Thursday, 10 April 2014

America's nuclear legacy casts a toxic shadow on Navajo lands

Perry Charley has spent nearly 40 years trying to heal his land.
Charley, a 62-year-old political and social activist, has lived his entire life on Navajo territory in New Mexico, and he speaks of its beauty with both reverence and melancholy. In the 1940s, just before he was born, a uranium mining boom swept across the Navajo Nation and other parts of the western United States, and soon accelerated as the US looked to expand its nuclear weapons program during the Cold War. The economic opportunities at first seemed bright for the Navajo, though they didn't fully understand the scope of the industry, or the risks it entailed.
"We saw an opportunity for money, for jobs. We saw an opportunity to make life a little better," says Charley,...
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