Radiation Warning Signs Placed on Cheyenne River

Notice to the Press

July 16, 2007

“Radiation Warning Signs Placed on Cheyenne River”

Red Shirt Village -- Some of the residents of Red Shirt village on the northwest corner of the Pine Ridge Reservation  will be unveiling signs warning people of the high nuclear radiation levels found in the Cheyenne River.

Radiation Warning Signs Placed on Cheyenne RiverResidents of the tiny community of Red Shirt on the south side of the Cheyenne River occupy a village site that is thousands of years old to the Oglala Tetuwan (Sioux) people.  Many have lived here all of their lives, growing gardens with water taken from the Cheyenne River and fishing for catfish, bass, and turtles.  In the summer months, the River is used for swimming and other recreational pursuits.

Several weeks ago, in preparation for the summer months, Everitt Poor Thunder asked Defenders of the Black Hills, an environmental organization, whether the Cheyenne River water could be used to irrigate a community garden.  A local well could not be used as it was found to be radioactive and warning signs surround that structure.   

A water sample was taken, sent to a laboratory, and the results were found to be above the Environmental Protection Agency’s Maximum Contaminant Level for alpha radiation.

As alpha radiation causes harm when ingested, the warning signs are being placed to warn people of the dangers of nuclear radiation in the water.  The event is to begin at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, July 18, 2007, on the south side of the bridge spanning the River.

Red Shirt village is located about 25 miles southeast of Hermosa, SD, on SD Highway 40.

For more information contact  Charmaine White Face, Coordinator for Defenders of the Black Hills at 399-1868.