50 years ago
Uranium boom hits Navajo
By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times
March 6, 2014
Thousands of Navajos worked for the mines or the uranium mills that were scattered around the reservation, making fairly good money and enjoying life. That is until the mines and the mills shut down and many of those who worked for the mines and mills found themselves battling cancer.
But reporters in those days never realized the ill affects of uranium and if you read papers from those days, you would see that Navajo officials were promoting uranium mining on the reservation much like television promoted cigarette smoking as a healthy form of pleasure.
Take this AP article from 1954:
"By car, by horseback, afoot and from planes, Navajo tribal officials are scouring the Navajo Reservation for uranium."
Later newspapers reported that in one month alone, more than 133 prospecting permits were issued for lands on the reservation and its fringes.
Even the Indian traders realized that they were in the midst of a modern day gold rush.
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