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Jared Yazzie, Chemical Warfare

Seven Generations 2020

Jared Yazzie
Diné
born 1989 Holbrook, Arizona; lives Tempe, Arizona
Chemical Warfare
2015
digital print
lent by the artist

Uranium mining on the Navajo Nation has been taking place since the 1940s, when the US government began looking for a cheaper, domestic source for uranium ore to build nuclear weapons. Between 1944 and 1989, nearly 4 million tons of uranium ore were extracted from more than 1,000 mines on the Navajo Nation. While the mines provide much-needed jobs to people in the community, the process of extracting uranium has deadly effects, such as lung cancer and birth defects. Miners, their families, and people living near the mines were not informed of the harmful effects of uranium mining, despite scientists understanding the dangers.

This design by Jared Yazzie, founder of OXDX Clothing, reflects on the tension between the economic and environmental effects of the mines on the Diné. The design is also meant to increase awareness about the ongoing dangers of resource extraction, as some mines continue to operate and exacerbate the COVID-19 pandemic.