Human Rights Group Investigating Uranium Contamination on Navajo Nation
November 3, 2021
Cited article by Cody Nelson, The Guardian
Crownpoint, a small town in New Mexico, is in eastern Navajo Nation. This town is surrounded by uranium mines, with rising concerns over the water quality since an article published in 1994 in local news discussing a new Uranium mine build built. Nearly four generations of Navajo have been exposed to uranium waste residing next to radioactive dumps, amounting to nearly 70 years of being ignored by the federal government. In total, there are over 500 uranium waste dumps on Navajo land.
Between the 1970s to 1990s, cancer rates of those living on the reservation have doubled. Additionally, former workers of the mining operations reported respiratory and other health issues. While there has been little recourse or response from the U.S. government, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is now launching an investigation into the matter. Already, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, in conjunction with the Commission has filed significant evidence that supports the U.S. government and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission violating the human rights of the Navajo by licensing uranium mining in-and-near the communities.
HRRC supports the investigation taking place by human rights groups and is greatly concerned by the ongoing possibility of human rights violations taking place. The continued mining at the expense of the health of those living on the reservation demonstrates the contemporary neo-colonialism that still affects indigenous populations.