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Citizens’ Inquiry on the Impacts of the Uranium Cycle
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A Spoken Word Piece

by Maya Thau-Eleff

Introduction: This is a piece of spoken word I have written concerning uranium exploration in eastern Ontario, and recently, North of Kingston, particularly in un-ceded Aboriginal lands, and privately owned property. This poem speaks for itself, with the possible exception of references made to singers Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon and Graham Nash Ė these are references to the MUSE concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future, particularly the first No Nukes concert in 1979. These musiciansí struggles against nuclear energy and mining practices persist today, and there are still MUSE concerts going on today in the United States. This is a piece not only about what I know, but what I feel.

I do NOT want
My children splashing their feet in uranium laced water
I do NOT want tainted carrots pulled from the earth,
Miles downstream from your open pit mine
Wild rice scattered on a toxic shoreline

My fellow brothers and sisters, Natives and settlers,

Will wearily pack up their history
Leave the bones of their ancestors to lie
Next to uranium that will outlive their fragile skeletons by millennia

I do NOT want Bonnie Raitt to keep booking one more concert,
One more benefit,
Her blue eyes filling with tears of rage
For twenty-nine years, she has sung against nuclear energy,
Sung against the poison, the devastation, the practices of companies like
Frontenac Ventures

Twenty nine years ago, Carly Simon and Graham Nash took that same stage and said ďthe times they are a changiníĒ for the WORSE
And they still are
But itís time they change for the better

How can I open your eyes to the struggle
My mentor behind bars because he puts our land first
What can I say to persuade you
That money canít buy you new water, new earth

I want children who can eat and drink from our land,
Who donít have to suffer from:
birth defects
Liver failure
Lung cancer
From the uranium, from the tailings,
From the water, from the air
I do not want you to tear up the trees,
Dig up the land,
Drill into the earth.
It is not your right to
terrorize the holy ground of our Algonquin brothers and sisters
It is NOT your land to drill

Itís time that our government stopped breaking the law,
Stopped pretending that weíre so goddamn perfect,
That we donít have colonial skeletons in our closet,

This isnít like environmental racism. It is environmental racism.
Itís time we all started respecting our mothers.
It is Mother Earth who provides us water,
And it is womenís work to protect it.

Native culture lets the women speak.
So I am here to say, it is the governmentís job to listen.
It is every womanís job to protect the water.
So here I lie, prostrate on the riverbank,
Tears dropping into the watershed,
Telling you, I am here to protect the water.
And Iím
not
going
anywhere.