Much like Diné land, Laguna land has a uranium legacy. Laguna land has what was once the largest open pit uranium mine in the world called Jackpile Mine. According to Winona Laduke in her book Native America: The Political Economy of Radioactive Colonialism, this mine is responsible for “The pattern of increasingly early deaths from respiratory cancer and similar ailments – as well as congenital birth defects – has become steadily more apparent on the reservation” (pg. 124).
In research obtained for this website, an elder from the Village of Paguate on Laguna land explained how the mine was cruel to the community while it operated. She told how the blast would shake her house and blow radioactive dust into the village. The people there could no longer dry food for the fear that it may be contaminated. Another community activist from Laguna explained how the mine brought the second economic boom after the railroad was constructed. She said this was not good for the community, however, because it brought many health problems, social problems, and unemployment when the mine closed in 1982.
The Laguna community also has had to deal with cleaning up the Barrick/Gold Home Stake uranium mine and mill. Sacred Trust NM states that “At least 20 cases of cancer, including four deaths, and 5 cases of thyroid diseases are clustered within a mile of the site.” The data shows the devastation that these two uranium sites have on the land and the people. Both of these sites are now Superfund sites due to be cleaned up by the government.
To ensure that they are fully cleaned up please consider getting involved with the Laguna-Acoma Coalition for a Clean Environment.