We lost a leader to nuclear waste pollution

We lost a leader to nuclear waste pollution

People: We just don’t realize the lasting damage of nuclear weapons. This coming Monday night, I will host Dorothy Van Soest in a virtual book talk about her new mystery, Nuclear Option. Her protagonists unpack the truth of the radiation contamination of thousands of atomic veterans. She does not address in detail the fall out of mining and processing bomb-making material. (to hear her talk, the zoom link is here. 7 pm PDT, Monday, January 11th.)

Today we learned of the death of a Spokane Tribal leader, Deb Abrahamson, at the young age of 66. She succumbed to cancer after a five-year battle. The Spokane Tribe blames mining pollution and uranium contamination for the cancer that ultimately took Abrahamson’s life.

Author: Morgan Trau (KREM)
January 4, 2021


SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash ­ A life of service was cut short on New Year’s Day. Longtime activist on the Spokane reservation, 66-year-old Deb Abrahamson, died after battling cancer for half a decade.

Born on the Colville Indian reservation in March 1954, Abrahamson made her life goal to leave the world better than she encountered it. She led the Spokane Tribe of Indians in a fight against nuclear energy and for the preservation of a clean earth, chair of the elected leadership of the tribe Carol Evans said.

“Even though she left this earth, she’s still with us in spirit,” Evans added.  “I just have to continue to remind myself of that she will always be here to inspire us to do the right thing.”

She and the Tribe blame mining pollution and uranium contamination for her cancer.

“It’s a real sense of loss, her activism, and her strong, powerful voice,” former tribal attorney Margo Hill said. “Her ethics on environmentalism and the earth is just amazing.”

Abrahamson led a life of conviction, helping hold powerful people accountable, whether it was federal and state agencies, mining companies, attorneys or tribal council, said Hill.

“She was a servant for the environment, speaking out for the water, air, and land because they could not speak speaking out for the animals, because they can’t speak the way we speak,” Evans added.

She was a voice for the voiceless.

She was an inspiration for many, serving as a mentor for all ages. She started marches and rallies from Spokane to Navajo Nation to Standing Rock.

“She wrote the book on activism,” Hill said. “But to us at home, whenever we needed something, she was there.”

The tight-knit community was strung together by Abrahamson. She helped run the clean and sober house on the reservation. She was active with MMIW,  Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, a coalition dedicated to stop violence against Indigenous women, girls and Two Spirit.

“She always spoke truth to power,” Evans added. “She did it in a way that people listen.”

May Deb Abrahamson’s death inspire you to speak truth to power.



Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility: a good place to put your activism.