The Return of Navajo Boy

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American Society for Environmental History Conference, Phoenix, Arizona

Published: March 10, 2011
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The ASEH conference will host a special screening of The Return of Navajo Boy on Friday, April 15 at the Wyndam Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona. The event will take place from 8:30 to noon in Salon 6 of the hotel.

“Environmental Justice in Arizona and Beyond”
Friday, April 15, 8:30 – 12:00 noon
Conference hotel, Salon 6 (conference level)
Organized by ASEH’s diversity committee, this half-day public workshop will cross cultural and socio-economic boundaries, combining historians of ASEH with indigenous and environmental justice scholars, grassroots groups, and elders of the Navajo Nation.

The workshop will provide interaction between the educators who teach, study, and write environmental history with those living with the effects of resource extraction and uranium contamination on the Navajo Nation. We will view the award winning documentary “The Return of Navajo Boy,” introduced by the film producer and director, Jeff Spitz, and two Navajo Nation elders who are featured in the film: Elsie Mae Begay and Perry Charley. The film resulted in reuniting a family, compensation for a former uranium miner, and an investigation of contamination in homes built with radioactive debris from uranium mines. The Navajo (Diné, “the People”) have been disproportionately exposed to pollution from resource extraction.

After the 75 minute film, the three will be joined by additional presenters to share their perspectives and discuss with the audience the challenges to the sustainability and health of the Navajo Nation. Lori Goodman, belongs to Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment (Diné CARE), an all-Navajo environmental organization that helped pass the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA, 1990) and is currently resisting the development of the Desert Rock Coal Plant. Samantha Chisholm Hatfield is one of the first Oregon State University PhD students to complete an Environmental Science dissertation on the TEK of the Siletz Tribe in 2009 and she will add her perspective as a TEK educator. Sylvia Hood Washington, an expert in environmental justice issues, will add a broader context to the discussion. Laurel MacDowell brings her expertise on uranium issues in Canada.

Moderator: Laurel MacDowell, (University of Toronto)
Elsie Mae Cly Begay (Diné)
Perry Charley (Diné, Diné College’s Uranium Education Project and Environmental Institute, NAS Committee on Improving Practices for Regulating and Managing Low-Activity Radioactive Wastes)
Jeff Spitz (Executive Director, Groundswell Educational Films)
Samantha Chisholm Hatfield, PhD (Siletz-Cherokee, Oregon State University)
Lori Goodman (Diné CARE)

For more details, see the following flyer:

Order our award-winning film, The Return of Navajo Boy on DVD today!

One Response to “American Society for Environmental History Conference, Phoenix, Arizona”

  1. I so wish I could have been in Phoenix to see this film and panel discussion. I saw Return of Navajo Boy about 10 or 12 years ago and thought that it was very powerful.

    Lori Goodman is a very good speaker with an important story to tell about the Dine people and their struggles with the legacy of uranium mining in Dinetah. Her organization Dine CARE was one of the first environmental justice groups among the indigenous peoples of the Southwest.

    If you have not seen Return of Navajo Boy I highly recommend it!

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