Nuclear Colonialism

Western Shoshone spiritual runner with Eagle Staff

Download HOME's pdf PowerPoint "Nuclear Colonialism"

"Colonialism" is a word derived from the name of Cristobal Colon, or Cristopher Columbus as he is better known today, an Italian exlorer working for the Spanish royalty who is credited with "discovering" the Americas. While seeking a passageway to India, he came to land in the Caribbean Islands, and within short order, was cutting the hands off local residents who were unable to bring him the gold he demanded. The definition of "colonialism" is "to take the natural resources, lands or labor of another people for one's own." 

"Nuclear Colonialism" was defined  in 1992 by Jennifer O. Viereck, HOME's Executive Director, as "the taking (or destruction) of other peoples' natural resources, lands, and wellbeing for one's own, in the furtherance of nuclear development". This is a concept that resonated widely, and the phrase was soon in regular use by sources as diverse as The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and Native American historian Ward Churchill. Given the nature of genetic mutation, in which we are seeing the third and fourth generation of Hiroshima victims and others showing more anomalies than the original exposed individuals, nuclear colonialism is a theft that lasts forever. 

Vast areas of the Earth are devastated from governments demonstrating their nuclear weapons to each other. All nuclear states also exhibited racism in choosing their test sites. See Joe (right), a Western Shoshone spiritual runner, carrying the Eagle Staff in an annual spring relay run around the perimeter of the Nevada Test Site, to pray for the land, life, and ancestral spirits within. 

France and England bombed North Africa, the South Pacific, and Australia. Russia mainly bombed Kazakhstan; China bombed the Ugyiur people near Tibet. The United States first bombed Apache country near Alamagordo, New Mexico, and then two cities in Japan, as well as the South Pacific islands, and Amchitka, Alaska. The U.S. (and England) blew up 1,021 bombs on Western Shoshone treaty lands in Nevada. At one point the U.S. considered bombing the Moon, to impress their might upon earthbound viewers.

Deadly intent on the part of the Atomic Energy Commission (the predessessor of the Dept. of Energy) is documented as well. A 1951 document about health concerns related to the Nevada Test Site referred to the downwind population, predominately Shoshone, Paiute and Mormon ranchers, as "a low-use segment of society". The AEC routinely warned the Eastman Kodak Co. of test dates so that they could protect film stocks from damage as far away as Rochester, New York, but not the local and downwind residents.