The battle to limit the expansion of a uranium mining operation near the Pine Ridge Reservation is entering the second stage after a three judge panel heard the testimony of several experts and petitioners including Joe American Horse and Oliver Red Cloud, direct descendants of the 19th century Sioux Chiefs and signers of the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty. That treaty deeded the Black Hills and more than half of the territory that today encompasses South Dakota and Nebraska and big portions of North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming to the Lakota people. To stay abreast of the latest developments in this battle please visit http://savecrowbutte.org
The Plenty Belize School Gardens Project (GATE) is in full swing. They recently held another teacher training in the garden behind the Plenty Belize Office in Punta Gorda. They have also been doing a number of solar energy installations around the Toledo District including schools and an Indigenous environmental organization.
We were saddened to learn of the untimely death at age 47 of our friend Andy Palacio, the truly great Garifuna musician who was born in the village of Barranco on the coast below Punta Gorda. Andy had just released one of his best albums, Watina, available from www.stonetreerecords.com.
In the Gulf we starting work on the house of Linda Audibert, 41-year-old widow and grandmother, who is caring for her two grandchildren (ages five and one) so her daughter, also widowed, can attend community college. Linda and the grandchildren are living in a gutted house in Arabi. Louisiana, which is in the St. Bernard Parish, adjacent to the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.Linda has lived in New Orleans for 18 years. She and her grandchildren evacuated to Texas right before Katrina but returned after 6 months when New Orleans was still “ like a war zone.” In August of 2006, one year after Katrina, they were given a FEMA trailer but within a month the trailer was moldy which Linda says was not uncommon. Shortly after moving in she was having numerous unexplained ailments such as headaches, dizzy spells and blurred vision, and recently discovered that these ailments were caused by formaldehyde in the materials (cabinets, floors, rugs) of the FEMA trailer. There were no warnings in the trailer about risks from the formaldehyde, as is required in mobile homes.
Meanwhile, Jim Selin has been continuing his one-man “books for kids” project and to date has delivered more than 8,000 children’s books to schools and families along the Gulf Coast. We’ll soon have an address of a depot in New Orleans where people can send children’s books for distribution. Please let us know if you have books you would like to send down.
Later this month the Plenty Board and Staff are holding a “Summit” at our headquarters on the Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. Plenty turns 34 this year and we want to do a little “revisioning” and retooling as we look at the rather extraordinary challenges facing life on this planet in the coming decades. We’re asking ourselves how Plenty can best contribute given our experience and resources. What should our priorities be? What new projects should we take on? What do we need to fix in the organization? What’s working well? These will be some of the topics.
As always we welcome any ideas or suggestions you may have. We’re in this together.-Peter SchweitzerExecutive Director