As a senator from Arizona and US-Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall learned first-hand about the governmental deceit which nurtures the nuclear industry – “an industry willing to kill our own people” (Udall). Spear-heading an ongoing political battle, he laid the foundation for the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, and forced a measure of democratic accountability on the part of the nuclear weapons industry. Since 1978, in their lawsuits against the US-Government, he has represented those sacrificed on the front-line to the nuclear arms race: Navajo uranium miners, workers in bomb factories, downwinders…
Buffy Saine Marie’s
Congratulatory Remarks —
26 September 1999,
Fuller Lodge, Los Alamos
“Well there is bad news and there is good news. The bad news has been very poignantly shared with us, thank you so very much, and described by Mr. Grossman as the nuclear nightmare. The good news is, is very well-phrased just in the name of this Award, Nuclear-Free Future, how perfect, how beautiful…
“The nuclear industry is willing to kill our own people.”
“Since 1978 Stewart Udall has brought lawsuits against the government, arguing that the government sacrificed the health of it’s own citizens. Uranium miners, atomic plant workers and their families, their families to whom they came home. For atomic weapons development they were sacrificed.
“Stewart Udall was one of the people who cared enough to investigate it and then to inform us in every way, who inspired our own work in so many directions. And actually took on the perpetuators of these tragedies at levels to which most of us had no entry. And that took courage.
“Miners were not only exposed to radiation, but when it was discovered that they were already suffering from radiation fibrosis and related diseases, they were let go from their jobs. They weren’t even told that they were eligible for worker’s compensation or insurance, they were just let go.
“But although the tragic stories of both Native American and non-Indian miners and their families still continue today, there are many documented stories such as these.
“Today we are here to celebrate good news, too. In the lifetime, the lifetime of work of one person whose dedication and perseverance and tenacity has been a shining light upon the problem, and at the same time has also lighted the path of both redress, and progress towards a better day. Today we honor a lifetime of work carried on in an atmosphere of overwhelming odds, he has stood as an inspiration to all of us. And today we get to put our hearts together and whisper: ‘Thank you Stewart Udall.'”