Cold War Patriots Hosts Town Hall Meetings for Uranium Workers in the Four Corners Region, June 5-6

– New format enables workers to get more customized information about government compensation & healthcare benefits they have earned –

Denver, Colo. (May 23, 2018) – Cold War Patriots (CWP), a community resource organization that is the nation’s strongest and most sustained voice advocating for worker benefits, will host free town hall meetings for nuclear weapons and uranium workers in the Four Corners Region on June 5 and 6 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. With a new format this year, CWP is making it easier for workers to get the specific information they need about the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) and the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).

The morning sessions, starting at 10 a.m., will be customized for people who have already applied for RECA or EEOICPA benefits and have either been awarded a U.S. Department of Labor white medical benefits card or have a pending claim. At the morning session, participants will learn:

  • How to file for medical expense reimbursement
  • How impairment ratings can get them more monetary compensation
  • Why they should add conditions to a claim
  • Why in-home care might be right for them

The 2 p.m. afternoon sessions are for workers who haven’t yet applied for their benefits or those who have applied but whose claims have been denied. No new information is available for post 1971 uranium miners at this time. The afternoon session participants will learn:

  • If they qualify for up to $400,000 in monetary compensation and free healthcare
  • How to apply for benefits
  • What benefits are included
  • How to reopen denied claims

“Our goal at CWP is to ensure the workers who helped keep America free by building the nation’s nuclear arsenal and are now suffering illness because of their sacrifice and service are connected with the monetary compensation and health benefits they have earned,” says Tim Lerew, CWP Chairperson. “By segmenting our presentations in this way, we can better help the workers with their individual situations, which can be overwhelming to navigate on their own.”

Lerew says anyone who worked at any nuclear weapons or uranium mining facility is invited to attend a presentation. Resources will be on hand to help workers understand the financial and medical benefits available to them – including home healthcare – and to guide them through the process of proving the connection between their workplace exposure and their illness.

Below are the meeting dates and locations. Refreshments will be offered.

Tuesday, June 5

Courtyard by Marriott Farmington

560 Scott Ave.

Farmington, NM

Wednesday, June 6

Phil Thomas Performing Arts Center

State Route 504

Shiprock, NM

The EEOICPA program is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and offers monetary compensation and healthcare benefits to workers who participated in the nuclear weapons program from 1942 until the present day and became sick because of radiation exposure or other toxic substances. Learn more at https://www.dol.gov/owcp/energy/.  The RECA program is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice and offers monetary compensation to persons in certain situations who were exposed to radiation exposure. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/civil/common/reca.

About Cold War Patriots (CWP)

Cold War Patriots (CWP) is a division of Professional Case Management (PCM), which provides specialized in-home healthcare services to nuclear weapons and uranium workers. CWP is a community resource and advocacy organization and the nation’s strongest and most sustained voice to advocate for worker benefits. CWP helps former nuclear weapons and uranium workers get the recognition, compensation and care they have earned. CWP, the first national organization to connect workers with benefits, does this work for free on behalf of its members. Visit www.coldwarpatriots.org or call 888-903-8989 for more information.

Media Contact:          

Shannon Porter, Cold War Patriots

media@coldwarpatriots.org | 888-903-8989

Kayenta Earth Week 2018

Kayenta Township designated this past week earth week, and I must say that the community of Kayenta pulled it off. Altogether the community of Kayenta gathered 60 Cubic Yards of Trash!

 

 

Trash was collected:

  • North of Laguna Creek Bridge on US Highway 163
  • Heading east out of Kayenta on US Highway 160
  • South on BIA Route N591
  • West of Kayenta on US Highway 160

 

 

 

 

 

I would like to thank the following organizations for helping out with this effort and making this possible for Kayenta.

  • Community Members of Kayenta
  • The Teachers of Kayenta Unified School District
  • Kayenta Township
  • ADOT
  • Kayenta Fire Department
  • Blue Coffee Pot
  • The Kayenta Chapter

JoDonna Hall- Ward proud owner of Blue Coffee Pot and a Kayenta Township Commissioner helped tremendously with her 40oz bottle recycling that she puts together every year.

