Animist Intersubjectivity as Argumentation: Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute Arguments Against a Nuclear Waste Site at Yucca Mountain
- 481 Downloads
My focus in this essay is Shoshone and Paiute arguments against the Yucca Mountain site that claim that because Yucca Mountain is a culturally significant sacred place it should not be used to store nuclear waste. Within this set of arguments for the cultural value of Yucca Mountain, I focus on arguments that claim that the proposed nuclear waste site will damage Yucca Mountain and its ecosystem—the mountain, plants, and animals themselves. These arguments assume that Yucca Mountain and its ecosystem are animate and will suffer. An understanding of Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute perspectives on the human relationship to nature, particularly adherence to the concept of animist intersubjectivity, is crucial towards interpreting these arguments. As such, my purpose in this essay is an in-depth analysis of the relationship between the cultural presumption of animist intersubjectivity and Shoshone and Paiute arguments against the Yucca Mountain site. In order to explore this relationship, I begin the paper by discussing concept of animist intersubjectivity as a cultural presumption and its relationship to arguments. Then, I analyze Shoshone and Paiute arguments against the Yucca Mountain site to reveal how animist intersubjectivity influences these arguments. I conclude the essay by explaining the implications of this analysis.
KeywordsAnimist intersubjectivity Yucca Mountain Western Shoshone Southern Paiute Cultural presumptions
The author wishes to thank Leah Ceccarelli, Barbara Warnick, Dan Emery, Isaac Gottesman, the University of Utah College of Humanities, and the University of Utah Tanner Humanities Center for providing support for and feedback on this project.
- Abram, D. 1996. The spell of the sensuous: Perception and language in a more-than-human world. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
- Abraham, S. 2002. Recommendation by the secretary of energy regarding the suitability of the Yucca Mountain Site for a repository under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. Department of Energy: Washington, DC. http://ocrwm.doe.gov/ymp/sr/sar.pdf. Accessed 25 April 2003.
- Bacoch, J. 2001, October 3. Letter to the Department of Energy (public comment #330076). http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/documents/sr_comm/sr_pdf/330076.pdf. Accessed 20 Jan 2005.
- Branham, R.J. 1994. Debate and dissent in late Tokugawa and Meiji Japan. Argumentation and Advocacy 30: 131–149.Google Scholar
- Brew, F.P., and Cairns, D.R. 2004. Do culture or situational constraints determine choice of direct or indirect styles in intercultural workplace conflicts? International Journal of Intercultural Relations 28: 331–352.Google Scholar
- Brummett, B. 1976. Some implications of “process” or “intersubjectivity”: Postmodern rhetoric. Philosophy & Rhetoric 9: 21–51.Google Scholar
- Cai, D.A., Wilson, S.P., and Drake, L.E. 2000. Culture in the context of intercultural negotiation: Individualism-collectivism and paths to integrative agreements. Human Communication Research 26: 591–617.Google Scholar
- Cajete, G. 1999. “Look to the Mountain”: Reflections on indigenous ecology. In A people’s ecology: Explorations in sustainable life, 1–20. Santa Fe, NM: Clear Light.Google Scholar
- Carbaugh, D., and K. Wolf. 1999. Situating rhetoric in cultural discourses. In Rhetoric in intercultural contexts: International and intercultural communication Annual, vol. 22, ed. A. Gonzalez and D. Tanno, 19–30. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Condon, J.C., and F.S. Yousef. 1975. An introduction to intercultural communication. New York: The Bobs-Merrill Company.Google Scholar
- Connor, U. 1987. Argumentative patterns in student essays: Cross-cultural differences. In Writing across languages: Analysis of L2 text, ed. U. Connor, and R.B. Kaplan, 57–71. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.Google Scholar
- Combs, S.C. 2004. Challenging Greco-Roman argumentation trajectories: Argument norms and cultural traditions. Argumentation and Advocacy 41: 55–57.Google Scholar
- Crum, S.J. 1994. The road on which we came: A history of the Western Shoshone. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.Google Scholar
- Dann, C. 2009, August 19. Interview with Carrie Dann. Nuclear technology in the American West oral history project, University of Utah American West Center and J. Willard Marriot Library. Everett L. Cooley Collection Tape No. u-2031.Google Scholar
