The American Sociological Association has a good summary of the study:
Military Hazards Are Greater for Native Americans, According to Sociological Research
The research, conducted by Gregory Hooks, chair of the WSU Department of Sociology, and Chad L. Smith, Texas State University-San Marcos professor and a former WSU graduate student, provides evidence that Native American lands tend to be located in the same county as sites deemed to be extremely dangerous due to the presence of a variety of unexploded military ordnance.
The researchers study, "The Treadmill of Destruction: National Sacrifice Areas and Native Americans," appears in the most recent issue of the American Sociological Review, the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association.
"The study demonstrates that much of the disproportional exposure of Native Americans to environmental dangers throughout the 20th century was the result of militarism, rather than economic competition," Hooks said. "And it shows that historically coercive governmental policies in locating Indian reservations are a major factor in determining their exposure."
One of the money quotes:
Even after accounting for a number of factors that influence the location of military bases and unexploded ordnance, "Native American lands," according to the authors, "are positively associated with the count of extremely dangerous sites. The more acres owned by Native Americans, the greater the number of such sites... This 'treadmill of destruction,' as we call it in our research, has systematically placed Native Americans in close proximity to extremely dangerous military sites."
This study shook me up, because I realized how easy it is to forget, even though I have lived in New Mexico most of my life, that the Native Americans in my own state are subject to this toxic legacy.
The Los Alamos Study Group describes a nuclear waste disposals site called Area G.
Why this is important to our discussion (map/figure follows text):
The land labeled "San Ildefonso Indian Pueblo" in the map is a congressionally-protected Sacred Area. It borders Area G along its northern boundary. Beyond this, the next areas for expansion include the "North Site," located just north of the existing Mesita del Buey sites in the same Technical Area 54, and a very large area located in Technical Area 67 (see figure below; note large scale of map). The boundaries of "Area G" are thus quite elastic, and there is no regulatory limit to the rate or amount of nuclear waste that could be disposed on the Pajarito Plateau.
And the Kossacks in Washington State and Oregon probably know all about the Umatilla chemical weapons (nerve gas) depot, which is dangerously close to the Umatilla reservation:
--Statement from Donald Sampson, Board of Trustees of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
"Our Tribal Government has identified serious problems with the chemical weapons incineration proposal that the US Army has proposed for the Umatilla Army Depot. These problems place the people, resources and economy of all northeastern Oregon at grave risk, including the people, resources and economy of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation...
"And the Army has failed to consider the threat to the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Their plans use models that assume the earth is flat. They don't consider the topography of this region or the air patterns that occur near the foothills of the Blue Mountains, where our Reservation and the City of Pendleton are located...The Umatilla Reservation is located a mere 30 miles directly downwind from the Army's proposed incinerators."
There are so many more examples (like the Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington state). I sincerely hope that everyone can see that this profoundly affects Native Americans all over the country, as mentioned in the study.
Comments are closed on this story.