Saturday, July 16th Commemoration Events of Trinity Atomic Bomb Test in Tularosa, and Church Rock Uranium Tailings Spill in Church Rock

play3Sharing a moment of silence and statements at each of the commemoration events, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium and the Red Water Pond Road Community Association on the Navajo Nation will experience their loss, offer healing prayers, and provide community education about the first atomic bomb test at the Trinity Test Site in 1945 and the largest liquid uranium tailings spill in the U.S. that flowed into the Rio Puerco in 1979.  Both events happened on July 16th in New Mexico.  This is the first time the groups have shared a moment of silence and statements supporting their work for restorative justice for the people harmed by both tragedies.  The public is invited to participate in the events.

In the early morning of July 16, 1945, the U.S. government detonated the first atomic bomb from a 100-foot metal structure in the south central desert of New Mexico.  In the massive explosion, the radiation and toxic materials rose an estimated 70,000 feet and fell back to earth in what many thought was snow.  Kids played in it and the cattle and vegetable gardens were covered in it.

The innocent people of the Tularosa Basin were not informed beforehand and were not evacuated after the test, even though the exposures were at least 10,000 times higher than what is considered safe today.  Cancer rates in the Tularosa Basin are four to eight times higher than the national average.

To memorialize those who have died and to honor those who are living with or who have survived cancer, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, in cooperation with the Village of Tularosa, will host the Seventh Annual Candlelight Vigil on Saturday, July 16th from 8 to 10 pm at the Tularosa Little League Field, on La Luz Avenue, west of the Tularosa High School.  Luminarias will be available for a small donation beginning at 7:30 p.m.     July 16, 2016 TBDC event flyer

The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium received a grant from the Santa Fe Community Foundation to conduct a health impact assessment (HIA) and collect health surveys from those living in the communities surrounding the Trinity Test Site.  On Saturday, July 16th from 3 to 5 p.m., they will be available at the Tularosa Courthouse (located at 609 St. Francis Drive, Tularosa, NM) to accept health surveys and to discuss the health impact assessment process.  On Sunday, July 17th, beginning at 1 p.m., they will be holding a forum to inform the health impact assessment.  It will be a time that people can discuss openly with each other about their experiences and recollections.

For more information, please contact Tina Cordova at 505 897-6787.


On July 16th, 1979, an earthen uranium tailings dam at the United Nuclear Corporation Church Rock Uranium Mill failed and released 1,000 tons of solid radioactive uranium mill waste and more than 90 million gallons of acidic and radioactive liquids into the Rio Puerco.  It contributed to the long-term contamination already present in the watershed from the release of untreated or poorly treated uranium mine water.

On Saturday, July 16th, the Red Water Pond Road Community Association will host 37th Annual Commemoration of the North East Church Rock Uranium Tailings Spill from 7 am to 3 pm, located 12 miles north of Red Rock State Park on State Highway 566.  There will be a walk to the spill site to offer healing prayers, food, speeches, a silent auction and community education.  37th Annual Spill Commemoration event flyer

The Red Water Pond Road Community Association and partners are very concerned about the uranium contamination legacy, which has poisoned our Mother Earth.  They are working to ensure cleanup of three Superfund sites.

They cordially invite you to “join the community on this journey to heal our Diné and Mother Earth and restore the Hozho’.  We believe we need to support one another and cherish all our families and communities, just as our elders have.  By working together, with our combined intelligence and wisdom we can and are addressing this legacy to provide a life of balance and harmony for our people now and for the future generations.

“This historic event is open to all ages and will share the struggles people face in their daily lives, the healing yet to come for our people and Mother Earth, and the awareness and education required in the local area, tribally, statewide and on the national level. We would like the younger generation to be present, advocate and carry on these traditions of caring for Mother Earth.

“It is said that The Four Sacred Mountains say to us,

‘My child, I will feed you, give you good health, and

I will give you strength and courage.

My child, I will give you clean air and clean water to drink.

I am your Life.

My child, get ready now and educate yourself.

Improve yourself and don’t forget who you are.

My child, what I am dressed with, is what you are dressed with.

I am your home and your mother and father.’

“Let us come together again and share these issues and concerns, collaborate and strategize, to push clean up of these contaminated environments among our Diné people to restore, preserve and protect our Mother Earth.”

For more information, please contact Edith Hood at 505-905-8051 or visit



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