- Drake, L.E. 2001. The culture-negotiation link: Integrative and distributive bargaining through an intercultural communication lens. Human Communication Research 27: 317–349.Google Scholar
- Durham, B., and B. Helmer. 2001. Timbisha Shsohone tribe’s comments on the yucca mountain preliminary site suitability evaluation and related topics [Letter submitted to the Department of Energy, #551862].Google Scholar
- Eggington, W.G. 1987. Written academic discourse in Korean: Implications for effective communication. In Writing across languages: Analysis of L2 text, ed. U. Connor, and R.B. Kaplan, 153–168. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.Google Scholar
- Endres, D. 2009a. From wasteland to waste site: The role of discourse in nuclear power’s environmental injustices. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability 14(10): 917–937.Google Scholar
- Forbes, J.D. 2001. Indigenous Americans: Spirituality and ecos. Dedalus 130(4): 283–300.Google Scholar
- Fowler, C.S. 1991. Native Americans and Yucca Mountain: A revised and updated summary of research undertaken between 1987 and 1991. Reno, NV: Cultural Resource Consultants, Ltd.Google Scholar
- Garrett, M.M. 1993. Classical Chinese conceptions of argumentation and persuasion. Argumentation and Advocacy 29: 105–115.Google Scholar
- Goodnight, G.T. 1982. The personal, technical, and public spheres of argument: A speculative inquiry into the art of public deliberation. Journal of the American Forensics Association 18(4): 214–227.Google Scholar
- Harney, C. 1995. The way it is: One water, one air, one Mother Earth. Nevada City, CA: Blue Dolphin Publishing.Google Scholar
- Harney, C. 2009. The nature way. Las Vegas, NV: University of Nevada Press.Google Scholar
- Hinds, J. 1990. Inductive, deductive, quasi-inductive: Expository writing in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Thai. In Coherence in writing: Research and pedagogical perspectives, ed. U. Connor, and A.M. Johns, 89–109. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.Google Scholar
- Husserl, E. 1960. Cartesian meditations: An introduction to phenomenology (trans: Cairns, Dorion). The Hague, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Google Scholar
- Kennedy, G.A. 1998. Comparative rhetoric: An historical and cross-cultural introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Kidwell, C.S., H. Noley, and G.E. Tinke. 2001. A Native American theology. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.Google Scholar
- Kluckhohn, F.R., and F.L. Strodtbeck. 1961. Variations in value orientations. Evanston, IL: Row, Peterson and Company.Google Scholar
- Kretch III, S. 1999. The ecological Indian: Myth and history. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
- Kuletz, V. 1998. The tainted desert: Environmental and social ruin in the American West. New York: Routledge Press.Google Scholar
- Lakoff, G., and M. Johnson. 1980. Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Levy-Bruhl, L. 1985. How natives think. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Littlefield, R.S., and J.A. Ball. 2004. Factionalism as argumentation: A case study of the indigenous communication practices of Jemez Pueblo. Argumentation and Advocacy 41: 87–101.Google Scholar
- Love, D.E., and Powers, W.G. 2004. Differences in the persuasion strategies of Arab female students toward western instructors. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research 33: 1–13.Google Scholar
- Martin, C. 1978. Keepers of the game: Indian-animal relationships and the fur trade. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Merleau-Ponty, M. 1962. The phenomenology of perception (trans: Smith, Colin). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Milhous, L.M. 1999. The experience of culture in multicultural groups: Case studies of Russian–American collaboration in business. Small Group Research 30: 280–308.Google Scholar
- Murray, S. 2010, November 1. Supporters play up Reid’s fight over Yucca Mountain. Washington Post. Retrieved 8 Nov 2010 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/01/AR2010110104174.html.
- Oguri, M., and Gudykunst, W.B. 2002. The influence of self construals and communication styles on sojourners’ psychological and sociocultural adjustment. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 26: 577–593.Google Scholar
- Pritzker, B.M. 2000. The great basin. In A Native American encyclopedia: History, culture and peoples, ed. B.M. Pritzker. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Reilly, B. 2004, May 10. Interview with Bennie Reilly, Sr. Nevada Test Site Oral History Project, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. http://digital.library.unlv.edu/objects/nts/1274. Accessed 4 Feb 2011.
