taken from her. You took the corn pollen way.
“'If for any reason you should go and get that and take that away from her and bring it out, that's when all of the hardships are going to come about. People will begin to suffer.' That's what we were told,” said Henio-Adeky, Navajo community liaison with Southwest Research and Information Center.
But as everyone in Churchrock knows, Mother Earth's protector was removed through years of uranium mining. Now the community is rampant with cancer, kidney disease, hypertension and other ills, and the questions remain: How do you heal the people? How do you heal the land?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assembled a panel of experts March 30 for a Uranium Health and Risk Workshop. The discussion was in follow-up to a public meeting held last summer regarding the cleanup of Northeast Churchrock Mine and Red Water Pond Road, according to Andrew Bain, remedial project manager for EPA's Superfund Division.
Community member Tony Hood told the panel, “As a concerned resident of Red Water Pond Road community, that's not a safe place to live, according to Andrew Bain. We have two mines up there – United Nuclear and Kerr-McGee. I think it's a no-brainer to clean both of those mines together.”
Hood said the federal agencies are using a backward approach. “When do we expect Kerr-McGee to clean up their mess? Because as it is, all the afflictions that are associated with uranium – cancer, hypertension, renal failure – are bothering and killing our people as we speak.
“I work as a driver and interpreter for Public Health Nursing, and I see first-hand what's going on, what's happening to the people. What do you say to someone whose kidney is not working anymore? I would like to encourage all you panel members to get the ball rolling. You know, there's that expression, 'Your mother doesn't work here. Clean up your mess.' ”
The community is concerned that cleaning up Northeast Churchrock will be of little effect when there are erosion problems right next door at Kerr-McGee's Quivera Mine.
Sara Jacobs of EPA said that instead of moving forth with the agency's preferred alternative to clean up Northeast Churchrock, they have taken a step back after hearing concerns from the community raised during the public comment period.
“What we're going to do is come back here in another month – we're calling it a conceptual planning meeting – and we want to hear from you. We want to know what all of your concerns are about the whole area so that we can address it holistically and make a plan about how can we comprehensively address all of these sources rather than just focusing on one right now.”
Henry Tso, a member of the Medicine Man Association and a Native American Church board member, also was among the panel of experts.
“We have a doctor here from IHS out of Shiprock, and they have that Western medicine of how to cure certain things. But we as Navajos, how do we approach this? How do we feel comfortable about getting help in the Western way and also in the traditional ways?” Tso asked.
“There are prayers that are said. These prayers, they can make beauty of what was the place that is destructed right now. We try to balance that. Also, we try to balance the human minds,” he said.
Many community members have lost loved ones due to the uranium legacy, according to Tso. In addition, “A lot of us have lost some of our traditional beliefs. But through harmony and also through the traditional ways, the Native American Church way, the corn pollen and also the Western medicine, we can get help.”
The soil, the water, even some of the animals have been contaminated, he said. “What about us? What have they done to us, our loved ones, our kids? These are some of my concerns. The doctor from IHS, and other traditional ways of healing, if we all come together, I'm quite sure that we can find some solution to help our people in this way.”
Dr. Douglas Zang of Northern Navajo Medical Center said he and the people within his program – the Radiation Screening and Education Program – believe that if they, as health care providers, try to provide care in a way which does not agree with people's basic beliefs, they are not going to accomplish much.
“That's why we in this program think it's very important to work with the medicine men and the Medicine Man's Association,” Zang said, adding that he was very encouraged to hear Tso's comments.
“I don't know what the answer is and I don't know what the way is, but I think that by sitting down and by working together and talking about it, hopefully we can find a way to give people what they need and what they want.”
Johnnye Lewis, Ph.D., principal investigator on the Eastern Agency kidney health study for the Dine Network for Environmental Health, said she also appreciated having the medicine man participate in the discussion.
“I think that's been a missing link and I'm really looking forward to having closer relationships with them,” she said.
MARTIN LUTHER KING NATIONAL MEMORIAL
The month of April marks the 42nd anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are commemorating the life and work of Dr. King by creating a memorial in our nation's capital. The Washington, DC, Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial will honor his life and contributions to the world through non violent social change. I'm reaching out to ask if you and your readers would help spread the word by posting about this wonderful project on Native Unity.
I've put together this blogger-friendly micro-site to help get the message out - there are videos, photos, banners, and even a web toolbar that, when used, donates money to the creation of the memorial:
After years of fund raising, the memorial is now $14 million away from its $120 million goal. This will be more than a monument to a great humanitarian, the National Memorial will be a place for visitors from around the world to share the spirit of love, freedom, and peace. If you are able to post or tweet about this please let me know so I can share it with the team. If you have any questions please pop me an email. And if you are able to help, thank you so much.
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity"
--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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