 

 

Altogether with her efforts she was able to collect 23,033 40oz bottles. That translates to $1,151.65 of her own money that she put up to get rid of this eye sore in the community of Kayenta. The Kayenta Township is currently assisting with the hauling and disposal fees of these 40oz bottles in White Mesa, Utah with an additional estimated cost of $2000.00.

 

 

 

I truly believe we banned together as a community and made Kayenta better for our community members and visitors from all over the world. I sincerely hope that we all take pride in our community and take a sense of ownership of Kayenta that we call home. Thank you to all who came out and assisted with “Earth Week” here in Kayenta and making this week one for the books.

Ahehee!

Gabriel Yazzie – Kayenta Town Manager

 

Utah Diné Bikéyah cites creation narratives as further justification for protecting Bears Ears Triassic-Era phytosaur fossil resources

SALT LAKE CITY – Mark Maryboy, a board member for Utah Diné Bikéyah, says the recent discovery of phytosaur fossils in Bears Ears National Monument highlights another essential resource that is intimately tied to the Native wisdom, and in this case Navajo Creation narratives.

Kevin Madalena, a cultural resource coordinator for Utah Diné Bikéyah, adds that the Ancient Ones were aware of Triassic-era fossils, dinosaurs and the remains of other creatures like it, as indicated by historic Mammoth petroglyphs recorded at various ancestral Puebloan ruins.

These tribal connections around fossils and nearly every other natural resource at Bears Ears include stories, wisdom, and cultural teachings that we as tribal members have rarely shared with the public or the mainstream media. Utah Diné Bikéyah aims to show the benefits and legacy of Native oral history that showcases the diversity, intelligence and complexity of thought that these lessons hold. Dinosaurs and paleontology has shaped Southwestern Native American views of the world.

Recent media stories explained how the phytosaur and other creatures that lived in the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, are informing our scientific understanding of how “Mother Nature did experiments with life,” and called it one of the world’s richest collections of Triassic-era fossils. According to Rob Gay, the paleontologist with Colorado Canyons Association who discovered the fossil, the phytosaur closely resembles modern crocodiles and is part of the Chinle Formation.

In the Navajo creation stories, the phytosaur was most likely living during the Third World among other “Monsters.” The Third World, or Yellow World, is when the Hero Twins, deities in the Navajo universe, fought these monsters that wreaked havoc on Mother Earth’s many lifeforms. These Navajo “Hero Twins” made the world habitable by defeating most all of the monsters who roamed across DineTah (Navajo Territory), turned them into fossils and buried their blood and organs deep in the earth (some think this is oil, gas, uranium and other minerals that will wreak havoc again if dug up.) The physical evidence of these fossils that dot the landscape, combined with the life lessons of these teachings, shapes who Navajo people are today.

Some evidence of these notorious monsters still exists in Navajo territory, such as the huge bird that lived on Shiprock, a fossil bed in Red Mesa, Ariz., and dinosaur tracks near Tuba City, Ariz., all of which were killed by the Hero Twins and the weapons they secured from their father, the Sun.

“The monsters have been here since the First World,” explained Maryboy, who is also a Navajo cultural practitioner. “But, in the Third World, they became so big!”

Maryboy explained that the Hero Twins and other living beings in Third World had to listen to the universe and relied on astronomy for information to defeat these monsters. Such modern examples among Navajo people today are the use of star-gazers to help heal patients back into a harmonious state with nature, or Hozho.

During this primordial time, as the Hero Twins slayed these monsters, ceremonies, with guidance from Navajo deities, were created to protect and cleanse the spirit of the twins. This is where ceremonies like the Enemy Way emerged, Maryboy said, alluding to the association of how Navajo ceremonies were created to fight monsters, possibly like the phytosaur, before Navajos emerged as a people into the current, Glittering Fourth World, and continue to exercise these ceremonies today.

