On Diné land, from the start of the uranium boom in the early 1940s, more than a thousand uranium mines were opened and mined. A majority of the workers in these mines were from the Navajo Nation. According to the Southwest Research and Information Center Uranium Assessment, “Hundreds of uranium mines have not been cleaned up and present environmental and health risks in many Navajo communities.” As a result of the mining, many radioactive tailings piles (waste rock removed while digging) were left behind. Many accidents with the mines have left a lot of the water on Diné land unsafe to drink.
Because of this terrible mining legacy on Diné land, the Navajo Nation came forth in 2005 with a ban on all future uranium mining. The Navajo Nation is also working with the EPA on what they call a Five Year Clean Up Plan. This plan was put in place to clean up the uranium mines that were left open. Much further action is needed to ensure that Diné land is returned to a healthy state, so we encourage activism around these areas to get involved with local community organizations and local or federal Governments.
Two amazing community organizations are: (click each name to learn more)