Resources regarding Environmental issues impacting Indigenous communities in New Mexico


Indigenous Worldview:

Williamson, Verna. Spirituality and the Native Earth. Talking Leaves. Summer/Fall 1999, Volume 9, Number 2: A Sense of Place.

Cordova PhD, Viola. Native American Philosophies. 2002. Lecture: When the Sacred is Mundane. Corvallis: Oregon State University.

Thornton, Russell. American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492. American Indian Quarterly. 1990. Vol. 14, No.1. pp. 85-87. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Goodkind, Jessica R., Hess, Julia Meredith, Gorman, Beverly, Parker, Danielle P.2012. . We’re Still in a Struggle: Dine Resilience, Survival, Historical Trauma, and Healing. Qualitative Health Research. (8):1019-36


Climate Change:

Native Americans Most at Risk From Impact of Climate Change:

Mescalero Apache tribe adapts to warmer and drier climate: & gas

Pueblo of Tesuque: Water Scarcity and Fire Management in a Changing Environment:


The Navajo Nation’s Shifting Sands of Climate:


Santa Clara Pueblo & Wildfires:

Wildfire impacts on Santa Clara Pueblo: The New Mexico Environment Department. 2013. Wildfire Impacts on Surface Water Quality. (accessed January 1-May 31, 2017).

Water Crisis

Many Americans would be surprised to learn that 1.6 million people in the United States still lack access to complete plumbing facilities. Poor quality water access predominantly affects vulnerable groups like communities of color, tribal communities, immigrants, and extremely low-income people in rural areas (US Water Alliance & DigDeep).

On the Navajo Nation, 40 percent of people lack access to running water. This CBS aired video summarizes the present needs of Navajo communities in New Mexico and company that is working on community generated solutions:

For more information, watch this ABC News video about electricity in Navajo Nation and read the UN's policy of water being a "basic human right."


Navajo Nation Tuberculosis & Public Health:

Biography of Annie Dodge Wauneka: Water Rights:


Navajo Nation Water Rights:

Arizona Daily Sun. 2007. Documentary focuses on Navajo water rights on PBS (accessed January 11, 2017).

Gies, Erica. April 22, 2016.  The Navajo are fighting to get their water back. (accessed January 11, 2017).

Office of the State Engineer. July, 2011. Navajo Nation Water Resource Development Strategy (Draft). Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources.

EPA. Navajo Nation. Unregulated Water Source Sampling Results. October, 2009. (accessed January 1-May 31, 2017).

Wishart, David J. Encyclopedia of the Plain. 2011. Winter’s Doctrine. (accessed January 1-May 31, 2017).

Office of the State Engineer/Interstate Stream Commission. Water Rights in the San Juan River Basin in New Mexico. (accessed January 1-May 31, 2017).

U.S. Department of the Interior. Sec. Salazar Signs Decision on Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, Clearing Way for Historic Water Rights Settlement. 2009. (accessed March 9, 2018).

Fleck, John. Albuquerque Journal. Whitehorse Lake sees flowing water at last. (accessed January 5, 2014).


Environmental Racism

The definition of environmental racism is defined as the placement of hazardous materials in areas of high minority individuals or economically destitute populations. Native American lands have been a place where high levels of radioactive materials have been dumped. Hispanic populations are more likely to live near hazardous landfill sites, and African American populations are more likely to live near industrial facilities and uncontrolled toxic waste sites. In New Mexico, disproportionate dumping, storing, and producing hazardous materials has caused toxic air, land and water which have increased the risk of health problems and shorter life spans. 



Minard, Anne. Indian Country Today. Diné CARE, environmental groups sue interior over Navajo Coal Plant. (accessed May 5, 2016).

Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission. 2012. Public Hearing Report. The Impact of the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1974 P.L. 93-531 et al. (accessed April 1 - May 31, 2017).

Farmington Daily Times. 2017. Navajo Generation Station’s owners weigh options. (accessed January 4, 2017).

Shields LM, Wiese WH, Skipper BJ, Charley B, Benally L. Navajo birth outcomes in the Shiprock uranium mining area. Health Physics; 63:542-51, Nov. 1992. (accessed April 1 - May 31, 2017).

