Activists associated with the Navajo Native American tribe in Arizona forced Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey off their lands after the politicians were on the land to celebrate Navajo Code Talkers Day on Aug. 15.
Upset with the recent Gold King Mine spill that affected the Animas and San Juan Rivers in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, members of the Navajo community questioned the leaders on the federal government’s lack of response and speed to clean up the millions of toxic chemical still residing in the waters.
“I keep saying when are we going to hear from the White House? Not a word," President Begaye of the Navajo Nation said, according to Native News. "When somebody wins the Super Bowl or an NBA championship, they get a call, right? And when something like this happens and people are suffering, nothing."
The spill was caused by employees of the Environmental Protection Agency, a department of the federal government that oversees greenhouse gases and climate change statistics, among other responsibilities. They were reportedly inspecting the abandoned Gold King Mine when the spill was triggered.
The sludge is believed to contain mercury, arsenic and lead, rendering the water useless for bathing, drinking or any other necessity, Raw Story reported.
Vice President Nez expressed the frustration of many of his people in the delay of the federal government’s response to the spill.
“This is just one mine out of hundreds and there’s no Superfund designation,” he said. “Right now, we don’t trust the U.S. EPA’s data and their collection. And one of the things we’re still suffering from are the uranium mines, they need cleanup as well.”
When they arrived, McCain and Ducey were not greeted with praise and open arms from the people of the region. Instead, homemade signs read, “McCain’s not welcome here” and “McCain = Indian killer.” Later, McCain and Ducey left the area, and their departure was celebrated on Facebook.
“About 60 protesters and or more ran John McCain out of Window Rock today,” wrote Navajo political blogger Dusty Lee on
Facebook. “The meeting, I am told, did not happen. Delegates, McCain and others went out the side door.”
Here's the footage, courtesy of Paper Rocket Productions:
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Gage Skidmore/Flickr