Corbin Harney (March 24, 1920 – July 10, 2007)
My people, the Western Shoshone, have been affected by nuclear weapons testing and waste dumping since 1951 when they opened the Nevada Test Site within the boundaries of my country Newe Segobia. I have seen what has happened to my people with increased leukemia and cancer rates throughout my country. I have seen how this nuclear contamination has affected the water that we drink and the air that we breathe. It has effected the plant life, the animal life and the bird life. I have seen this through out the world as I travel. No one can escape from this mess that the governments have created. I think that we all see this.
The people that made this mess just want to sweep it under the rug and pretend that it is not there. For us the rug is Yucca Mountain and the Nevada Test Site in my country. The US government and nuclear industry just want to sweep the nuclear mess under yucca mountain and go on producing more nuclear waste. We can not let that happen.
We have to make the U.S. governments and corporations realize that they can not produce any more nuclear waste or nuclear weapons. The two go hand in hand. In my country they bring in more then 960 shipments of nuclear waste every year and dump it in a big hole in the ground above our water supply. This nuclear waste comes from the nuclear weapons plants around the country. They call this "low level" nuclear waste. Nuclear waste is nuclear waste. I don't care if they call it low level or high level. It will be dangerous to all living things for thousands of years.
Many of you heard about the work that the Shundahai Network and Healing Global Wounds are doing to prepare for our spring gathering at the Nevada Test Site this year. I want to personally invite each and every one of you to participate in what ever way you can. You can come and join us in my country of Newe Sogobia, or you can do solidarity gatherings in your own home.
It is going to take strong action from us to make them stop these things. They will not only listen to our words. We have to show them that we are serious about what we say.
The people that I work with are preparing to stand in the road and stop these nuclear waste shipments from coming into the test site with their own bodies.
We are asking people to come from all over the world to join us in this. We need to see people standing in the roads all over the world and stopping these nuclear shipments. That is what it takes for these governments to understand that they can not make any more of this nuclear waste.
Our actions will always be based on nonviolence and prayer. We must continue to pray and do ceremonies to heal and protect our mother.
The most important thing is that we must come together as one people. We must continue to work together to provide for our future generations, to protect Mother Earth.
By ourselves we are not so strong, but together, as one people, nothing can stop us. Our Mother Earth is relying on us. Please join us with your thoughts, prayers and actions.
"Peace and Harmony with all Creation"
*Breaking the Nuclear Chain*
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The Nature Way—Wisdom from a Western Shoshone Elder
By Corbin Harney, as told to and edited by Alex Purbrick. Foreword by Tom Goldtooth, University of Nevada Press unpress.nevada.edu, 775-784-6573; 136 pages, 1 b/w photo.
The Nature Way is a rich compendium of Corbin Harney’s experience and wisdom as a traditional healer, spiritual leader and as a leader in the Shoshone struggle for Civil rights. His account of his life incorporates the tragic history of Native Americans in the Great Basin after the arrival of Euro-Americans, his realization of his own identity as a Native American, and his long study of his people’s traditions and spiritual practices. His summary of the Shoshone and Paiute use of indigenous plants for food and healing highlights their understanding that the Earth and her denizens and products must be respected and protected in order to preserve the connection that all creatures have with sacred Mother Earth.