indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Indian Country presses Supreme Court to hear labor law dispute (5/31)
Another week goes by without decision in tribal jurisdiction case (5/31)
Field hearing in South Dakota on Indian Health Service reform bill (5/31)
Indian Health Service reaches first tribal compact in Great Plains (5/31)
Supreme Court won't hear long-running Seneca Nation land case (5/31)
Native Sun News: Longtime Indian Health Service staff reassigned (5/31)
Lakota Country Times: Native newspaper brings home 14 awards (5/31)
Delphine Red Shirt: Our language doesn't need 'expert' approval (5/31)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne show love for commod cheese (5/31)
Editorial: Newspaper continues to grow and reach Native readers (5/31)
Mary Annette Pember: Rosebud Sioux Tribe battles meth epidemic (5/31)
Ruth Hopkins: Elizabeth Warren is counting coup on Donald Trump (5/31)
Debra Haaland: Donald Trump mocks Native people and our history (5/31)
Harlan McKosato: Let's conduct new poll on the racist NFL mascot (5/31)
Raymond Foxworth: Tribal opposition to racist names still matters (5/31)
Steven Newcomb: Original nations pushed to accept lower status (5/31)
Mike Myers: Roadblocks to true self-governance in Indian Country (5/31)
Carly McIntosh: A real live study on the use of medical marijuana (5/31)
Young member of Coushatta Tribe dies after bee attack in Arizona (5/31)
Washoe Tribe and Poarch Band celebrate opening of unique casino (5/31)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe not worried about anti-casino lawsuit (5/31)
Ak-Chin Indian Community reacts to measles exposure at casino (5/31)
First Lady Michelle Obama shares story of hope with Indian school (5/26)
Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Santa Fe Indian School (5/26)
Gary Davis of NCAIED joins Small Business Administration council (5/26)
Arne Vainio: A mother's gift carried me through many life journeys (5/26)
Native Sun News: Tribes score big in fights against energy projects (5/26)
Lakota Country Times: Education Secretary hears from Pine Ridge (5/26)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ending Whiteclay beer sales starts at home (5/26)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux youth lead efforts to bring relatives home (5/26)
Gyasi Ross: Drug epidemic sweeping through Native communities (5/26)
Jacqueline Keeler: Shameful and skewed poll on racist NFL name (5/26)
Interview with Melvin Monette about Cobell scholarship program (5/26)
Auction house in France won't stop sale of sacred tribal property (5/26)
United Keetoowah Band installs new leader after impeachment (5/26)
Kewa Pueblo builds new community around historic trading post (5/26)
Eastern Cherokee elder translates 'Charlotte's Web' into Tsalagi (5/26)
Puyallup Tribe works to keep language alive for new generations (5/26)
Iowa Tribe offers free play on poker website ahead of full launch (5/26)
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe offers gaming options closer to home (5/26)
Kaw Nation receives national award for tribal gaming initiatives (5/26)
Indian Health Service reform efforts gaining steam on Capitol Hill (5/25)
Indian Health Service announces more hires at troubled hospital (5/25)
Keepseagle attorneys open application process for $38M in grants (5/25)
Three tribes enter cooperative agreements for buy-back program (5/25)
New leader selected for HUD's Office of Native American Programs (5/25)
Indian relay racers gear up for event hosted by Muckleshoot Tribe (5/25)
Cronkite News: Tribes seek return of property up for sale in France (5/25)
Native Sun News: Anti-suicide effort incorporates tribal traditions (5/25)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge youth showcase film projects (5/25)
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.