Navajos are primarily located in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico states. These people are descendants of the Navajo Nation, a Native American Tribe. Over the past decades, their homeland has been ecologically polluted, and the residents are being slowly poisoned every day. The problems of access to clean water, uranium mining, and climate change are all connected and only become more complex with time.
The Navajo Nation suffers from the lack of clean water on its land. That happened because of more than one thousand abandoned uranium mines on their land. It has been proven that “ninety-nine percent of US residents have access to clean water in their homes, while in the Navajo region, only sixty percent can use it” (Vice News, 2015, 01:16-01:28). The whole issue is in the fact that the abandoned uranium mines were not removed, but instead, new ones were being built. The more government waits, the more poisoned this land becomes. Some of the Navajos need to ride up to five miles to fill one barrel of drinking water. One of the most dangerous things about it is that radioactive water does not smell, look or taste different. Vice News state that “there are still over five hundred abandoned mines with radioactivity levels ten to twenty-five above what is considered to be safe” (2015, 06:51-07:00). The price for fixing the situation is a minimum of five billion dollars.
However, the role of the Environmental Protection Agency in this area is not enough. Klee Benally says that “over twenty thousand Danette or Navajo people have been forcibly relocated from their homelands because of uranium activities” (Democracy Now, 2014, 03:46-03:55). Native Americans banned all uranium mining activities, but there are tribal councils nowadays that sell their land. EPA needs to become more involved and interested in residents’ lives and health.
To conclude, the rights of the Navajo Nation are being forgotten because at least forty percent of a hundred of thousand people continue to live without access to one of the most essential things – water. The poisoning of the region’s soil can also become a horrible problem. The changes have to come to save tens of thousands of lives.
Democracy Now. (2014). A slow genocide of the people: uranium mining leaves toxic nuclear legacy on indigenous land [Video]. Youtube.
Vice News. (2015). Living without water: contamination nation [Video]. Vice Video.