Many layers and emotions were exposed in the process of understanding the effects of uranium mining on landscapes, individuals and communities of Dine Lands. Hearing personal stories, visiting contaminated lands and better understanding the environmental and social injustices surrounding the mines, I felt overwhelmed with the weight of the impacts. The contamination has permeated elements of everyday life that we as humans need to ensure survival-- the Earth (Kéyah) , Air (níłchʼi), Life/Food (iiná), and Water (tó). The contamination is invisible to the eye, but insidious and embedded in landscape and life. Layers are revealed of distrust and unease of those elements that are necessary for life, but hold fear, illness and suffering.
As artists, we create pieces that explore our own experiences. In this case, I am distinctly aware that I have been welcomed into a community with very sensitive issues surrounding land and lives. My hope through this process is to have created images that are impactful, but also give a voice to those affected. I thank the community members of Cameron for welcoming us and all of those who shared their expertise and personal stories. I hope for increased awareness of the issue and healing to follow.
© Amy S. Martin Photography