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Why Stopping The Ward Valley Nuclear Waste Dump Is Worth Remembering...

By Vincent L. Guarisco

19 February, 2014

On February 8, 2014, I was honored to attend the 16th Annual Ward Valley Spiritual Gathering Reunion. A wonderful event hosted by my local Ft. Mohave Indian Tribe. Thanks to them, each year, we gather together in celebration... and always with an important lesson to all citizens everywhere. The message is quite simple. Regardless of the opposition, victory can and will prevail when enough folks unite as one and actively become engaged for a worthy purpose or cause. In this cause, we actively assembled. We fought long and hard. And we gave them the boot and prevented "U.S. Ecology (USE)," a terrible company with a horrible track-record for radioactive leaks at their other nuclear waste sites, from establishing a new one in our backyard in Ward Valley, California.

Some Tribal History about Ward Valley

In 1998, a historic 113-day occupation of the proposed dumpsite by the Five River Tribes (Fort Mojave, Chemehuevi, Quechan, Cocopah, and Colorado River Indian Tribes) along with environmental activists were assembled at the site to fight and stop the proposed Ward Valley nuclear waste dump. The 113-day occupation prevented federal police from entering the site as well as prevented the test drilling for the dump that would have desecrated the sacred land of Ward Valley.

The occupation ended in victory when the U.S. Department of the Interior rescinded the eviction notice and cancelled test drilling. On November 2, 1999, the Interior Department terminated all actions regarding the Ward Valley dump proposal, which officially ended the extensive conflict.  

The proposed dump, which would have been in the center of eight wilderness areas, amidst critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise, enclosed by the pristine golden canyons and cave paintings of the Old Woman Mountains, and east of the foothills of the Stepladder Mountains that remain covered in a forest of Cholla Cacti was utterly eliminated by the coordinated effort of dedicated citizens of our Nations. For more information, click here .

My parents, Mary and Anthony Guarisco, were renowned  anti-nuke activists  both nationally and internationally. As with many activist endeavors throughout their life, they were at the forefront of this battle. In 1984, they started the opposition against the dump site when they staked a claim for a placer gold mine dead center on site of USE's planned nuclear burial ground. An action that created "Nobody's Wasteland Atomic Veterans Camp and Desert Tortoise Refuge" which later culminated into a vast, organized occupation; eventually stopping USE dead in its tracks. Indeed, it all started with two wonderful people who cared. Two mavericks for hope and change that had long ago learned a valuable lesson: That all life is precious, and No amount of radiation exposure is safe.

The Ultimate Reward for Being Engaged in Environmental Activism 

Simply put, our survival is at stake here. Clean air, fresh water and healthy food is our birthright. These essentials are non-negotiable. So, take note, it's up to us to preserve this lovely jewel that hangs in the sky, our only home... or we shall perish.

I once  read  something I will never forget... 

"It's time for each of us to realize our true potential as human beings. It's time to forget the imaginary restraints and limitations that have been placed before us by institutionalized teachings and to look at the whole spectrum. Realize the divisions that supposedly exist between us are an illusion. Look behind it to the real world, for It matters not who you are, what country you are in or where you are from, it makes no difference whether you are black or white or Christian, or Muslim, or Jew, it makes no difference at all what your beliefs are, because we are all people, and we are all one! The reality is that this situation is a global one, and it affects each of us equally.

"Do not wait for your governments or your media to address these issues for you, the one who must address them is you. Come to the realization that you are not merely pawns of the game of life; you are the mover of the pieces. So stop following and start leading. Embrace your true power, and unite as one human family. Feel the connection you have to all people, and to all life. This is the greatest power and the greatest tool that we have. There truly are no limits to what we can create and it is up to each of us to change this world for the better."  

My wonderful friends at the Ft. Mohave Indian Tribe have always known the true value of gratitude, love and respect for our sacred Mother Earth and all life that lives upon it. This is also well known in Shamanic traditions from all cultures on all continents. However, too many of us have not yet learned to live in harmony with nature. It is imperative that we do so if we are to survive in a world worth living.  

Please join us! The challenges ahead are never ending... we must remain vigilant.   For future Ward Valley Spiritual Gathering Reunions, please feel free to contact the Fort Mojave Tribe Public Relations Department at the Tribal Administration (760) 629-4591 ext.106 or email  monikaaragon@fortmojave.com .

Vincent L. Guarisco  is a freelance writer from Arizona, a contributing writer for many web sites, and a lifetime founding member of the Alliance of Atomic Veterans. The 21st century, once so full of shining promise, now threatens to force countless millions of us at home and abroad into a dark abyss of languishing poverty and silent servitude; a lowly prodigy of painful struggle and suffering that could stream for generations to come. I'm wishing for a miracle, before it is too late, the masses will figure it out and will stand as one and roar. So, pass the word -- it's past time to take back what is ours -- the American Dream where the pursuit of happiness, the ability to live in a free and peaceful nation is a reality. We bought it, and we paid for it. It's time to take it back



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