The Navajo Nation and Uranium Mining

This page was written by Erin Klauk as part of the DLESE Community Services Project: Integrating Research in Education.

Great Seal of the Navajo Nation. Details

While the Navajo were struggling economically during the nuclear age, uranium was discovered on their reservation. Uneducated about the environmental and health risks from mining uranium, many Navajo men were thankful to have found work so close to home ([Brugge, 2000] ). This was the beginning of hardships that were previously unknown to the Navajo people. Today, more than 50 years later, the Navajo are still feeling the effects from uranium mining.

To get started, view pages, or follow the links below to pages that have been developed to illustrate the events that occurred on the Navajo Nation due to uranium mining:

  • Physiography - Explore the physiography and landforms of the Navajo Nation.
  • Geology - Explore the geology of the Navajo Nation including geologic maps, the tectonic setting, bedrock and major structures.
  • Hydrology - Explore the surface water and groundwater quality and quantity on the Navajo Nation.
  • Climate and Biota - Explore the climate, flora and fauna of the Navajo Nation.
  • Cultural Heritage - Explore the culture of the Navajo including the traditional land and lifestyle, history and mode of living.
  • Uranium Deposits - Explore resources about uranium and uranium deposits specific to the Navajo Nation.
  • Exploration and Development History - Explore the discovery history, extraction methods, and development and production history of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.
  • Environmental Impacts - Explore the impacts to air, land and water due to uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.
  • Human Health Impacts - Explore the impacts on human health due to uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.
  • Policy - Explore political issues related to uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.
  • What's Next? - Explore the mining issues that have occurred recently on the Navajo Nation.

Listen to Navajo Nation Pushes for Uranium Cleanup by Ted Robbins, broadcast on National Public Radio May 30, 2008.

For ideas on how to use these webpages in a classroom, a Study Guide is provided.

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