Monday, June 26, 2017

SAAMI: Indigenous-led resistance against new fishing regulations by Finnish and Norwegian governments

Indigenous-led resistance against new fishing regulations imposed by Finnish and Norwegian governments

 By Ellos Deatnu, Censored News

Last week, a group called Ellos Deatnu (Long Live Deatnu) declared a moratorium over part of the Deatnu (Tana/Teno) River, in response to new fishing regulations imposed by the Finnish and Norwegian governments that severely limit indigenous rights. The indigenous-led resistance group consists of Saami and others working non-violently toward self-determination and local governance in the Deatnu Valley. The Deatnu River forms part of Sápmi, the transborder homeland of the indigenous Saami people.

The group Ellos Deatnu declared a moratorium on the 21st of June 2017 over Čearretsuolu Island and its surroundings. The moratorium halts the implementation of new Finnish-Norwegian fishing regulations governing the Deatnu River. During the moratorium in this region, Saami concepts of justice and Saami customary law will be applied. The group Ellos Deatnu has taken this measure because the new regulations violate Saami indigenous rights and threaten the well-being of the Saami from the Deatnu valley.

"Norway and Finland are often seen as human rights paradises, but how much is really known about their failure to acknowledge and respect the rights of their own indigenous people? With theese new regulations, the Finnish and Norwegian governments have removed more than two thirds of all Saami fishing rights. For example, they have denied my fishing rights as a Saami completely. We want our great-grandchildren to be able to have a good life and live in harmony with the river. Nothing is more important than the well-being of our river. We have seen that the Norwegian and Finnish states do not know what is the best for us or our river", states Áslat Holmberg of the Ellos Deatnu group.
The Deatnu river and its salmon play an indispensable part in the survival of Saami as a people. The new regulations represent a clear violation of international human rights treaties, including those specifically concerning indigenous rights. They also violate the constitutions of Norway and Finland, and were negotiated with negligible consultation of the local Saami community.

"The States whose borders run through Sápmi seek continually to appropriate our natural resources, grabbing them from us little by little. The new regulations effectively transfer the rights to the Deatnu waterways and their use – rights originally held by the Saami – away from the local population, transforming these into the property of the Finnish and Norwegian States. The only way for the Saami to survive as a people is resistance," says Beaska Niillas, also a member.

Saami from both sides of the river have joined forces as part of the Ellos Deatnu group and have established an indigenous-led resistance camp on the island. Ellos Deatnu representatives state that the moratorium remains in force until the states of Finland and Norway agree to re-negotiate the fishing regulations in full co-operation with the Saami people.

"New fishing regulations must be negotiated in a way that is fair and genuinely adheres to the standard of Free, Prior and Informed Consent, as written in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. All discussions are to be led by local Saami people. We encourage people in the Deatnu valley to declare a Moratorium in other areas along the Deatnu watershed as well until new fishing regulations have been negotiated and implemented by both Finnish and Norwegian governments," concludes Beaska Niillas.

Contact information:
Facebook: Ellos Deatnu


Saami people:

The Saami people are an indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Indigenous people are people defined in international or national legislation as having a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a particular territory, and their cultural or historical distinctiveness from other populations that are often politically dominant. The Saami are the only people with indigenous status in EU.


A moratorium is a delay or suspension of an activity or a law. In a legal context, it may refer to the temporary suspension of a law to allow a legal challenge to be carried out.

Deatnu River:

The Deatnu River (Finnish: Teno or Tenojoki; Northern Sami: Deatnu; Norwegian: Tanaelva) forms part of Sápmi, the transborder homeland of the indigenous Sámi people. It runs along the state border between Finland and Norway. It is the largest Atlantic salmon (salmo salar) river in Europe. The Deatnu River discharges into one of the largest and most unspoiled river deltas in Europe.

Photos: Ellos Deatnu!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Havasupai: Guardians Gather to Protect Sacred from Uranium Mining

Photos Courtesy No Haul

The Havasupai Tribal Council is hosting a three day gathering on Red Butte to defend the sacred land and water from uranium mining and transport.
Supai, ancestral Guardians of the Grand Canyon, began their gathering with a prayer walk.
June 23 -- 25, 2017


Home / Facts: The Canyon Mine and White Mesa Mill

What is the Canyon Mine?

