NRC charged with not consulting with tribes on uranium mining

A Lakota activist, Debra White Plume, is the lead plaintiff against Cameco Corporation in Nebraska and its Crow Butte uranium mines, and against North Trend Uranium Mine. She challenged the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approach to cultural and historic properties and consultation with tribal governments in testimony she delivered June 8, 2011 at an informal information gathering meeting about the Dewey-Burdock and Crow Butte in-situ leach uranium projects.

She stated in part: “I want the record to show this is not a consultation. You’re not consulting with our band. You’re here with program staff. Following your procedures and your process, the United States Government is trying to put a round peg in a square hole. . . . The different ways that we look at things, all of that is our cultural property, all of this is our historical property. First off in a spiritual manner, our relationship to Mother Earth, Grandmother Earth, including the water under the ground, the water above the ground, the water coming from the sky. We have a spiritual relationship, and a spiritual obligation because of that relationship. . . . So, you think you have the right to mine there if we gather here and satisfy your little requirements. That’s what you’re going to do, you’re going to take it back and say we consulted with the Oglalas, but this ain’t a consultation. . . .

The government by allowing these miners to come in is already denying us our human right to be who we are, and our future generations the right to clean water. You can’t separate cultural properties, historical properties from the coming generations, and from us here today. . . .

I’m trying to help you to understand our paradigm. I understand yours, but I want you to understand ours. It’s important to us, and it’s important to the future generations, as well, who we represent.

In 20, 30 years all of you all is going to be gone, the uranium will be gone, and you’ll all be gone. We’re going to still be here, those of us who are surviving the cancer, the diabetes, the renal failure caused by your mines, by your rules, and laws, and regulations. So, our perspective is different.”

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