Trip to Shell Bluff with Diné Advocates

Leona Morgan and Annie Laura Howard Stephens at the Savannah River in Shell Bluff
On the eve of Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un, Georgia WAND had its own historical event about denuclearizing the U.S. The day after speaking on the Mother’s Day for Peace panel, Denise Brown from the Diné community in New Mexico, and her mentor Leona Morgan joined up with Annie Laura Howard Stephens and Becky Rafter for a tour of Shell Bluff. Annie Laura was struck by the importance and historical nature of the trip, noting that indigenous folks had passed on the critical information not to build a nuclear power plant in Shell Bluff because it’s sited on a Faultline. The crew met with a local minister, who swapped feelings with Morgan and Brown about people coming into your community and doing whatever they want with it. They connected over this and their shared commitment to protecting the land and people.
Morgan and Brown are involved with the Nuclear Issues Study Group New Mexico. Brown wrote her master’s thesis on Shell Bluff; Morgan founded Diné No Nukes and has overseen a community-based radiological environmental monitoring effort. They refer to the nuclear fuel cycle (uranium mining, uranium milling, enrichment, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and nuclear waste) as the “nuclear beast.” Georgia WAND has been in conversation with Morgan since 2013 about setting up an exchange program for youth in the Navajo and Shell Bluff communities. Last year, Deputy Director Lindsay Harper gave a presentation in Albuquerque, and Morgan and Brown have now come to Georgia. We’re getting closer to developing a youth exchange program. Annie Laura, a community elder who grew up on the land now owned by Georgia Power, talked about the “historical” meeting of our three different racial and ethnic groups and the opportunities that lie ahead for strategic alignment and shared struggle.
For more information contact Lindsay Harper at lindsay@georgiawand.org.