Indian Self-Determination and Self-Governance Era 1968-present


Largest nuclear accident in U.S. on Navajo (Dine’) reservation in Church Rock, New Mexico

Rio Puerco. Image: Dicklyon
Rio Puerco. Image: Dicklyon

More than 1,100 tons of uranium waste gushes through a ruptured tailings mill dam, releasing more than 100 million gallons of radioactive water into the Rio Puerco (Nies, 1996). Livestock die and Dine’ cannot drink the water. When tested, the water has 6,000 times the allowable level of radioactivity. The contaminated river groundwater spreads through the Rio Puerco alluvium and the cleanup continues to this day.

Traumatic Event