On June 9, 2018, hundreds gathered to honor the Indigenous wisdom of the Acjachemen Nation and that of our collective Ancestors. Indigenous Elders from the Acjachemen Nation and various native California tribes, along with a diversity of youth, surfers, families, locals gathered in an act of love and reverence for our planet. We created a large-scale “human” artwork in a show of support for Mother Earth and all life, and bringing attention to the nuclear waste emergency at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant site. See the photo journal below on a day spotlighting a sustainable future for generations to come. Photos by Darin McClure unless otherwise noted.
Supported by Public Watchdogs, the June 9, 2018 event Acjachemen Wisdom Day recognized the original people of Orange County, the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians Acjachemen Nation, and the need to safely preserve their ancestral homelands for future generations.
Hundreds gather near the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant to form the ancestral “Starman” and the word “SAFETY?!”, calling attention to the current, controversial loading of nuclear waste into storage containers 100’ from the beach.
“The Acjachemen Wisdom Day (AWD) is an event which focused on honoring the Acjachemen Ancestors, the stewardship of Mother Earth, and a continued future for all,” said Chairwoman Teresa Romero, Acjachemen Nation.
“The Acjachemen wish to share ancient wisdom that has helped sustain our people on the same territory for more than 12,000 years and bring awareness of the descending survivors,” said Chairwoman Romero. “AWD is the coming together in support of Orange and North San Diego communities to understand what must happen regarding threats posed by SONGS. We need safe containment and geographically appropriate storage of nuclear waste. And we want to impart our sentiments on what the consequences of over development could be for everyone. We the Acjachemen want to speak to balance, a spiritual connection to the land, and safety measures to protect our ancestral lands.”
The San Onofre Nuclear Waste Emergency
After radioactive steam leaks led to the closing of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in June 2013, the question of where to store nuclear waste was decided when the California Coastal Commission granted Southern California Edison a permit to bury 75 canisters of deadly nuclear waste on the beach. A total of 3.55 million pounds of spent fuel is to be transferred to holding tanks on the beach by mid-2019, according to Edison. Transfers have already begun to a site that lies within 50 miles of 8 million Californians, and just 108 feet from high tide. Just months into the transfer process, San Onofre officials found a design defect in one of the new versions of nuclear waste containers, causing work to stop for 10 days before resuming as planned. Read more below about the nuclear waste emergency on ancestral land that was highlighted on Acjachemen Wisdom Day.