The Clan of the One-Breasted Women
I believe the first time I found my voice was when I crossed the line at the Nevada Test Site in 1988. It was one year after my mother died. It was one year before my grandmother would die, and I found myself the matriarch of my family at thirty. With the death of my mother, grandmothers, and aunts—nine women in my family have all had mastectomies, seven are dead—you reach a point when you think, “What do I have to lose?” and you become fearless. When I crossed that line at the Nevada Test Site as an act of protest because the United States government was still testing nuclear bombs in the desert—it was a gesture on behalf of the Clan of the One-Breasted Women—my mother, my grandmothers, my aunts. And I didn’t do it alone. I was with hundreds of other women who had suffered losses in Utah as a result of atomic testing, as a result of our nuclear legacy in the West. I crossed that line with Jesuit priests, with Shoshone elders, with native people who had also lost lives because of the radiation fallout in the Shivwits’ lands.