Greenpeace International. About coal mining impacts. 2016. (accessed March 9, 2018).

LaDuke, Winona. Indian Country Today. July 31, 2013. Monster Slayers: Can the Navajo Nation Kick the Coal Habit? (accessed March 9, 2018).



New Mexico Independent. Mount Taylor’s spiritual and cultural values merit new protection. 2016. (accessed January 1-May 31 2017).

Landry, Alysa. Indian Country Today. Tribes fight to regain traditional cultural property designation for Mount Taylor. 2012. (accessed January 1-May 31 2017).

Gerard, David. Property and Environmental Research Center. The Mining Law of 1872: Digging a Little Deeper. (accessed January 1-May 31 2017).

Tohe, Robert. Rio Grande Sierra Club. New Uranium Mine threatens Mount Taylor. (accessed: November 22, 2016).

Matlock, Staci. Santa Fe NewMexican. Court ruling will help protect Mount Taylor. February 6, 2014. (accessed: November 22, 2016).

Los Alamos: Where discoveries are made. Los Alamos Heritage. (accessed: March 9, 2018).

Devine, Jacqueline. USA Today. Alamagordo News. 2016. Tularosa downwinders to protest at Trinity Site. (accessed: November 29, 2016).

Associated Press. Albuquerque Tribune. Cyanide, Other Poisons Found in Los Alamos Storm Runoff.  September 12, 2000, A2.


Nuclear Waste & Storage:

Nuclear Active organization. November 23, 2016. SRIC and NRDC Address NEPA Requirements for Reopening WIPP. (accessed January 1-May 31, 2017).

Nuclear Active organization. November 18, 2016. In Rush to Reopen WIPP, DOE Ignores the Safer “Clean Salt” Option. (accessed January 1-May 31, 2017).

Madres, Brett. Storage and ‘Disposal’ of Nuclear Waste. March 18, 2011. (accessed January 1-May 31, 2017).

Ewing, Rodney C. Nature materials. 2006.  Long-term storage of nuclear fuel. (accessed January 1-May 31, 2017).

Hasan, S. E. ed. by D. Sarkar, R. Datta and R. Hannigan. 2007. International Practice in High-level Nuclear Waste Management in Concepts and Applications in Environmental Geochemistry. Boston: Elsevier.

Nuclear Waste Aqui organization. Press Release. Citizens Oppose HR 3053 – Nuclear Waste Policy Act Amendments of 2017. (accessed February 1, 2018).

Potential storage of nuclear waste on the Mescalero Apache nation:

The Mescalero Apache and Monitored Retrievable Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel: A Study in Environmental Ethics:


Isleta Pueblo- Water Issues:

Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety. 2016. Kirtland Overstated Technical Conclusions about Jet Fuel Plume. (accessed March 24, 2017).

Department of Interior. Pueblo of Isleta Settlement and Natural Resources Restoration Act of 2006. (accessed March 9, 2017).

Williams, Ed.  Small Tribe, Big River: Isleta Eyes Pollution In The Rio Grande. 2015. (accessed March 9, 2017).

Abeita, Christopher. Albuquerque Manager Admits Plant Was Not Prepared for Sewage Spill. 2015. (accessed March 9, 2017).


Sacred Sites

Chaco Canyon:

Torrez, Robert. New Mexico Office of the State Historian. Ancient Peoples of New Mexico. (accessed: January 4, 2017).

Western Environmental Law. 2015. Press Release: BLM Defers Fracking Near New Mexico’s Sacred Chaco Canyon. (accessed: January 4, 2017).

Coleman, Michael. Albuquerque Journal. 2018. Zinke Cancels Chaco Canyon lease sale.


Zuni Salt Lake:

Zuni sacred site saved from coal strip mine development in New Mexico:

The battle for Zuni Salt Lake:

Taos “The Return of Blue Lake”:

Petroglyph National Monument:

Legacy of Mining and the impacts on the Three Rivers:

Rodebaugh, Dale. 2012. The Durango Herald. The eagle: At home along the Animas. (accessed July 8, 2012).

