Saturday, April 19, 2008
Mount Taylor Uranium Mine on Sacred Native Land
Mount Taylor, an 11,300 foot high peak in New Mexico is considered a sacred cultural site to the the Navajo, Hopi, Laguna, Acoma and Zuni peoples. A mining permit is being sought to reopen a uranium mining operation. "The uranium mining permitting process is never in the best interest of the pueblos and tribes, especially within the proposed traditional cultural properties area. All we are asking is to have a fair process to determine the traditional cultural properties on Mount Taylor" (Zuni Pueblo Councilman Arden Kuncate).
Members of the the Zuni have lived for decades with the threat of radiation poisoning from more than 1,000 mining sites abandoned after the Cold War. According to the L.A. Times, close to 4 million tons of uranium ore were mined between 1944 and 1986, mostly taken from Navajo soil, for use in atomic weapons. The Navajo people inhaled radioactive dust from the mining operations, drank contaminated water, as did their livestock, and built homes from the rock piles left by the uranium mines and mills. The nuclear power industry is actively applying for new permits to resume mining and milling in this area of New Mexico. Report and photographs Copyright Eve Andrée Laramée