Open invitation – 35th anniversary of United Nuclear Corporation uranium tailings spill

jpeg1The Red Water Pond Road Community Association is making an OPEN INVITATION to the Red Water Pond Community Association Uranium Tailing Spill Commemoration on Saturday, July 19, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Red Water Pond Road, which is 12 miles north of the Red Rock State Park and Church Rock, N.M., on State Highway 566. You will see a Dead End sign, turn north onto the gravel road and you will be able to see a white tent to your right.

“Please join us as we journey to heal our Dine’ and Mother Earth,” the RWPRCA stated. “We believe we need to support one another and cherish our families and communities, just as our elders have. By working together, with our combined intelligence and wisdom, we can address this legacy to provide a life of balance and harmony for our people and future generations. We must not ignore the issues that are facing us, let us rejuvenate our spirits, health our hearts, state our purpose, and most importantly expres our message – “LIFE IS SACRED.”

The community members of the North East Church Rock and partners also stated that they are very concerned about the negative uranium contamination legacy, which has poisoned “our Mother Earth…sacred water, land, livestock, and our livelihood. This gathering will provide a venue to discuss and educate our people about the effect and impacts of uranium mining and the continued work to remove uranium contaminated soil from our immediate and surrounding areas to protect our precious aquifers.”

They noted that their “historic event” is open to all ages and will involve discussions and education about the “challenges we face in our daily lives,” which includes “the healing yet to be endured due to the terrible legacy.”

The commemoration will also include a recognition of the many people from all walks of life who have struggled and overcome the effects of radiation exposure such as cancer and a memorial of those individuals who have “journeyed on” but who will not be forgotten.

“If you have previously participated, we appreciate your support and if this is your first time attending, we look forward to meeting you and welcome you,” they stated. “We would like to thank those leaders who worked hard to pass the Dine’ Resources Protection Act legislation in 2005 and respectfully request continued protection of the provisions.”

For more information, please contact: Edith Hood, Red Water Pond Road Community Association, 505.905.8051

Leona Morgan, a community organizer, also issued a supporting invitation to the annual Red Water Pond Road community educational conference and day to remember the Churchrock Disaster of 1979, which was only 3 months after Three Mile Island but not as globally known.

Morgan stated that the July 19 event is a time to talk about the past uranium legacy and that day of infamy, July 16, 1979, when over 1000 tons of solid and over 90 million gallons of liquid contaminated waste spilled into the Puerco and washed down as far as Winslow, Ariz.

She added that the RWPR community is only a few miles north of that 1979 spill site and community members will share stories and news about the cleanup process and the community’s daily existence of living between two huge abandoned uranium mines.

Morgan added that the annual commemoration is also a good time to reconnect, get some updates, give some updates from your communities and to support one another’s collective struggles.

She advised people that would be attending the annual Northeast Church Rock Environmental Awareness Conference on July 19 to remember that it’s an outdoor event and that it’s during the hottest time of day, which means that people need to bring water bottles and wear hats and sun protection for the walk and gathering.

Morgan stated, “The RWPR folks are very welcoming and provide plenty to eat and drink, but if you (or your friends) have dietary restrictions, plan accordingly. If anyone has any petitions, please bring them. We’ll see you all there.”

Susan Gordon, a representative for the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, provided the following directions and noted that there would be “lots of signs.”

Red Water Pond Community is located 12 miles north of Red Rock State Park on Highway 566.
From I-40 W take Exit 33 to Historic US 66
Turn Left onto HWY 66 – Go 4.2 miles
Turn Right on NM 566 N – You will see signs for Red Rock State Park
Go 12 miles on HWY 566 – You will see signs for the event
Check it out on Google Maps for Red Rock State Park
The walk starts at 7 am.

The following is a schedule of activities for the RED WATER POND ROAD COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION’S 35th ANNIVERSARY OF THE NECR TAILINGS SPILL, SATURDAY, JULY 19, 2014, 6 A.M. TO 3 P.M.

6:00 Registration, refreshments available
6:30 Opening Prayer (Navajo Nation Becenti Chapter Vice President Jonathan Perry), Emcee long time grassroots organizer Larry King
7:00 Walking Together to the spill site, about 2 miles
8:00 Prayer of healing (traditional practioner Philmer Bluehouse) at Dam Break, History of 1979 Spill
9:00 Walk back to Red Water Pond Road tent
9:15 Welcome Address by RWPRCA Executive Committee,
• History of RWPRCA
• Introduction of core groups (Bluewater Valley Downstream Alliance, Eastern Navajo Dine’ Against Mining, Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment, Post ’71 Uranium Workers Committee, Red Water Pond Road Community Association)
• Place Matters, Navajo Nation Birth Cohort Project
• Statements of Solidarity
10:00 New Mexico Elected Officials: Udall, Lujan, Heinrich (Invited)
11:30 Lunch will be served
12:30 Navajo Nation Council delegates (invited)
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly (invited)
Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency- Director Stephen Etsitty, staff Lillie Lane, staff Michele Dineyazhe (invited)
1:00 Open mike for participants, testimonies
2:00 Jonathan Perry, Leona Morgan,
3:00 Closing Prayer
4:00 Post Meeting (Anna Rondon)

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