Dine College received a $380,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to allow students to develop clean-up strategies for 50 of the most dangerous uranium mine sites.
The students will work with federal officials in assessing the Cove Watershed area of northeastern Arizona. They will study streams, unregulated wells and livestock waterholes to measure the level of radiation contamination.
Uranium has affected all areas of social life on the Navajo Reservation, according to Perry Charley, the director of Dine College’s Environmental Institute. In an attempt to reestablish harmony with nature, the project will merge traditional Navajo ecological ways with western scientific principles.
High uranium levels have been linked to bone and lung cancer along with kidney and various other diseases.
There are more than 500 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation. So far only about 10 of the sites have been cleaned up.