- Samovar, L.A., R.E. Porter, and E.R. McDaniel. 2009. Communication between cultures, 7th ed. Florence, KY: Wadsworth Publishing.Google Scholar
- Stoffle, R.W. 1987. Native Americans and nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Potential impacts of site characterization activities. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
- Stoffle, R.W., D.B. Halmo, J.E. Olmsted, and M.J. Evans. 1990. Native American cultural resource studies at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
- Stoffle, R.W., and M.N. Zedeno. 2001. Historical memory and ethnographic perspectives on the Southern Paiute homeland. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 23(2): 229–248.Google Scholar
- Sun, W., and Starosta, W.J. 2003. “Fact-to-fact” or “person-to-person”? Expatriate Chinese consider conflict in Usamerica. Howard Journal of Communication 30: 24–44.Google Scholar
- Suzuki, T., and F.H. van Eemeren. 2004. “This painful chapter”: An analysis of Emperor Akihito’s apologia in the context of Dutch old sores. Argumentation & Advocacy 41(2): 102–111.Google Scholar
- Tetreault, S. 2011, February 14. Obama budget confirms end of Yucca Mountain project. Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved 18 Feb 2011 from http://www.lvrj.com/news/obama-budget-confirms-end-of-yucca-mountain-project-116165714.html.
- U.S. Department of Energy. 2001a, September 5. Public hearing on the possible site recommendation of Yucca Mountain. Reporter’s transcript of proceedings taken on Wednesday, September 5, 2001 at 6:00 p.m. at 232 Energy Way, North Las Vegas, NV, reported by Kevin Wm. Daniel, CCR #711 and Mary Cox Daniel, CCR# 710.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Energy. 2001b, October 5. Yucca Mountain project comments. Reporter’s transcript of proceedings taken on Friday, October 5, 2001 at 2:20 p.m. at Fiesta Hotel, Las Vegas, NV, reported by Christine I. Phelps, CCR #683.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Energy, 2001c, October 10. Public hearing on the possible site recommendation of Yucca Mountain. Reporter’s transcript of proceedings taken on Friday, October 10, 2001 at 3 p.m. at the Town Center, Crescent Valley, NV, reported by Christine I. Phelps, CCR #683.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Energy. 2001d, October 12. U.S. Department of energy public hearing on the possible site recommendation for Yucca Mountain. Reporter’s transcript of proceedings taken on Friday, October 12, 2001 3:00-9:00 p.m. at Bob Rund Community Center, Pahrump, NV, reported by Kevin Wm. Daniel, CCR #711 and Mary Cox Daniel, CCR #711.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Energy. 2001e, October 12. Public comments on site recommendation for the Yucca Mountain project. Reporter’s transcript of proceedings taken on Friday, October 12, 2001 at Hawthorne, NV, reported by Nicole M. Rossy, CSR #10698.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Energy. 2001f, December 5. U.S. Department of energy public hearing on the possible site recommendation of Yucca Mountain. Reporter’s transcript of proceedings taken on Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 3:00 p.m. at Bob Rudd Community Center, Pahrump, NV, reported by Kevin W, McDaniel, CCR #711.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Energy. 2001g, September 5. Science and engineering report for a geologic repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. Reporter’s transcript of proceedings taken on Wednesday, September 5, 2001 at 6:00 p.m. at Elko Convention and Visitors Authority, Elko, Nevada, reported by Deborah Ann Hines, CCR #473.Google Scholar
- U. S. Department of Energy. 2002. Site recommendation comment summary document (DOE/RW-0548). Retrieved 11 Jan 2005 from http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/documents/csd_a/index.htm.
- U.S. Department of Energy. 2010, March 3. Department of Energy files motion to withdraw Yucca Mountain license application [Press Release]. Retrieved 8 Nov 2010 from http://www.energy.gov/news/8721.htm.
- Van Vlack, K.A. 2007. Traditional ecological knowledge and resilience of the Southern Paiute High Chief System. Masters Thesis, University of Arizona.Google Scholar
- Wald, M.L. 2009, March 6. Future dim for nuclear waste repository. The New York Times. Retrieved 8 Nov 2010 from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/06/science/earth/06yucca.html?_r=4.
- Walker, G.B. 1987. Communication across cultures: Argument and international negotiation in argumentation: Analysis and practices. In Proceedings of the conference on argumentation, 1986, ed. F.H. Emerson, R. Gootendorst, J.A. Blair, and C. Willard. Providence, RI: Foris Publishing.Google Scholar
- Weaver, J. (ed.). 1996. Defending mother earth: Native American perspectives on environmental justice. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.Google Scholar
- Wilkinson, C.F. 1991. Indian Tribes as sovereign governments: A sourcebook on federal-tribal history, law, and policy. Oakland, CA: American Indian Resources Institute.Google Scholar
- World Nuclear News. 2011, September 14. Yucca Mountain put on ice. Retrieved 14 Sept 2011 from http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/WR_Yucca_Mountain_put_on_ice_1409111.html.