published by WISE News Communique on December 3, 1993
(403.3922) WISE Amsterdam - At a meeting in the state of Oklahoma on August 28, the Sac and Fox Nation became the first Native American tribe to declare a Nuclear Free Zone (NFZ) on tribal land. Two other tribes, the Salish-Kootenai of Montana and the White Mountain Apaches of Arizona, have made similar declarations, adding to the more than 200 municipal and county jurisdictions in the US that are also NFZs. The worldwide Nuclear Free Zone com-munity consists of 26 nations and over 4,500 local governments.
Throughout the decades of the arms race, Native American peoples like the Navajos in New Mexico and the Shoshones in Nevada have been some of the unnoticed victims of radiation effects from uranium mining and weapons tests. Spurring on the present Native NFZ movement is a two-year-long campaign by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to site a Monitored Retrievable Storage (MRS) facility for 15,000 tonnes of spent reactor fuel on an economically distressed Indian reservation. At present, the MRS initiative has been put on hold by policymakers in Washington.
The MRS siting record over the past two years tells the story: not one state or county jurisdiction in the United States has come forward with an application for DOE's offering of hundreds of thousands of dollars in MRS "study" funds, but six Native tribes currently have active applications pending. DOE's offering of a facility that would contain over one thousand heavy casks filled with spent fuel has been widely seen throughout Native America as a high-tech version of the white man's gifts of whiskey and smallpox-infected blankets that wiped out massive numbers of Indians during the 1800s.
Contact: National Environmental Coalition of Native Americans (NECONA), 100 Watson Drive #N4, Yale OK 74085,
Nuclear Free America, 325 E. 25th Street, Baltimore MD 21218,