Jodi Rave: Native people assert control of resources
"Mining corporations have stripped tons of valuable minerals from indigenous communities around the world, leaving a legacy of destruction.

But times are changing, summoning indigenous people to assert more power over their homelands.

“It's important for us to acknowledge the traditions of the indigenous people,” said Matt Jeschke, regional community relations manager in Salt Lake City for global mining giant Rio Tinto. “That's the way you need to operate if you want to be successful.”

Jeschke said indigenous people's ability to network globally has helped them gain a voice in a rapidly changing world.

Three years ago, the president of the largest land-based tribe in the United States signed a law banning uranium mining on the sprawling Navajo Reservation.

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley signed the Dine Natural Resources Protection Act in 2005 to eliminate future uranium mining damage to the tribe's culture, society and economy.

Traditional Navajo, or Dine, ceremonies and stories “warn that certain substances in the Earth, doo nal yee dah, that are harmful to the people should not be disturbed, and that the people now know that uranium is one such substance.”

Thousands of Dine still suffer from decades of uranium extraction that wreaked havoc on their health and homelands. The reservation is covered with 1,000 mines that still need to be cleaned up."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Indigenous people protecting land from extraction (The Missoulian 9/7)

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