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Wed

28

Oct

2009

Faking the News
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 19:52
by Brenda Norrell

Where were the news reporters during the 7th Southwest Uranium Forum? Only two people identified themselves as news reporters at the gathering, a correspondent for Washington Post and another from the Four Corners Free Press.

Where was the American Indian media? Where were the Native American newspapers and radio stations?

Recently, Associated Press and the Arizona Republic were quick to attack environmentalists by rewriting the press releases of politicians and corporations. But where were their reporters when Indigenous Peoples gathered to tell their stories of how uranium mining, and the radioactive waste strewn and left behind, caused the deaths of their children, parents, brothers and sisters?

Faith Gemmill, Gwich'in, came all the way from the Arctic Circle in Alaska to this gathering, telling of the climate change devastating the way of life of her people and the land, water and air of all life there. Charmaine White Face of Defenders of the Black Hills came from South Dakota, revealing the secrecy of the uranium mining and the waste that poisons the land and water of the Oglala. Winona LaDuke, Anishinabe, came from White Earth, Louise Benally, Navajo, came from Big Mountain and Supai Waters from the land of the Havasupai.

This Indigenous Uranium Forum was broadcast live with streaming video by Earthcycles. As of Monday morning, there were more than 62,300 views of the sessions from Thursday, Friday and Saturday. News reporters have access to these sessions at no cost. Will they tell the story of the Navajos who buried their children after they died of brain tumors, or the children who grew up without their mothers who died of lung cancer from the uranium mines in Monument Valley, Red Valley and Cove, Arizona?

Will they tell the story of the children taken away, vanished from their families, after their parents died working in the uranium mines without protective clothing? Will they tell the story of the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos who ate the radioactive dust with their meals near Jackpile Mine? Will they tell the story of the Havasupai who now must sacrifice their own money to fight the new threat of uranium mining in the Grand Canyon, uranium mining that could poison their water?

Will they listen to John Redhouse, Navajo, tell of the hate crimes toward Navajos and Pueblos here. Will the news reporters reflect and consider that uranium mining has long been a hate crime in Indian country?


Sky City on Acoma Pueblo is located between the Navajo Nation and Albuquerque. It is alongside the interstate highway, but no local reporters came. If they did, they did not identify themselves at the beginning or the conclusion of the gathering.

Censorship is the sad state of the media today. Faking news coverage is what the media does when reporters are lazy and editors do not send reporters to hear the stories of the grassroots people.

It is far easier for editors and reporters to rewrite the press releases of corporations and politicians than to go and listen to the truth and the voices of the people. A quick phone call will not do justice to the long standing genocide, greed and destruction by energy companies and the US government in Indian country.

This was an opportunity missed for the media who did not make it a priority. Please write the reporters and editors and hold them accountable.

Indigenous Uranium Forum session videos: http://www.livestream.com/earthcycles

Brenda Norrell is a contributor to Narco News, CounterPunch, Americas, Atlantic Free Press, Sri Lanka Guardian and the UN OBSERVER & International Report. She publishes Censored News.
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