The Indigenous World Under a Nuclear Cloud

Aerial view of the aftermath of the first nuclear bomb, code-named Trinity, tested in Mescalero Apache territory at Alamogordo, New Mexico, 28 hours after the explosion.Aerial view of the aftermath of the first nuclear bomb, code-named Trinity, tested in Mescalero Apache territory at Alamogordo, New Mexico, 28 hours after the explosion. (Photo: US Gov.)

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Millions of indigenous peoples living in Fourth World territories around the world have been and continue to be exposed to nuclear radiation and toxic chemicals. The United States of America, France, Britain, Russia, China, Israel, Britain, Pakistan, India, and North Korea produce these toxic materials. Other countries with electricity-producing nuclear reactors also contribute to radioactive waste. Nuclear bomb detonations, radioactive waste storage sites and toxic chemical dumps have contaminated the soils, water, air, plants, animals and people for more than 70 years. In their wake they leave intergenerational health and cultural damage to Fourth World peoples rarely noticed by the public eye.

The story of this generational disaster begins with the US government’s secret Manhattan Project when in 1943-45 the first nuclear bomb code-named Trinitywas developed and tested in Mescalero Apache territory at Alamogordo, New Mexico. After dropping a bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945 the United States constructed what became the most radioactively contaminated site in the world at Hanford, Washington. Hanford plutonium reactors were constructed in the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama territory. In 1950 the Midnite Uranium Mine was opened on the Spokane Indian Reservation; the neighboring Fourth World nations (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Nez Perce, Umatilla and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation) bound to them by the mining project’s radioactive reach.

The First Nuclear Cloud

The United States did not seek public opinions or debate about government plans to create the world’s…

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