The Canyon Mine is a uranium mine located near Red Butte, a sacred mountain and Traditional Cultural Property only six miles from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Canadian company, Energy Fuels, is currently sinking the mine shaft and plans to extract uranium in early 2017. The company is operating under a Plan of Operations and Environmental Review that date to 1986, and the Forest Service failed to properly consult with the Havasupai Tribe before allowing the mine to operate.
The Havasupai Tribe, Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity, and Sierra Club have legally challenged the United States Forest Service’s decision to allow Energy Fuels Resources to reopen the Canyon uranium mine, which was initially approved in the 1980s and had been closed since 1992.
  • production rate is 109,500 tons per year of high-grade uranium ore
  • EFI permitted to stockpile up to 13,100 tons of uranium ore at Canyon Mine.
  • is within a one million acre area that was withdrawn from mining in 2012 due to concerns about uranium mining’s environmental and cultural threats to the Grand Canyonwatershed.
Canyon Mine haul route facts:
  • Nearly 300 miles
  • 25 trucks (both ways) with capacity to haul up to 30 tons of highly radioactive ore per day
  • Covered only with tarps
  • Through towns such as Valle, Williams, and Flagstaff; through Navajo reservation communities including Cameron, Tuba City, and Kayenta; and finally arrive at Energy Fuel’s White Mesa Mill only three miles from the Ute Mountain Ute tribal community of White Mesa, Utah.

Sacred Sites & Precious Water:

Red Butte is located in the Kaibab National Forest in Coconino County, Arizona on ancestral Havasupai lands. It is known to the Havasupai nation as Wii’i Gdwiisa, “clenched fist mountain,” and has been held sacred since time immemorial.
  • determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as a Traditional Cultural Property in 2009
  • The Canyon Mine is located within the Traditional Cultural Property boundary of Red Butte
  • also culturally significant to Diné (Navajo) and Hopi Nations
An estimated 40 million people rely on water from the Colorado River which flows through the Grand Canyon. Already, 20 seeps and springs in the Grand Canyon region exhibit dissolved uranium concentrations over safe drinking water standards as a result of historic uranium mining. The Canyon Mine threatens to further those impacts, and the haul routes travel over two key Colorado River tributaries – the San Juan and Little Colorado.

What is the White Mesa Mill?

The White Mesa Mill is the only conventional uranium mill licensed to operate in the United States. Energy Fuels Inc. owns and operates both the mill and the Colorado Plateau uranium mines, including Canyon Mine, that supply ore to the mill. The mill is located three miles north of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s White Mesa Ute community and six miles south of Blanding, Utah.
  • built in 1979 to process uranium ore from the Colorado Plateau.
  • In 1987, it began processing “alternate feed material” (uranium-bearing toxic and radioactive waste) from across North America.
  • Energy Fuels disposes of the mill’s radioactive and toxic waste tailings in “impoundments” that take up about 275 acres next to the mill.
What are the tailings impoundments?
  • There are currently five tailings impoundments (Cells 1, 2, 3, 4A, and 4B) in the mill’s 275 acre tailings-management system. These impoundments receive tailings, including waste processing solutions, that are laden with radioactive and toxic elements.
What are the health and environmental hazards?
  • Cells 1, 2, and 3 at the White Mesa Mill were constructed with thin plastic liners between two layers of crushed rock. The liners in those cells had a useful life of 20 years when they were installed in the early 1980s and have never been replaced.
  • Cells 1, 2, and 3 leak detection system lacks a double liner and will not detect a leak until groundwater has already been contaminated.
  • The mill emits radioactive and toxic air pollutants including radon and thoron (gases) and sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides (particulates). Windblown particulates and gases travel off-site. Energy Fuels has stockpiled both ore and alternate feed on-site. Many of the stockpiled materials are not adequately covered and can blow off-site. White Mesa residents report smelling pollutants from the mill.
  • Trucks loaded with ore hazardous materials travel on Arizona and Utah highways to reach the mill. Alternate feed materials are usually off-loaded from the railroad at Cisco, Utah, trucked to Interstate 70, east to Highway 191, and south through Moab, Monticello, and Blanding to the mill. Ore from the mines near the Grand Canyon region travels north through the Navajo Nation and Bluff to the Mill.
  • There are plumes of increased levels of nitrate, nitrite, and chloride in the perched aquifer beneath the mill site.
What are other community concerns?
  • The mill was built on sacred ancestral lands of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. More than 200 rare and significant cultural sites are located on the mill site. These include burial sites, large kivas and pit houses, storage pits, and artifacts. When the mill and its tailings impoundments were constructed, several significant archeological sites were destroyed. These included pit houses, kivas, burial sites, and food-processing and storage structures.
  • Many residents in the communities of White Mesa and Bluff are concerned that the Navajo Sandstone aquifer, which provides drinking water to the area, will be contaminated. This primary drinking water aquifer lies underneath the mill site.

Rally Monday Navajo Council Votes on Dirty Coal Extension

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Longest Walk 5 Walks into West Virginia Photos by Bad Bear

Photos by Western Shoshone Photojournalist Carl Bad Bear Sampson.

Longest Walk 5 walks into West Virginia, from Kentucky, with the message of halting drug abuse and domestic violence.

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