“A lot of what I am telling you is lost on the public. There are very few of us that know this knowledge,” Maryboy said, adding that the texts “Sharing the Skies: Navajo Astronomy” and “The Book of the Navajo” are sources that verify his claim. Yet, at the same time, every Navajo child is taught lessons derived from these teachings.

According to Madalena, the era in which the Tyrannosaurs lived and when humans emerged is determined by the Creator, or intellectual designer of the universe.

“Right now, it’s our turn to live. We were not meant to live during a T-Rex era,” explained Madalena, who is Jemez Pueblo and a trained paleontologist. “We have proof at the Bears Ears National Monument that ruins have Fremont Age 1 and Basketmaker II construction, with some of the kivas intentionally included Theropod fossils hauled from great distances and inserted as hearths or decorations in prominent locations in the home. Fossils are important to who we are.”

“We know that old Puebloans drew mammoths being hunted. They knew of the larger animals long after they existed. The depictions in petroglyphs come close to what we see in the modern dinosaurs at collections in museums.”

Madalena added the phytosaur discovery is an important piece of data and could help us understand climate change, particularly when the U.S. military has recently asked paleontologists and geologists about how to prepare for climatic threats. Similar threats to what we are experiencing today may have caused mass extinctions during other time periods.

“All that data is irreplaceable,” he said, referring to how the Trump Administration’s recent approval for Energy Fuels, Inc. to begin mining at the Danero’s Mine further disrupts tribal connections to Bears Ears.

Madalena previously worked with Gay as a member of the Bureau of Land Management and collaborated with Adrienne Mayor on “Fossil Legends of the First Americans.”

“As earth historians, we need to look at the data on earth before humans were here,” added Madalena. “That’s why it’s absolutely imperative that we protect Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. You cannot use an algorithm to construct environmental models out of thin air. The extraction of energy resources should always be weighed against the values that may be destroyed in the process, and in the case of Bears Ears Native wisdom should be given a chance to teach us what we know.”

LEGISLATIVE ALERT: H.B. 2003 coal mining; TPT; repeal

On Tuesday, Mar. 6, H.B. 2003 coal mining; TPT; repeal was assigned to the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Rules Committee, respectively. Previously, the bill passed out of the House of Representatives last Thursday, Mar. 1, and was transmitted to the Senate on Monday, Mar. 5. H.B. 2003 is sponsored by Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Dist. 11; Casa Grande, Eloy, Marana, Maricopa, Oro Valley, Tucson. The bill is on the agenda and scheduled to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee next Wednesday, Mar. 14 at 9 a.m. MST.

This legislative alert seeks to inform LD-7 constituents of this bill and its potential impacts district-wide. The office of Sen. Peshlakai encourages district and state residents’ input and feedback through the legislature’s ‘Request To Speak’ system. 

Attached is the committee agenda, a House bill summary, and a fiscal note for your review. You may review the full bill and additional details online at www.azleg.gov.

 

Native American Tribes Remain Opposed to H.R. 4532 at its Second Hearing

Washington, D.C. (January 30, 2018) – Leaders of the five Tribes defending Bears Ears National Monument are disturbed by Representative John Curtis’ (R, Utah) continued defense of his bill (H.R. 4532) to legislatively confirm the President’s unlawful action rescinding and replacing the monument.

H.R. 4532, the “Shash Jáa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act,” is an attack on our sovereignty, it conflicts with the United States’ policy of tribal self-determination, and violates the Federal Government’s treaty, trust and government-to-government relationship with our federally recognized tribes. The bill would also all but eliminate our tribal voice by creating a management council that is dominated by the same state and local interests who have repeatedly called for the elimination of Bears Ears National Monument.

At the request of Democratic Committee members, H.R. 4532 today was the subject of an unusual continuation of January 9th’s hearing in the Subcommittee on Federal Lands of the House Committee on Natural Resources. The request to continue the hearing today was made when only one tribal representative was allowed by the majority to testify at the bill’s first hearing. Today, official representatives of the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and the Pueblo of Zuni all delivered testimony.  The full testimonies of the five tribes from today’s hearing may be downloaded here.

