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Buu V. Nygren: 'Oppenheimer' misses uranium’s deadly grip on the Navajo

1 min read

We must recognize the continued suffering and sacrifice of the Navajo that built the atomic era, writes Buu V. Nygren in Time magazine. Nygren is the 10th and youngest President of the Navajo Nation.

In a nutshell:

Oppenheimer brings to light the dark history of the Church Rock uranium mill spill, where 94 million gallons of radioactive waste devastated the Navajo Nation, causing cancers, miscarriages and mysterious illnesses. The film, however, glosses over the suffering of the Navajo people, who were exploited to supply uranium for nuclear weapons and energy development without being informed of the dangers of radiation exposure. Despite the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act passed in 1990, many Navajo families have not received just compensation for the long-lasting health and environmental effects of uranium mining on their land.

Key quote:

"The legacy of uranium mining on the Navajo is a perpetual blemish on our nation’s history with its Native people, and the disregard of our stories from media and movies like Oppenheimer can’t mean a continued erasure in U.S. policy."

The big picture:

Uranium mining in the United States has had devastating impacts on indigenous communities. For decades, these communities supplied uranium for nuclear weapons and energy development without adequate safety measures or proper compensation. The lack of information and awareness about the dangers of radiation exposure led to serious health issues among the miners and their families, including cancers and other radiation-related illnesses.

Read Buu V. Nygren's piece at Time.

Uranium mining is irrefutably intertwined with Native Americans' long, notorious struggle for environmental justice, writes Brian Bienkowski as part of EHN'sSacred Water series.

About the author(s):

EHN Staff

Articles written and posted by staff at Environmental Health News

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