American Indians, black hills, Cheyenne River, cultural sites, Dewey Burdock, EPA, First Nations, German nuclear waste, Great Sioux Nation, Great Sioux Reservation, indigenous people, Lakota, Minnesota, Mississippi River, NAS cancer study, NRC, nuclear power plant, Oglala Sioux, Powertech, Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Facility, risk, Santee, Santee Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Stop Powertech, water
“Traditional location of Sioux tribes prior to 1770 (dark green) and their current reservations (orange)”, via Wikipedia
“Great Sioux Reservation”
In South Dakota, current and historic lands, cultural sites and water of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) are at risk due to the proposed Powertech Dewey-Burdock uranium mine. There is an NRC meeting next week. Their relatives further east, in Minnesota (called Santee Dakota), have to deal with an operating nuclear power plant and the waste, within 600 yards of their homes (a yard is a little less than a meter).
The Santee were chased from South Carolina, home to the Savannah River site, where Germany wants to dump high level nuclear waste. The Prairie Island Indian Community, a Mdewakanton (Santee Dakota) Sioux Indian Reservation submitted its concerns and comments to the US EPA regarding how much nuclear facilities should be allowed to leak, as found further down. But, first, who are these people sitting on the upper Mississippi River in the midst of a nuclear power plant and waste?
The “Mdewakanton, Mdewakantonwan … are one of the sub-tribes of the Isanti (Santee) Dakota (Sioux). Their historic home is Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota, which in the Dakota language was called Mde wakan (mystic/spiritual lake). Together with the Wahpekute (Waȟpékhute – “Shooters Among the Trees”), they form the so-called Upper Council of the Dakota or Santee Sioux (Isáŋyáthi – “Knife Makers”)… Their Siouan-speaking ancestors had migrated to the upper Midwest from the area of South Carolina in the present-day United States; colonists named the Santee River in present-day South Carolina after them. Over the years they migrated up through present-day Ohio and into Wisconsin. Facing competition from the Chippewa and other eastern Native American tribes, the Santee moved further west into present-day Minnesota…. Seven Sioux tribes formed an alliance, which they called Oceti Sakowin or Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (“The Seven Council Fires”), consisting of the four tribes of the Dakota (Eastern Dakota), two tribes of the Nakota (Middle Dakota) as well as the largest group, the Lakota (often referred to as Teton, derived from Thítȟuŋwaŋ – “Dwellers of the Plains”). Until the Dakota War of 1862 in Minnesota, the Mdewakanton were the leading tribe of Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. As a consequence of their defeat by the United States and heavy losses in warriors in 1862, they lost their leading position within the Council Fires to the more numerous and powerful Oglala Lakota.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mdewakanton (Emphasis added). So, those living with the nuclear power plant and waste lost their leading position to the ones who are in danger from historic and proposed uranium mining.
Specifically, “Prairie Island Indian Community (Dakota: Tinta Winta) is a Mdewakanton Sioux Indian reservation in Goodhue County, Minnesota, along the Mississippi River, in and around the city of Red Wing. It was created in 1889, with boundaries modified after that time. Much of the reservation land was lost following construction of Lock and Dam No. 3 along the river by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to improve navigation. Later, the Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant was built nearby. The community has grabbed headlines because of the decision to store radioactive waste in above-ground steel casks. The main reservation lies within the city of Red Wing, but there are off-reservation trust lands both within Red Wing and in Welch Township in northern Goodhue County, as well as in Ravenna Township in eastern Dakota County which nearly doubles the size of the reservation’s territory. The reservation had 199 residents as of the 2000 census, including its trust lands. Its total land area is 1.6689 sq mi (4.3225 km², or 1,068.1 acres). The tribe operates Treasure Island Resort & Casino near the Mississippi River north of Red Wing.” (Emphasis added) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie_Island_Indian_Community
The Prairie Island Community web site points out that the nuclear power plant and the nuclear waste are not only in close proximity to member homes, but are in the Mississippi River flood plain. They are located near the headwaters of the Mississippi, which flows north to south across the entire United States until it reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
Original Public Comment to the EPA may be found here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0689
NB: Purple and red underline; yellow highlight not in original; added by us.
We also put black over the phone number, as it was meant for the EPA, although it is in the public record.