Contact: Elouise Brown, Dooda (NO) Desert Rock Committee President, (505) 947-6159
On protecting the Rights of Mother Earth
DOODA DESERT ROCK IN BOLIVIA
By Elouise Brown
Photo: Elouise Brown, second from left, with Bolivian delegation at World Climate Conference. Photo courtesy Elouise Brown.
Elouise Brown, president of Dooda Desert Rock, today announced her return from Cochabamba, Bolivia, where the World People’s Conference on Climate Change met at a suburb to discuss global warming and more appropriate responses to deal with it.
Brown said, “People have been asking me what a Navajo grassroots group is doing at a world climate conference in Bolivia?"
"The simple answer is that we need to carry our campaign to wherever we can focus attention on the facts. The major fact that no one is addressing is the findings of studies of air quality in the Shiprock area that show that Navajos who live downwind of the two existing power plants must seek medical attention at high rates. We raised the issue that the proposed Desert Rock power plant violates the provisions of Dine Natural Law in the Fundamental Laws of the Dine. The Navajo Nation Council recently sought to make the Natural Law unenforceable, and although my lawyer showed the Navajo Nation Supreme Court that was not true. I went to promote the rights of our Mother Earth, who is the key to Navajo Natural Law. Area energy companies spent a lot of money to negate Mother Earth’s rights, and I went to Bolivia to make them stronger.”
The issue related to Navajo Natural Law that attracted Brown’s attention was a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. It is a strong document and Dooda Desert Rock and indigenous groups from around the world framed a final document in Cochabamba that is powerful. It clearly states the fundamental rights of animals to freedom from torture and cruelty, their freedom from confinement and removal from their natural habitat, and the fundamental duties of humans to the rights of the earth.
One of the big gaps in United States environmental law are the old questions of “whether trees have standing to sue” and “who speaks for the trees.” The Declaration makes it clear, along with Navajo Natural Law, that Mother Earth is a sentient being and that She has standing on her own to protect her rights. She can and will appear in court, including the Navajo Nation court system.
President Shirley applauds the publicity stunt by Omar Bradley of the Bureau of Indian Affairs about the revival of the Bureau’s wildlife studies. We are going to enforce the rights of the animals and of Mother Earth in that process.
Brown said, “I came back from Cochabamba stronger and more committed to the rights of Mother Earth. I forged new alliances to make it possible for Dooda Desert Rock to have a presence in the development of international law and policy. I will be sitting next to the Navajo Nation delegates in Geneva to tell the United Nations how the Navajo Nation is violating the rights of Mother Earth. I will tell the world that President Joe Shirley, Jr. is the captive of New York energy interests and a captive of Dine Power Authority. In other words, I’m back.”