Thompson, Jonathan. High Country News. 2015. Animas River spill: only the latest in 150 years of pollution. Mapping the other threats to the animas and San Juan Rivers.

Thompson, Jonathan. High Country News. 2015. When our river turned orange. Nine things you need to know about the Animas River mine waste spill. (accessed December 11, 2016).

Elliot, Dan. The Denver Post. 2016. EPA rejects $20.4 million in requests for Gold King Mine spill costs. (accessed December 11, 2016).

Navajo Nation Press Release. Navajo Nation Victorious in Initial Gold King Mine Spill Ruling. Navajo Nation Administrative Legal Secretary, Annabelle Henderson. February 14, 2018.


Mining history in New Mexico:

New Mexico Art Museum. New Mexico Art: Tells New Mexico History. (accessed November 19, 2016).

Jackpile-Paguate Uranium Mine site is located at the Laguna Pueblo:

Uranium mobility and accumulation along the Rio Paguate, Jackpile Mine in Laguna Pueblo, NM:



New Mexico Acequia Association.2017. Mayordomo Project. (accessed: April 3, 2017).

Gila River:

USDA Forest Service. 2013. Gila National Forest. (accessed March 16, 2012).

Massey, Barry. 2008. Las Cruces Sun-News. NM governor pledges to fight Gila River diversion. (accessed June 11, 2008).

Voices-National Geographic. Still Wild and Free, New Mexico’s Gila River is Again Under Threat. (Accessed September 11, 2011).

Williams, Chris. Truth-out organization. The Battle to Save New Mexico's Last Wild River. (Accessed September 11, 2011).

Environmental catastrophe of Bosque Redondo/Navajo Long Walk:

The Bosque Redondo Memorial. (accessed February 1-April 30, 2017).


Additional resources:

Environmental Justice I New Mexico:

Grinde, Donald A.; Johansen, Bruce E.; Zinn, Howard. 1994. Ecocide of Native America: Environmental Destruction of Indian Lands and Peoples. New Mexico: Clear Light Publishing.

Santa Clara artist addressing pollution: Smith, Bittanie. Creating Numbe Whageh: An uphill battle between cultures. The University Daily Kansan. (February 10, 2017).

TEWA Women United Environmental Justice Program:

The following resources are recommended if you are interested in learning more about Impacts on New Mexico communities and how you can help:

Amigos Bravos


Beyond the Mesas




Center of Excellence  for Hazardous materials Management


Communities for Clean Water


Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety


Conservation Voters of New Mexico


Diné C.A.R.E.

Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment


Gila Conservation Coalition


Earth Care- New Mexico


Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining – MASE


Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council


Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center


The Environmental Justice Coalition of Northern New Mexico

Environmental Education Association of NM


NM Environmental Law Center


Frack Off Greater Chaco


Honor the Earth – Navajo Homelands


Keep New Mexico Beautiful


MASE: Multicultural Alliance For A Safe Environment


Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project


National Environmental Justice Conference & Training


New Energy Economy-Santa Fe


NM Health Equity Partnership


New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty


New Mexico Environmental Health Organization


No Nuclear Waste Aqui


Nuclear Issues Study Group (NISG)


New Mexico Acequia Commission

NMAA is a unique organization that honors our legacy of water governance while also working to adapt for the future. For nearly 30 years, NMAA has been responding to challenges through communication, training, and education for acequias. Together we have built a movement around the principle that Water is Life, El Aqua es Vida, and that we are defenders of the precious waters that nurture our communities.


New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light



New Mexico PIRG fund


New Mexico Water Conservation Alliance

NM Wilderness Alliance


“On Poisoned Ground” – Chemical Heritage foundation


Project Coyote

Sacred Poison documentary


Santa Fe Watershed Association


Sierra Club – Rio Grande Chapter


Southwest Organizing Project


Southwest Research and Information Center


The Partnership for Earth Spirituality


Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium


The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium


Uncovered: New Mexico’s Farm Workers


University of New Mexico - Institute for the Study of  Race & Social Justice Dept


Water, Air & Land: A Sacred Trust

Documenting the Growing Assault on the Health of the Land of Enchantment


WildEarth Guardians


Yellow Fever