D. Brugge "The Long, Slow Process of Seeking Justice for Uranium Mining Harms for the Navajo People"
Uranium mining has typically been concentrated in rural areas with low population density. This talk will begin by reviewing the impact of uranium mining on the Navajo People in the Southwestern United States. It was with this population that I first worked on uranium mining. From my work in the Navajo Nation, I quickly learned about how uranium mining had and was affecting other Native American tribes nearby, including Laguna and Acoma Pueblos and the Havasupai in the Grand Canyon. Eventually I also learned that uranium mining had affected Native American populations in the north central United States. Then, when I went to Africa, it struck me that despite some dissimilarities to Native American populations, the people living in rural areas in Mali and Tanzania that we visited also shared some common characteristics. They lived in rural villages, engaged in subsistence food production, and were more traditional than urban populations. Similarly, the experience of Aboriginal populations in Australia is largely similar, although my knowledge is based on secondhand sources since I have not been there in person. Finally, I have followed the experience of another, again strikingly similar, population in India. My talk will explore thread of commonality among these populations and suggest factors that likely led to the disproportionate environmental and occupational burden that they have experienced from uranium mining. I will suggest that siting of uranium mining near native and indigenous populations was made easier by their relative lack of political and economic power, limited access to major media and barriers created by language and educational level.