Oppenheimer — And the Other Side of the Story
This week, “Oppenheimer” will open, a film that centers the creation and use of the atomic bomb through the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Go see the movie if it calls to you. But please also take time to learn about the other side of the story and what unfolded at Tsankawi (also known as Los Alamos) and the Pajarito Plateau 80 years ago — the story that centers the Indigenous and land-based peoples who were displaced from our homelands, the poisoning and contamination of sacred lands and waters that continues to this day, and the ongoing devastating impact of nuclear colonization on our lives and livelihoods.
We’ve put together this resource list, with a focus on Indigenous and land-based communities, so you can learn more about our side of the story and ways to respond.
Together we are Beloved Community. Together we can grow a Culture of Peace.
LEARN ABOUT OUR SIDE OF THE STORY
Video and Audio
- Los Alamos, New Mexico and Sacred Native Lands (featuring Marian Naranjo)
- The Shadow on the Hill
- RadioActive: Nuclear Boom with Petuuch Gilbert and Marian Naranjo
- Dmitri Brown, Tewa History of the Manhattan Project
- Dismantling the Nuclear Beast — this 12-part video playlist documents the landmark 2017 symposium held at University of New Mexico. Elder Kathy Sanchez of Tewa Women United speaks on the Saturday/Part 5 video.
- The Grandmothers Circle: Elder Kathy ‘Wan Povi’ Sanchez and Heather Bryan In this episode Elder Kathy talks about growing up in close proximity to the Los Alamos National Laboratory which was built in her community’s sacred mountains and where nuclear waste was stored in traditional ceremonial kivas.
- Nuclear Nuevo Mexico: Colonialism and the Effects of the Nuclear Industrial Complex on Nuevomexicanos by Myrriah Gomez (University of Arizona Press, 2022)
- Nuclear Borderlands: The Manhattan Project in Post-Cold War New Mexico by Joseph Masco (Princeton University Press, 2006)
Articles and Reports
- Community Summary of CDC’s Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment Project (2010)
- A Tewa Woman’s Reflection on Urgency, by Beata Tsosie-Peña
- Ceremony in the Atomic Age (Marian Naranjo’s story), by Austin Fisher
- La gente and the making of “The Bomb” by Dr. Patricia Trujillo
- Beata Tsosie-Peña: Los Alamos National Laboratory Downwinder
- “Fallout from a Nuclear Past” — interview with Dr. Myrriah Gomez by Alicia Inez Guzman
- The Atomic Hereafter — series of articles by Alicia Inez Guzman in Searchlight New Mexico, highlighting communities most impacted by 80 years of nuclear presence, from attempts to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal to the long, drawn-out ways radiation can transmit from mother to child.
- Atomic City, USA: how once-secret Los Alamos became a millionaire’s enclave by Claire Provost
- The Toxic Legacy of Racism and Nuclear Waste Is Very Much Still With Us in Los Alamos by Taryn Fivek
- Fallout: First cancer, now delayed compensation for Indigenous downwinder communities by Wudan Yan
- Red Dust: A Soil Scientist’s Journey Through the Political Climate and Environmental Chemistry of Northern New Mexico by Morgan Drewniany
Water, Air, and Land: A Sacred Trust This map is a work in progress. The uses of water, air and land are diverse in New Mexico and will change dramatically with climate change. For caretakers of this sacred trust, this map offers a bird’s eye view of the health of our environment. It documents primarily the energy- and nuclear-related sources of pollution, though other factors are also at work.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
This list is just a starting point. Connect with the organizations below for more opportunities to act, and we’ll add more soon.
1 Sign up for our NM Action Alerts email list – we’ll send you a message when there is an action you can take on behalf of environmental justice, including responses to LANL
2 Stand in solidarity with the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium. Visit their website to learn more
3 Get involved with and support local organizations focusing on nuclear issues:
- Communities for Clean Water
- Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety
- Demand Nuclear Abolition
- Honor Our Pueblo Existence (H.O.P.E.)
- Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment
- New Mexico Environmental Law Center
- Nuclear Watch New Mexico
- Southwest Research and Information Center
- Stop Forever WIPP
And this international network: