On Seneca Nation at Cattaraugus

Agnes Williams, wolf clan
(She brings plants)
is an American Indian Movement activist and Water Protector who has been organizing walks to demand the complete cleanup of the decommissioned West Valley nuclear waste reprocessing facility a dozen miles or so from the Nation’s eastern boundaries. Radioactive waste reprocessing failed utterly at West Valley. Ground water was contaminated with radioactive isotopes decades ago – and these fiendish toxins (some with half lived of tens of thousands of years) leached into Cattaraugus Creek
which flows through the center of the Nation a few hundred yards from Agnes’ house. The State of New York built brick walls at the Lake Erie mouth of the Creek to shunt the polluted waters from the creek toward the Seneca Nation’s beach.
Cancer cases are prevalent in the area; Native health services are not able to deal with epidemiological studies needed to prove causality, and local politicians are on the take for the ongoing mothballing and eventual settlement of the issue.
The corporation that operated the facility walked away from the liability long ago, leaving the state to manage the toxic aftermath.
Agnes wants the Feds and State to come up with the billions needed to insure proper remediation of the waste effluent. Why not? The rich suburbs of Westchester County don’t have to drink radioactive water.
Agnes will be attending a ceremony at Seneca Falls on Saturday honoring Indigenous Women’s Day (a first) in recognition of the matriarchal authority and wisdom of the 49 clan mothers who guide traditional Haudenosaunee affairs. Recognition is overdue – and welcome.
But so is clean water.

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