“This is not a bill designed to help protect the lands for the tribes,” said Navajo Nation Council Delegate Davis Filfred. “It is a bill that provides near-exclusive control of these federal lands in the state and local counties’ hands, and gives only lip service to tribal interests.”

“Chairman Bishop and Congressman Curtis, as well as other supporters of H.R. 4532, continually make misleading and false claims that they are supporting ‘local tribe’ or empowering the voices of ‘local tribes,’” said Tony Small, Vice Chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee. “The ‘local tribes’ Chairman Bishop and Congressman Curtis are referring to are individual tribal members cherry picked by the Congressmen for their support of H.R. 4532, and this bill is an attempt disrupt and undermine tribal governments by negotiating with individual tribal members.”

Clark Tenakhongva, Vice-Chairman of the Hopi Tribe said: “The Hopi Tribe objects to being excluded from authority under H.R. 4532. We reject any assertion that the Hopi Tribe does not belong at Bears Ears. Our clans have long, close, and spiritual connections to these sacred lands and they must be protected. We appreciate the support of numerous other tribes, Members of Congress, and the public to protect Bears Ears National Monument. We oppose H.R. 4532 and support bills that would realize our tribes’ vision for Bears Ears – Representative Gallego’s Bears Ears National Monument Expansion Act and Senator Udall’s ANTIQUITIES Act of 2018.”

Carleton Bowekaty, Pueblo of Zuni Councilman said: “In contrast to the Obama Proclamation’s respect for the tribes’ historic and strong connections to Bears Ears, and the balance it provides to ensure that other interested parties have a voice in management issues, H.R. 4532 contains what we view as a radical provision giving local politicians effective control of management and use decisions.”

“Representative Curtis’ bill retains the same failing as the Trump proclamation: it does not protect the landscape in a way that is meaningful and lasting, and it fragments and disconnects the Bears Ears cultural landscape,” said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. “For the bill to claim that it creates ‘the first tribally managed national monument,’ is an affront to tribal sovereignty and an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has actually read the bill.”

Bears Ears has been home to Hopi, Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni people since time immemorial. Bears Ears National Monument was designated in 2016 to protect countless archeological, cultural, and natural resources. Without appropriate protection, American citizens and the world would lose the opportunity to enjoy one of the most remote and wondrous landscapes found anywhere. The monument is also a celebration of tribal voices, cultures, and sacred sites, all containing timeless volumes of tribal knowledge that our tribes intend to foster and share to promote well-being in our tribal communities, southeastern Utah, and the United States.

Tribes Respond To Trump’s Evisceration Of Bears Ears National Monument

Elected officials from the Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe hosted a press conference to respond to President Trump’s elimination of 85% of Bears Ears National Monument. This action is an attack on Native American people, culture, history, and tribal sovereignty and may result in opening up 2 million acres to mining interests.The Tribes have already filed suit today to challenge the President’s assault on our public lands. Utah Diné Bikéyah along with other organizations is also prepared to back the Tribes. Tribal Commission input was reduced on 94% of the land, while protection was removed from 85% of the land. This is an unprecedented executive action to undermine Bears Ears National Monument.

Speakers included: Jonathan Nez, Vice President, Navajo Nation, Harold Cuthair, Chairman, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Shaun Chapoose, Council Member, Ute Indian Tribe, Davis Filfred, Council Delegate, Navajo Nation, and Ethel B. Branch, Attorney General, Navajo Nation.

Full Facebook livestream can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/protectbearsears/videos/1480156805435408/

Shaun Chapoose, Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee Member stated, “If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they are going to get. They declared war on us today. When it’s all said and done, just remember this didn’t have to happen. You (the Utah Delegation) could have honored our request to protect our heritage.”

Willie Grayeyes, Chairman of Utah Diné Bikéyah said, “Bears Ears National Monument was created to safeguard the history of five Native American Tribes and to protect their ongoing cultural uses of the land. This is a landscape that has been mined, looted and desecrated for 150 years and today, President Trump opened 85% of the land back up to these abuses. The current administration is playing politics with our native heritage, without even having the courage to look us in the eye. We have no other choice but to seek legal remedies against this illegal action, to listen to our people, and to restore hope in a future that is inclusive of Native American rights and interests on the land.”

