Fight against nuclear waste dump remembered at Ward Valley Spiritual Gathering
NEEDLES — The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe hosted the 21st annual Ward Valley Spiritual Gathering on Feb. 16.
FMIT, along with supporters from the other five tribes along the Colorado River and environmental activists and allies, gathered to commemorate a 113-day occupation that led to defeating a proposal for a nuclear waste dump at Ward Valley.
In addition to honoring the individuals and organizations for the hard work, courage and dedication they brought to the successful occupation, the event was also a remembrance filled with songs from the Fort Mojave Tribal Band, traditional Bird Singing and Dancing, a Spirit Run, tributes, recognition and a history of Ward Valley.
In 1998 the occupation of the proposed dump site by the five river tribes: the Fort Mojave, Chemehuevi, Quechan, Cocopah and Colorado River Indian Tribes; along with environmental activists, took place at the Ward Valley site to fight and stop the proposed dump.
The resistance efforts prevented law enforcement from the Bureau of Land Management from entering the site, effectively stopping any test drilling or development.
Protesting that the waste dump would have desecrated sacred land, the tribes and activists prevailed when the U.S. Department of the Interior rescinded an eviction notice and canceled the test drilling.
The Interior Department terminated all actions regarding the Ward Valley dump proposal on Nov. 2, 1999, ending the fight with victory for the tribes and activists.
Ward Valley is about 25 miles west of Needles along Interstate 40 at Water Road.