Environmental justice is a prominent issue for Native American nations within the United States. One example is the abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation that have been left unremediated since the Cold War. Often, environmental policy is developed for issues facing Native American nations that do not include input from those nations. Instead, Native American nations should have the opportunity to address environmental issues using their traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). TEK has ties to natural laws long respected by tribal communities; these laws provide the foundation for addressing the complex relationship between nature and humans. Often, policy development addressing environmental concerns is determined by non-Native American stakeholders, which can have negative effects on the Native American communities. These policies harm Native Americans rather than ultimately helping them. The focus of this discussion is how TEK can play a role in environmental policy development for the Navajo Nation surrounding abandoned uranium mines.
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Vol. 92 • No. 1