Contaminated Water: Navajo Nation and Flint, MI

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By Jason Mullins:

There are several Native American populations with inadequate drinking water. Unlike the crises of Flint and Sebring these water crises have been happening to the Native American people for several years, some Native American areas for many decades.[1] These water issues that are happening in Native American land are not due to lead in the water but due to uranium. The federal government nine times out of ten knows that there is an issue in these areas but does nothing. Uranium is a radioactive element and can lead to kidney damage.[2] Uranium as well as lead is affecting the Native American populations all over the United States. (more…)

Mining Contamination on Pine Ridge

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By Janie Mackey:

For many tribal nations water contamination has become a focal point across the country.  The Oglala Lakota were moved to the Pine Ridge Reservation, which has would become contaminated from uranium mining.  The water contamination is not isolated however spread across the wells that provides water to the reservation.  Uranium contamination could lead to kidney failure and death.  (more…)

Water is Life, the Struggles of the Owen’s Valley Paiute People

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By James Finch:

As inhabitants of the Owens Valley, the Paiute people were surrounded by breathtaking scenery, until the juggernaut of American expansion came upon them in 1861. Located between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the White and Inyo Mountains, Owens Valley is naturally an arid environment due to the ‘rain shadow’ effect of the Sierras[1]. However, the snow-capped peaks of the nearby mountains bring water runoff to Owens Valley, which pools together in Owens Lake.

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In the Beginning There Was Only Water: The Blackfeet Nation

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By Diana Dellinger:

In America today, there are over 660,000 American Indian and Alaska Native people who lack access to clean and reliable water sources or basic sanitation.[1]   Because of this, Native peoples and communities find themselves in a perpetual battle against poor health, unstable economies and inconsistent education for Native children.

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A Trail of Tears and Polluted Waters for the Cherokee

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By Michael Brunger:

During the unforgiving winter of 1838-1839, over 15,000 Cherokee Indians were forced out of their homes in the Smokey Mountains into areas of Oklahoma designated by the U.S. government (U.S. Forest Service, 2017). At the end of the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee reached their destination in Eastern Oklahoma and said, “this will do” or “Tahlequah” (more…)

Negotiating the Middle Waters: Oil and Water Among the Osage and Standing Rock Sioux

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By Kevin Briceland:

The case of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma during the early nineteenth century illustrates how the expropriation and erosion of Indigenous landbases pose irrevocable threats to the sovereignty and survival of Indigenous peoples. Nearly a century after avaricious non-Osages murdered Osage tribal members over oil headrights, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation of North and South Dakota protested the dangers oil extraction and pipelines posed to the tribe’s water supply and sacred sites. (more…)