Ethel Branch, Attorney General of the Navajo Nation stated, “What we saw today is a tremendous affront to tribal sovereignty and it is a tremendous overreach of executive authority. We intend to hold the president accountable for his actions in federal court.”

Photos available for royalty-free media use are available:

Places cut from leaked Bears Ears boundaries: https://goo.gl/L8t5HT

People can support the legal defense of Bears Ears National Monument by donating to:

http://utahdinebikeyah.org/defend-bears-ears/

 

Interior Executes Water Rights Settlement Agreement with Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Mark Macarro, Chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians today signed the Pechanga Water Rights Settlement Agreement (Agreement), formally executing a Congressionally authorized pact that protects the Pechanga Band’s access to groundwater in the region and provides the tribe with more than $30 million in federal funding to pay for water storage projects.

The Agreement quantifies the water rights claims for the Pechanga Band in Southern California’s Temecula Valley, which had been pending in an adjudication dating back to the 1950s; resolves potential liability for both the United States and other parties; and establishes a cooperative and efficient water management regime involving Pechanga and local agencies.

“The Federal Government has a critical responsibility to uphold our trust responsibilities, especially Tribal water rights,” Secretary Zinke said. “This is why we are continuing to work on Indian Water Settlements with Tribes, States, and all water users to ensure there is certainty for all and an opportunity for economic development in local communities. As a former State Senator and Congressman who helped usher the Blackfeet compact through to fruition, I understand all too well the hard work and enormous struggle that goes into making these important water rights settlements possible. I congratulate all of you for your perseverance, dedication, and commitment to making this settlements happen.”

“The Pechanga Band has tirelessly pursued the quantification of its water rights and, through negotiations, engaged its neighbors in a multiyear process of building mutual trust and understanding,” said Pechanga Chairman Macarro. “Generations of tribal leaders have fought from the courts to Capitol Hill to protect this vital resource for future generations. This settlement agreement benefits all of the parties by securing adequate water supplies for the Pechanga Band and its members and encouraging cooperative water resources management among all of the parties.”

Zinke commended the congressional sponsors of the Settlement Act legislation, saying they “fought to bring these settlements across the finish line.” The agreement – introduced by Rep. Ken Calvert, (R-Corona) – settles competing claims involving the Rancho California Water District and the Eastern Municipal Water District, which both draw from the large aquifer in the region that stretches 750 square miles from Southwest Riverside County to north San Diego County .

“For the tribe, local community, and the many federal employees who have contributed to these settlements, seeing these agreements signed is the culmination of years of dedication and hard work. I think we all recognize that this is just the start of the journey towards settlement finality,” Zinke said.

“The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, as well as all of the parties to this settlement, deserve to have some certainty on the future of their water supply,” Rep. Calvert said. “I’m grateful we have been able to enact the settlement and ensure all of the stakeholders in the Santa Margarita River Watershed can better shape their future.”

Interior is in the initial stages of implementing the Settlement Act, which was enacted as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (P.L. 114-322) in 2016. The Departments of Justice and Interior have an established protocol for processing settlement agreements for execution.

The Act and Agreement establishes the Pechanga Settlement Fund and authorizes the appropriation of about $3 million to be deposited into the fund to construct a storage pond. The legislation also authorizes the appropriation of about $26 million, with about $4 million in construction overrun costs, to build interim and permanent capacity for water storage, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Also attending today’s event were Pechanga Council Members, including Catalina R. Chacon; Robert Munoa; Russell Murphy; Marc Luker; Raymond Basquez Jr. and Michael Vasquez. Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhard and Associate Deputy Secretary Jim Cason also joined the ceremony.

Water resources and management of scare water supplies are central concerns in the Western states. Additionally, in many parts of the West, water resources are now either fully appropriated or over-appropriated. These situations underscore the need for cooperative management of water supplies, and highlight the important role that Indian water rights settlements can play in the West.

