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Larry Thompson is Onkwehonwe. The ultimate authority that he answers to is his clan mother. On August 11, 2011, acting upon his clan mother’s direction, Larry Thompson entered the GM Powertrain Superfund site and began excavating the Toxic Mound with his backhoe. This incident led to an arrest, a lengthy series of legal encounters and eventually a court appearance for sentencing on a charge of Criminal Mischief. Just prior to sentencing, St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome Richards gave Earth Protection activist Thompson twenty minutes to explain his purpose in breaking the laws of New York State and the United States.
Larry Thompson said that his family’s gardens were right next to the part of the General Motors (GM) property used as an industrial landfill. He said that the gardens were downhill from the GM property where the dumping was occurring. They swam and fished in Turtle Cove, which was fed by a stream that ran right along the edge of the landfill. He said the family ate the deer and muskrats that drank from these waters.
He stated that there were no signs warning the people of Akwesasne to stay away from the landfill. Mr. Thompson stated that the family and others who lived on Raquette Point were poisoned by the chemicals in the landfill. He referred to this poisoning as genocide. He takes the position that GM, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) knew for a lengthy period of time that exposures to toxic chemicals were taking place and did little to warn the people about the exposures that they were receiving and the risks associated with these exposures. He listed cancers, heart disease, skin conditions and reproductive problems as results of being exposed to the chemicals that were disposed of in the GM landfill.
Mr. Thompson went on to note that the EPA Record of Decision allowed GM to leave the unlined, illegal, industrial landfill on the land. The people of Akwesasne refer to the capped industrial landfill as the Toxic Mound. He spoke of the events that immediately led up to the decision to take action for removal of the Toxic Mound. A close friend told Larry that he had recently been diagnosed with cancer and Larry’s sister, Neddie Thompson was found to have kidney cancer. How to address the Toxic Mound genocide was taken up with the clan mother and it was her order that he take action to raise awareness about this threat to the people of Akwesasne.
Larry Thompson was sentenced on April 4, 2013. The charge was disposed of with a conditional discharge. Mr. Thompson was not fined. He was not required to pay any restitution. He was ordered to pay a surcharge which totaled less than 300.00 dollars. An order of protection was issued that forbids Mr. Thompson from entering upon the GM Powertrain Superfund site. The leniency of the sentence demonstrates that Judge Richards recognized the honorable nature of Larry Thompson’s actions.
On April 6, 2013, at his home on the Akwesasne Reserve Larry Thompson gave me an interview in which he states once more his reasons for doing what he did. His words come from a heart filled with deep goodness. Larry Thompson loves the land, the plants and animals and the people of Akwesasne. He acted in love to raise awareness of the intentional poisoning of all these special parts of his world. He acted in love to protect the land, the waters and the inhabitants of this place from further poisoning.
Larry Thompson told me that he was now planning the next step in his campaign to bring about the removal of the Toxic Mound. His voice was filled with the strength of a man who knows that he is right. I believe that the day will come when the Toxic Mound is removed. This will be a major step in righting the wrongs that have been done by GM, DEC, DOH and EPA. Honor to Larry Thompson. He is a hero of the New American Revolution.
Cancer Action News Network
Donald L. Hassig, Producer