LANL Agrees to Stop Calling Weapons Bunkers Kivas
Bush's Pentagon Choice Moves U.S. Closer to "Star Wars"
Los Alamos National
Laboratory (LANL) has been calling nuclear-experimental bunkers
at the lab 'kivas' since 1946, but that has now ended. Lab Director
John Browne ordered an immediate name change after members from
three different Pueblos asked the lab to stop calling these bunkers
'kivas'. Governor Red Eagle Rael, of Picuris Pueblo and Marian
Naranjo, a member of Santa Clara Pueblo and Native Communities
Outreach Director for Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS),
wrote lab Director Browne letters in December that were read by
Harley Brewer, a member of San Ildefonso Pueblo and a Board member
of CCNS, at a recent press conference regarding LANL's compliance
under the Clean Air Act.
his letter, Governor Rael stated, "I feel the use of the word
'Kiva' at a nuclear weapons facility is very disrespectful and
is in violation of our cultural beliefs, and culturally insensitive
to our Indian People as well as our Ancient Pueblo People. I strongly
recommend you rename your nuclear facilities that are currently
named 'kivas.'" Browne responded in a December 20th letter saying,
"I assure you that no disrespect was meant in using the word 'kiva.'"
The Governor could not be reached for comment, but Ms. Naranjo
expressed her happiness when she learned of the labs decision,
"A kiva is the place where we have our religious aspect. It's
more than a church. It's what really ties us together."
the early days of Los Alamos, the term 'kiva' referred to criticality
bunkers at Technical Area 18 and one at Technical Area 54. The
lab now plans to call the bunkers by their numbers or "experimental
Naranjo, although pleased with the decision, still wants an apology
from lab officials, the Department of Energy, which oversees the
lab, and the University of California, which is contracted by
DOE to run the lab. "I know that the people who presently are
in positions [at the lab] personally did not name these places.
That's why I feel that a letter [of apology] from them is essential
so that it can be a historical positive change. They can show
that this government can show respect for what was here before
* President-elect Bush's appointment of Donald Rumsfeld Director of
Defense, and the former head of the Pentagon 25 years ago, is causing
critics in the U.S. and nations around the world to believe that Bush may
be heading for a confrontation with Russia, China and U.S. allies over the
heated issue of national missile defense.
Rumsfeld has made it clear he considers the U.S. vulnerable to
ballistic missile attack from countries such as North Korea, Iran and Iraq.
Bush is quoted as saying, he wants Rumsfeld to "make sure that the missile
defense receives the priority we think it must receive in future Pentagon
budgets." These appear to be the plans of the new administration, even if
it means scrapping the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia, a
cornerstone of arms control for 30 years.
Russia has opposed all changes to the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty saying
that if Washington pulls out of the pact, other deals might unravel,
including the two nuclear arms reduction treaties signed by Bush's father,
President George Bush, at the end of the Cold War.
Among those who oppose the National Missile Defense plan (or NMD), are the
Union of Concerned Scientists and the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. In a joint report released in April, they found that attackers
using nuclear weapons could defeat a missile defense system in several
Many experts believe China and Russia will look for ways to upgrade their
arsenals. Camille Grand, with a political institute in Paris, writes that
there is genuine concern in Europe that ``the country that invented arms
control and nonproliferation is showing a mounting distrust, if not
outright contempt, for bilateral and multilateral regimes and treaties. ...
The determined pursuit of NMD is another signal of growing U.S. preference
for unilateral responses to global issues.''
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