to Nat. Congress of American Indians
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STATEMENT OF GRACE THORPE
TO THE NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AMERICAN INDIANS
DECEMBER 1, 1993, SPARKS, NEVADA
(READ GAIASHIBOS, CHAIRMAN OF THE NCAI)

The nuclear waste issue is causing American Indians to make serious environmental and possible genocidal decisions regarding the future of our people. What to do with the nuclear wastes, produced by commercial and military reactors has stumped the minds of the most brilliant scientists and physicists since the advent of the atom bomb nearly fifty years ago. No safe method has yet been found for the disposal of the most lethal poison known in the history of man."

"What kind of society permits the manufacture of products that cannot be safely disposed of? Shouldn't we have a basic law of the land that prohibits the production of anything we cannot safely dispose?"

"It is wrong to say that it is natural that we, as Native Americans, should accept radioactive waste on our lands, as the U.S. Department of Energy has said. It is a perversion of our beliefs and an insult to our intelligence to say that we 'natural stewards' of these wastes. The real intent of the U.S. government and the nuclear industry is to get rid of this extremely hazardous garbage on Indian lands so they can go and generate more of it. They are poisoning the earth for short term financial profit. They try to flatter us about our ability as 'earth stewards.' They tell us, when our non-Indian neighbors object to living near substances poisonous for thousands of years, that this is an issue of 'sovereignty.' It is not! It is an issue of the earth's preservation and our survival."

"Perhaps we should ask ourselves a few questions about the motivation of new friends from the nuclear industry. Is nuclear technology being offered to us because the U.S. government and corporations think we got a raw deal in the past and now they want to make it up to us by giving us this wonderful opportunity? Or is it because they are being run out of town on a rail in the rest of North America and now they are turning to us?"

"I would like to invite you to consider expressing your sovereign national rights in a different way by joining a growing number of tribal governments that are choosing to declare their lands Nuclear Free Zones...."