the Alberta oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico, Native peoples across
Turtle Island are afflicted with ills related to industrial developmentdevelopment
that was undertaken with little regard to the health, culture and
general welfare of those who were living here when European settlers
Among these, the uranium contamination plaguing the Navajo Nation
is arguably one of the worst cases. Though press reports of contamination
left over from uranium mining on the Navajo reservation have cropped
up over the years, few have done more than send reporters parachuting
in to report on conditions.
There have been some exceptions, most notably a February report
in The New York Times, and the National Institutes of Health.
York Times Profiles Plight of Uranium-Plagued Navajo Reservation
Upon a Mine: National Institutes of Health Details Uranium's Toxic
Legacy to Navajo
But the Arizona Republic takes it a step further, with an in-depth,
multimedia investigative piece that pulls together a solid combination
of on-the-ground reporting and the unique capabilities that online
journalism has for imparting information. The result is a portraitin
print, video and photosof what life is like for thousands
of Navajo who must drive miles for something that many of us take
for granted, or take it from unregulated wells and stock ponds filled
"Uranium mining has impacted not just uranium miners and their
families but it has impacted generations," Lillie Lane, a spokesperson
for the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, tells the
Arizona Republic in an on-camera interview.
"After mining stopped, and the miners went away, the companies
went away, and all the waste stayed put, people continued to live
next to the waste, they continued to access the waste, in ways that
were common," echoes Chris Shuey, a uranium health researcher.
Today"s health legacy ranges from lifelong urinary tract infections,
to kidney problems and cancer.
To report the story, environmental reporter Brandon Loomis and
photographer David Wallace spent long periods of time on the reservation,
"made periodic daylong visits to homes and mines in the Cameron,
Gray Mountain and Black Falls areas north of Flagstaffa quadrant
of the reservation that was heavily mined and remains hazardous
to many residents," the Arizona Republic recounts in Uranium
Mining on Navajo Reservation: How We Did This. "These visits,
generally lasting until sundown, involved both extensive personal
interviews and long periods of quiet observation, during which Wallace
could photograph and take video of affected people living their
lives and contending with health problems. They toured mine sites
where sheep still graze, and where residents remembered playing
and swimming in contaminated water that they had not known could
This is real reporting, folks. For the full series, go to Uranium
Mines on Navajo ReservationThe Legacy at the Arizona Republic.
But don"t stop there. The full
seven-part series can be found at the newspaper"s website.