Post by Demian DinéYazhi' (@demiandineyazhi) on Fri, 10 Oct 14 23:30:27 +0000 View Full Post AUSTERITYMEASURESDemian DinéYazhi'Leetso (Yellow Dirt), 2014My latest piece references the Church Rock uranium spill that occurred near my hometown of Gallup, NM in the summer of 1979. The incident is often noted as the worst nuclear accident to occur in the United States. 1100 tons of uranium mining tailings, and 100 gallons of radioactive water burst through United Nuclear's earthen dam, into the Rio Puerco, located on the Navajo Nation. It also references the time period between 1944-1986, when nearly four million tons of Uranium ore were irresponsibly extracted from the Navajo Nation under initial false pretenses.The EPA's website states, "Today the mines are closed, but a legacy of uranium contamination remains, including over 500 abandoned uranium mines (AUMs) as well as homes and drinking water sources with elevated levels of radiation. Potential health effects include lung cancer from inhalation of radioactive particles, as well as bone cancer and impaired kidney function from exposure to radionuclides in drinking water."One woman, Helen Cly Myerson, had to this to say about the incident when recounting her childhood, "Being a Navajo and living on the reservation, it's like, to me, the government doesn't look at us like first priority. We're like at the bottom of the foundation and nobody cares about us."Growing up on the reservation, I spent summers with my grandparents at their house in Chinle, AZ. My grandfather was a Code Talker. These houses were issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The last time I went home my parents told me those houses were torn down due to health concerns involving radon.Native lives are not expendable.Human lives are not replaceable.Leetso (Yellow Dirt), 2014, will be on display at Portland State University's Littman Gallery (1825 SW Broadway, Portland, OR), until October 31st, 2014.