indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Charmaine White Face: Deadly dose of uranium for soldiers

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: charmaine white face, military, south dakota, uranium
   

There is a situation brewing in western South Dakota that has quite a few people concerned about the safety of soldiers in the SD Army National Guard. It’s not that they will be going overseas to fight. Rather, it is that they are in danger right here at home, and the powers that be do not seem to care.

The SD National Guard plans on going into the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands between Highway 44 and Highway 40 in an area that contains naturally occurring uranium. No, this uranium is not deep in the ground, but at or very near the surface and the radiation levels are high.

SD National Guard Captain Ed Cromwell offered to go into the area to get radiation readings after hearing our concerns. Defenders of the Black Hills has been going around western South Dakota checking abandoned open pit uranium mines for years. We have been in areas with levels that are four times higher than Fukushima, Japan. We work with a Nuclear Physics professor from the University of Michigan regarding our findings, as well as Professor Hannon LaGarry, Ph. D. in Geology, the head of the Math and Science Department at Oglala Lakota College.

The levels Capt. Cromwell was reading were in milliRems per hour, while our calibrator works with the much smaller microRems per hour. So when his highest reading was 0.25 milliRems per hour, he wasn’t that concerned. However, that was 250 microRems per hour in our calculations and rather high. When you consider that an x-ray is the equilivant of 15 microRems per hour, and you’re only exposed for a second, then 250 microRems per hour is alarming.

Now, the reason for the concern for the South Dakota soldiers is because they will be in those areas for 24 hours per day for a month at least; sleeping, eating, working, breathing in the dust. When you do the math, they will be exposed to 180,000 microRems in that month, or the equivalent of 12,000 x-rays. That’s a lot of nuclear radioactivity which can cause cancer and change their DNA.

We let the SD National Guard and the Nebraska National Forest know of our concerns last summer when they were doing their Environmental Assessment. They said they would put water on the roads to hold down the dust. Radioactivity will not be held down by water. If that was so, there would be little concern about radioactivity any place in the world.

As the Governor is the Commander in Chief of the SD National Guard, we gathered hundreds of signatures on petitions to give to him to show the peoples’ concern for the soldiers. But his scheduler would never allow us the opportunity to meet with Governor Daugaard to present our concerns. She also wouldn’t allow Tom Emmanuel, the Executive Director of South Dakota Peace and Justice, an opportunity to speak with the Governor about this issue either.

Finally, an email was sent to the Governor. He responded in a letter and said we could present our concerns in the Environmental Assessment. Either someone isn’t telling the Governor that the Environmental Assessment is done, or the Governor is of the same opinion that 180,000 microRems of radioactivity will not harm South Dakota soldiers.

Someone needs to warn the soldiers. When alpha radiation enters the body, in this case, through the dust, it doesn’t leave the body, it continues to accumulate. It can enter by breathing. It can enter through the mouth, the eyes, the ears, or a small cut or crack in the skin. It can land on a canteen and be swallowed in the water. But there is not just alpha radiation in this area. The 13 decay products of the naturally occurring uranium are 85% more radioactive with beta and gamma radiation as well.

Just because I’m an Indian woman doesn’t mean this is an Indian issue. This is a human being issue, and we are concerned for all the soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard.

If the Governor doesn’t believe the concerns of Defenders of the Black Hills and the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center, then he should have a study done by an independent source regarding the radioactive levels in that area using microRems per hour before soldiers are allowed to go into that area. He should also find out what prolonged exposure to low doses of radioactivity will do to human beings. He will find that doctors and scientists all over the world are saying, “No dose is safe.”

Charmaine White Face (65) is the Coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills, an all-volunteer environmental organization. She is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and received her degree with a double major in Physical Science and Biology from Black Hills State University. She is an organizer, writer and former teacher. She can be reached at bhdefenders@msn.com


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Deaths of Native men in Rapid City remain unsolved (10/20)
Charles 'Chuck' Trimble: Let Crazy Horse's spirit rest in peace (10/20)
Mark Trahant: Races come down to turnout in three key states (10/20)
Native Sun News: Billy Mills wows youth at Black Hills Powwow (10/20)
Cedric Sunray: Tribes abandon traditional aspects of inclusion (10/20)
Dustina Gill: Vote for Rick Weiland to protect our sacred waters (10/20)
Ousted Project Runway contestant reaffirms Puyallup heritage (10/20)
White House Tribal Nations Conference takes place December 3 (10/20)
Bryan Brewer: Park helps Oglala Sioux Tribe protect its culture (10/20)
Robert Porter: Don't let tribal issues fall prey to partisan politics (10/20)
Gabe Galanda: Abramoff's playbook still used in Indian Country (10/20)
Jay Daniels: Let BIA make changes to rights-of-way regulation (10/20)
Mike McBride: Sovereign goodwill at a low in tribal tax dispute (10/20)
Top Navajo Nation court holds hearing in presidential dispute (10/20)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to open resort at ancestral site in Ohio (10/20)
Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas selects Lester Randall as new leader (10/20)
Editorial: Address safety concerns about tribal hunts at night (10/20)
Chukchansi Tribe sends layoff notices to most casino workers (10/20)
Rivals raise nearly $16M to block North Fork Rancheria casino (10/20)
Judge won't let BIA proceed with compact for Pojoaque Pueblo (10/20)
Candidates discuss Menominee Nation's off-reservation casino (10/20)
Opinion: Suckers help Chumash Tribe finance casino expansion (10/20)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe buckles to pressure on park (10/17)
Mark Trahant: Native vote could tip races in Idaho and Colorado (10/17)
Crystal Willcuts: Remembering the beauty that was my mother (10/17)
Blackfeet actress Misty Upham found dead after going missing (10/17)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation sues city over detachment petition (10/17)
Opinion: Politicians relying on Native voters in a close election (10/17)
Poarch Creeks donate another $500K to Democratic candidate (10/17)
Montana to transfer bison from Yellowstone to Fort Peck Tribes (10/17)
Opinion: Listen to Native Americans who oppose racist mascots (10/17)
Charges possible in dispute at Chukchansi Tribe's closed casino (10/17)
Oglala Sioux Tribe might open third casino under new compact (10/17)
Women dominate workforce at Northern Arapaho Tribe's casino (10/17)
Ho-Chunk Nation to shut down poker room after losing lawsuit (10/17)
Blog: What to know about Prop 48 and off-reservation gaming (10/17)
Native Sun News: Native vote plays key role in Senate matchup (10/16)
Dean Chavers: Calling out Ward Churchill and other wannabes (10/16)
Glenn Morris: A sorry spectacle at UN indigenous peoples meet (10/16)
Crosscut to present special award to late activist Billy Frank Jr. (10/16)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.