Secretary Zinke Advises Trump to Leave a Legacy of Broken Promises with Tribes

Native American communities in San Juan County, Utah, feel shut out of the process they have worked in good faith with now that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has issued an insensitive report recommending reducing Bears Ears National Monument. In his final report to President Trump, called the National Monuments “review,” he has silenced the voices of Native Americans in Utah and across the country by dismissing our deep ties to the Bears Ears landscape. Even though Americans emphatically support National Monuments, Secretary Zinke seems to unfairly discount the concerns of NGO’s without a basis for doing so. Astoundingly, he ignored the 2.6 million American voices, 98% of whom commented in favor of protecting national monuments.

If Secretary Zinke had met with “local stakeholders,” he would have learned that Navajo and Ute residents (who are the county majority) have been greatly impacted by uranium and oil and gas pollution since the 1930’s which is in part why we worked so hard to protect our traditional cultural uses and sacred sites. Even as he recommends exclusions, he does not comment on the future roles of the grazing, timber, fishing and mining industries. Furthermore, by eliminating protections for everything outside any new boundary, Secretary Zinke failed to explain how these important traditional cultural resources and uses can still be preserved.

In fact, five out of seven Utah Navajo Chapter Houses as well as Secretary Zinke’s adopted Tribe in Montana, the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, all passed resolutions defending Bears Ears this past month. Among Native American residents living adjacent to Bears Ears, 97% of these Chapter members voted in favor of leaving Bears Ears alone, and not a single Tribe in the entire United States has stepped forward to ask the Secretary to shrink or eliminate Bears Ears National Monument. We now understand why this report, which is an insult to Tribes, was held so tightly by this administration.

“Any and all recommendations by Secretary Zinke regarding Bears Ears National Monument are fundamentally flawed because the Secretary failed to take the time to meet with and listen to local Native Americans, despite numerous invitations. Tribal people, whose ancestors have dwelled in and around Bears Ears for millennia, are keepers of traditional knowledge. We have a vision for our future that includes both land protection and building a sustainable economy for our children and grandchildren. It is frustrating that the State of Utah and the U.S. Department of Interior refuse to include us in policy making.”   Willie Grayeyes, Board Chairman, Utah Diné Bikéyah

 

Arizona’s bald eagles expand breeding sites in 2017

PHOENIX — Arizona’s bald eagle population continues to soar as the number of breeding areas expanded statewide and a record 82 young hatched during the 2017 breeding season, according to an annual Arizona Game and Fish Department survey.
While the number of hatchlings rose from the previous high of 79 in 2016, the number of young that actually fledged dipped slightly to 63 birds that made the important milestone of their first flight. In Arizona, at least 95 eggs were laid, which was slightly less than the 97 laid in 2016, and a record 85 breeding areas were identified, including two new areas.
“We continue to see phenomenal growth of Arizona’s bald eagle population,” said Kenneth Jacobson, AZGFD bald eagle management coordinator. “An increase in breeding areas and increasing numbers of hatchlings is a testament to the resiliency of these magnificent animals and our ongoing efforts to help recover bald eagles in Arizona.”
Arizona’s bald eagle populations have flourished since 1978, when 11 pairs were counted within the state and the species was listed as endangered. Today there are an estimated 67 adult breeding pairs.
Bald eagles in Arizona were removed from the federal Endangered Species Act in 2011. The department’s conservation efforts contributed to the species recovery. Nationally, the birds remain protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The impressive growth of the population is attributed to the continued efforts of the Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee – a coalition of AZGFD and 25 other government agencies, private organizations and Native American tribes – and its years of cooperative conservation efforts, including extensive monitoring by the nationally-awarded Bald Eagle Nestwatch Program.
The breeding season for bald eagles in Arizona runs from December through June, although eagle pairs at higher elevations nest later than those in the rest of the state.
Continued support from the committee, State Wildlife Grants and the Heritage Fund (Arizona Lottery ticket sales), will help ensure that Arizona’s bald eagles continue to thrive.