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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

""Do they think the Shoshone people don't matter?"

Residents on the Duckwater Reservation began what will be a series of actions against the "Divine Strake" bombing within traditional Shoshone territory. The blast date has been postponed and is scheduled for June 23.
Darlene Graham, a resident of the Duckwater Indian Reservation in northeastern Nye County, said she never understood why her 32-year-old brother died of throat cancer back in 1983. He didn't smoke.

Graham suspects the testing of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site in the 1950s killed her brother. The family grew their own vegetables and butchered their own cattle, she said, on ground that could have been contaminated. She raised her nephew and niece.

"They told me I could apply for compensation for my nephew and niece after my brother passed away," Graham said. "I filled out all my paperwork and they said it was the wrong type of cancer. Because of my brother I'm doing this protest. What's happening on our land."

The protest includes overall issues of Indian rights, including the Treaty of Ruby Valley, which dates to 1864.

"Seventy million acres is Shoshone land we're still fighting for," said Johnnie Bobb of Austin.Pahrump Valley Times article
The Shoshone citizens interviewed in the article are skeptical of the government assurances that the blast will be safe.

Arvilla Mascarenas
"I don't understand why everything that's happening down at the test site is happening," Mascarenas said. "Why do they want to set off this 700-pound blast? It's going to bring up everything from the soil below from the nuclear blasts they set off in the '50s. It's going to be floating in our air again. We're going to have more people getting sick.

"Do they think the Shoshone people don't matter? They say it's not going to be dangerous but still they want to be testing this stuff. If it's going to hurt our people here, why do they want to set it off? Do they want to kill more people?"
Several Native organizations and allies will be having a day of action on May 28. The Western Shoshone Defense Project has more information for those who may want to attend or hold solidarity events in their communities. WSDP website


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