Owe Aku Intl Justice Project


Our water has been contaminated by uranium mining for 30 years. It has spread its toxins and contaminants through our aquifers and waterways negatively impacting the people, animals, plants and birds who live in our territory.  Cancer, liver disease, diabetes and myriad health problems plague the Oglala Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation 

in what amounts to environmental genocide. 

Scroll Down for an Update by Debra White Plume


Why are we trying to raise $10,000?

We are involved in truly a 'David vs. Goliath' struggle by our activist lawyers and good guy scientists against the biggest, baddest Uranium company in the World!

We are working to protect our groundwater, which we know from long studies, is connected to the Cameco, Inc. n Situ Leach uranium mine site, and our surface water which flows to our Pine Ridge Homelands from the mine site at Crawford, NE, 30 miles away as the crow flies.  Please help us! We want to protect the precious Ogllala Aquifer from uranium mining's radioactivity and thorium, cadium, arsenic and many other deadly elements from being unleashed forever, not to mention the enormous amounts of water used (9,000 gallons a minute) as well as the storage of BILLIONS of gallons of radioactive waste water deep underground, forever!

In 2007 Owe Aku and allies filed to seek "intervenor" status in the license renewal application of Canadian owned Cameco, Inc. to In Situ Leach mine uranium at Crawford, NE. The headquarters of Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) is the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. Owe Aku is a grassroots Lakota cultural preservation and revitalization organization that also seeks to protect human rights and the coming generations' right to live as Lakota people.

The Pine Ridge Reservation is rich in Lakota culture and history. What most people think of is that it is the land of Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Black Elk. We are not dusty relics on a museum shelve though, we are living and breathing in todays world, and we need help to fund our case against Cameco, Inc. the worlds largest uranium miner!

After almost 10 years of side hearings and alot of legal wrangling by our pro-bono attorneys, the Atomic Licensing Board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has scheduled our case for August 24, 2015 and expects the hearing to last for one week. 

When we filed, we were the first intervenors to file against a uranium mining corporation in the United States in 17 years. Now it is almost 27 years! Please help us to raise the funds to get our expert witnesses to the hearing on August 24, and to help our legal team to get there as well, they have worked pro bono and covered most of their expenses for almost 10 years. Now is the time when people who love water and health to step up and help us with some of the expenses!

The NRC lawyers and judges have been bending over backwards to make things as easy for Cameco as possible and the miners and regulators have been hiding the fact that faults and fractures spread contamination from the mine and that they have known about it since at least 1989 when they got the Jim Petersen Whistleblower.  

Now that the mine has been operating upstream from Pine Ridge for 30 years spreading contaminants into pathways that impact people, animals, plants and birds, cancer and diabetes and health problems plague the Oglalas in what amounts to environmental genocide.

Help us build a scientific record by donating to support our expert witness fees!

Update on Protecting Water from Uranium Mining and Radioactivity

Owe Aku Bring Back the Way

2014 - 2015

In late July and early August 2014, Owe Aku developed materials and engaged in an awareness campaign to inform people about the August 2014 Nuclear Regulatory Commission Hearings in Rapid City SD regarding PowerTech, Inc.'s proposed ISL uranium mine in Edgemont, SD.  This proposed in situ leach (“isl”) uranium mine covers two counties, Dewey and Burdock counties.

The Final Environmental Assessment was released in October 2014 for the License Renewal Application of Crow Butte Resources, Inc. (CBR). Our attorneys filed with the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel (“ASLBP”) about the report. This report is regarding our case against Cameco, Inc. at the Crawford, Nebraska isl uranium mine. 

Finally, nine years after gaining intervenor status to protect water from uranium mining, on January 8, 2015, the ASLBP scheduled the CBR Renewal Hearing for the week of August 24, 2015.  The hearing is expected to continue for 3 to 5 days.  This is the immediate case for which we are asking support.  The need arises from the expenses involved with expert witnesses.  Although our legal team is pro bono, we still must pay the witnesses who can testify to the scientific evidence of contamination.

In early January 2015, our documentary film, Crying Earth Rise Up, about our water protection work was completed. The film has been selected for screening at several film festivals.  We are in the process of confirming additional screenings.  For a trailer of the film visit https://vimeo.com/67243540.  

Even prior to completion of the film, during December 2014, we began working with Crying Earth Rise Up documentary film crew to organize the Tour of Resistance for late winter-early spring, January-May 2015.  The Tour of Resistance showcased the documentary film as yet another awareness campaign tool.  The Tour included South Dakota and Nebraska, regarding the Cameco and PowerTech uranium mines, Arizona and New Mexico, meeting with allies who oppose uranium mining in Navajo Nation, as well as cities in Illinois and New York.  Additional stops and communities on the tour will be added as we continue to build our calendar and we are currently working with residents of Northern, Nebraska to show it in the non-Indian communities around the mine sites, bringing new awareness to a population that has not been given all the facts.   

In January 2015, we began working with allies on the Cheyenne River Homelands who invited us to help organize activist training to protect drinking water using our Moccasins on theGround (“MOTG”) project designed to prepare our communities for resistance to uranium mining and the KXL tarsands pipeline. Moccasins on the Ground has been a part of the Tour of Resistance.

Also in January, 2015, Debra White Plume spoke at the Cheyenne Breakout Youth Run for the Future in Crawford, NE regarding our work to protect water from uranium mining and the impacts of radioactivity to drinking water. This presentation was part of the Tour of Resistance.  Then in February, 2015 Debra spoke at the Stand Against Racism Rally in Rapid City, SD regarding our work with non-Indian allies to protect drinking water from uranium mining and the KXL tarsands pipeline.  We have also been working with Lakota artists and social media activists to design education campaigns on uranium radioactivity impacts to drinking water and peoples’ international human right to safe drinking water. 

We are at a crossroads in our struggle to protect sacredwater.  This case is a critical component of the legal actions being undertaken and to succeed, we will need the assistance of all our allies.  Wopila

Debra White Plume

Owe Aku, Bring Back the Way

PO Box 325

Manderson, SD 57756


© John Kent Lebsock 2016