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abqmufc Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-14-11 11:53 AM
Original message
Navajo creation story and uranium
Edited on Mon Mar-14-11 11:56 AM by abqmufc
I post this b/c over half of the uranium in the United States is found in New Mexico, with over half that reserve found on the sovereign land of the Navajo Nation. As I worked on my MA thesis (on impacts of Native Americans in the nuclear era) I came across such creation story of the Navajo peoples. The other links help show what has already been done in this country and what impacts are already felt. I'd add that in Albuquerque our aquifer will be tainted with radioactive waste soon as the Sandia National Laboratory nuclear waste dump is directly above the aquifer and leaching.

"Navajo Attitudes Toward the Resource"
"In the Navajo creation story, there is mention of uranium. Uranium - called "cledge" - is from the underworld, and is to be left in the ground ("Uranium, the Pentagon and ..." 1995). According to the creation story, the Navajo were given a choice between yellow corn pollen and uranium. In Navajo belief, the yellow corn pollen possesses the positive elements of life ("Uranium, the Pentagon and ..." 1995). The pollen is prayed for and carried in medicine bags. Uranium was thought of as an element of the underworld that should remain in the earth. When uranium was released from the ground, Navajos believed it would become a serpent ("Uranium, the Pentagon and ..." 1995). Evil, death and destruction were seen as the problems the Navajo would face. These problems have become reality to the Navajo since mining began. Many Navajo see themselves on the brink of disaster as removal of uranium suggests will occur to those people ("Uranium, the Pentagon and ..." 1995)."

http://www.umich.edu/~snre492/sdancy.html

Article - "The High Cost of Uranium mining on Navajo land"
http://www.ratical.com/radiation/UraniumInNavLand.html

A NYT article from 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/27/us/27navajo.html

LA Times "Navajos' desert cleanup no more than a mirage"
http://www.latimes.com/news/la-na-navajo21nov21,0,22717...

For a broad overview of impacts of the nuclear industry to Navajo people (as well as the people of Acoma and Laguna Pueblo) see this list of articles:
http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Navajo+uranium+mini...

A great 4 part video slideshow done by LA Times on the personal impact of Navajo peoples due to the mines and nuclear industry activity around Church Rock. ("Blighted Homeland")
http://www.latimes.com/extras/navajo/Day1 /
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FSogol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-14-11 12:00 PM
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1. K & R. n/t
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-14-11 12:37 PM
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2. Rec
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bahrbearian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-14-11 12:37 PM
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3. Most excellent post, thanks
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-14-11 12:49 PM
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4. K & R Thank you for that.
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Myrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-14-11 01:09 PM
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5. Fascinating! And deeper questions:
How would they know this unless they had previous knowledge of/experience with uranium's capabilities?
And how did they get that knowledge?

And then the rhetorical question: why does "modern society" insist that we are the pinnacle of all development and poo-poo civilizations/cultures who have come (and gone, in many cases) before us?


:shrug:
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abqmufc Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-14-11 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. My take...
Please under I am speaking from my experiences and what I've been taught not from any official source. Your questions can be answered in detail through some reading on the web or in books written.

Previous knowledge - Navajo, Hopi and most Pueblo cultures living in the Southwest talk of past existence. The Hopi emerged into this life through the reeds found where the Colorado and Little Colorado River confluence in the Grand Canyon (pictures of that place can be found on the web...amazing). So this is not the first life for them. Before this period they lived underground. The Navajo tell a similar story where a bird busted through the ground to give them light and they emerged out of the ground. But the key is they were alive under the ground. Ironically the Grand Canyon and the landscape around the mountains of the Colorado Plateau are filled with a massive cave system. So big that geologists have no clue how big the system really is. So it could be scientifically possible that their creation story could be true the cave system and underground water in the area is big enough that human life could survive.

Here is a starting point via the web....
"The Hopi, Zui, Keres, and Jemez Pueblo people account for their origins by emergence from underground (Kirchhoff 1954; see Pueblo Texts), The Tanoan-speaking Pueblos (except Jemez) believe in emergence from underwater. The Navajo believe in emergence from underground fleeing rising water (Zolbrod 1984; see Navajo Texts), and the Jicarilla Apache believe in emergence from underground in pursuit of light (Russell 1898; Goddard 1911; see Apache Texts).

In their cosmogonic* accounts, these people recognize that living creatures are born. Our progenitors are gendered and increase occurs through reproduction (Farella 1984). The Pueblo accounts note that the people were created here, in place, in the Southwest. The Navajo accounts have some people created in the Southwest and some created in California and migrating east to Dintah (Matthews 1883, Stephen 1930, Goddard 1933, Wheelwright 1942 Fishler 1953, O'Bryan 1956)."

http://drarchaeology.com/culthist/origins.htm

I don't know if they had previous experience (the Navajo) with uranium. I see it as their Creator gave them instructions of what to do in this lifetime (life on upper surface of the planet).

Also I note, since this isn't the first time Tribal citizens have lived, they then deal with the end. For Hopi they believe they are in the Fourth Cycle (the fourth cycle of their life) and about to enter the Fifth Cycle. Every other shift or change has occurred with no negative impact. But this time they are longer certain how things will go. The Hopi see their prophecies coming true as do the Navajo elders. It is too much to type here. I'd suggest reading Hotevilla - Hopi Shrine of the Covenant, Microcosm of the World. This book was written as the request of the Tribal Elders who live in the village of Hotevilla, Third Mesa. The book is essentially the Hopi story told by the elders. It is a pleas to all to wake up and stop the destruction.

Hope this helps some.



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bahrbearian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-14-11 02:28 PM
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7. Thanks
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Myrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-14-11 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. It most certainly does, thank you
:hug: Thanks for your research and for taking the time to share your info with us. :hi:
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