MISSION: Southwest Research and Information Center is a multi-cultural organization working to promote the health of people and communities, protect natural resources, ensure citizen participation, and secure environmental and social justice now and for future generations

From Salzburg to Window Rock

Why this slogan? Because it unites the Indigenous World Uranium Summit taking place now in Window Rock, Arizona, to September of 1992 when in Salzburg, Austria, individuals from around the globe gathered to testify at the World Uranium Hear­ing. There, before a 'Board of Listeners,' those living on the Nuclear Age's frontlines gave witness to the invisible, toxic threat radiating from uranium mines and mills, nuclear waste disposal installations, and nuclear test sites. Over the course of the Hearing one pattern grew increasingly plain: around the globe, those individuals most regularly victimized by the deadly fallout from the nuclear cycle are members of First Nations.

Many of the witnesses arrived feeling powerless, isolated in their situations, for the violation of their traditional lands was largely ignored by the mainstream culture. How many people understand that the curse of uranium is loosed the moment it is mined from the earth? How many people realize that the electricity generated by nuclear power plants satisfies only 2.5 per­cent of the world's energy needs, and that for this whit of voltage entire cultures are ravaged? For a week we joined hands, for a week we felt superior to the captains of the uranium industry and the pro-nuclear glad-handers sitting in governments. Out of this experience was born the idea of the Nuclear-Free Future Award. Taken directly from the World Uranium Hearing's Declaration of Salzburg (Geneva United Nations Document File # E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1994/7), our central message is: URANIUM AND OTHER RADIOACTIVE MINERALS MUST REMAIN IN THEIR NATURAL LOCATION.

FIRST NATIONS

From Salzburg to Window Rock, capital of the Navajo Nation, the site of the premiere Indigenous World Uranium Summit. Last year at the Awards ceremony in Oslo, President Joe Shirley, Jr. – the man who signed into law the historic Diné Natural Resources Protection Act of 2005 – invited us here, and here we've arrived to swap experiences with many old friends and to meet many new ones. We have come to help plot a course to steady a teetering world.

We are lulled to distraction by our culture's rush of speed although we have no real inkling of which direction we are proceeding. Progress, the German wildlife film­maker Heinz Sielmann said, marks nothing other than our progression away from nature. For global players, the acid foe of hopped-up consumerism is holistic thinking, as nothing can beat into remittance the addiction to fresh acquisition like some native sense for the earth's longterm sustainable budget of give and take. Albert Einstein came to the conclusion that the problems we face cannot be solved by the same mode of thinking that created them. One thing that we know for sure is that we cannot allow our futures and the well-being of the coming generations to be decided by those who are today pushing the buttons in the control rooms of power.

"If we go, you all go," one AIM-activist said back during the seventies – a statement that sounds like a threat, but actually tenders a way out: the ‘we' he refers to are the indigenous peoples from around the globe, people who share in essence the worldview that all of nature is sacred and alive and that our role as human beings is to help preserve the balance by living in tune with the spirit that infuses all things. No First Nation culture carried the concept of waste.

This is the wisdom that must be transfused to today's centers of decision-making – before it's too late.

If you go, we all go.

RECOGNITION OF OUTSTANDING WORK

At the outset of November the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris issued governments the advice that they should build a slew of new nuclear power plants in order to avert global warming. How can one respond to such a shortsighted recommendation? One way is through long-term action, and that's what our Nuclear-Free Future Award recipients – this year coming from China, Canada, Germany and the USA – have done, and are doing.

RESISTANCE
Sun Xiaodi, China, for his moral courage to petition for an end to the toxic mismanagement corrupting Chinese uranium mining and milling

EDUCATION
Dr. Gordon Edwards, Canada, for his enduring role in demystifying nuclear technology and helping the public understand its perilous predicament

SOLUTIONS
Wolfgang Scheffler & Heike Hoedt, Germany, for the valuable contributions their solar reflectors have made towards improving the quality of life in developing regions

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Ed Grothus, USA, for his unique brand of gadfly peace activism in the community of Los Alamos, the birthplace of the bomb

SPECIAL RECOGNITION
Phil Harrison, Navajo Nation, for his many years of struggle as a visionary activist calling the uranium industry to account for its blind and poisonous greed

Southwest Research and Information Center, USA, for helping people and communities across the Southwest understand and overcome their radioactive legacy

– Courtesy of the Nuclear Free Future
Award, www.nuclear-free.com

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“We, the Peoples gathered at the Indigenous World Uranium Summit, at this critical time of intensifying nuclear threats to Mother Earth and all life, demand a worldwide ban on uranium mining, processing, enrichment, fuel use, and weapons testing and deployment, and nuclear waste dumping on Native Lands.”

—Declaration of the Indigenous World Uranium Summit December 2, 2006



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