Michael Paul Hill: Agent Orange affects San Carlos Apache Tribe

Moonrise over the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona. Photo by John Fowler

Michael Paul Hill, a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona, continues to seek justice for the federal government's use of Agent Orange on the reservation in the 1960s:
For the past several years, I have been observing many people from San Carlos and Globe succumbing to the devastating illness of cancers and like problems. Even though cancer is only one disease there is a myriad of illnesses that we have in epidemic proportions here in Gila and Graham counties mainly due to the use of 2-4-5 TP chemicals (dioxin and furans) aka. ‘agent orange,’ that was sprayed in the 1960’s first in San Carlos then in the Pinal Mountains near Globe, Arizona.

In 1962, the San Carlos Apache Tribe permitted the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the US Geological Survey to test 2-4-5 TP or Agent Orange in the Gila and San Carlos Rivers. The reason for the spraying of our lands was to remove salt cedar vegetation along the river and water ways. Salt cedars soak up and use a lot of water while growing. This is why we can see the salt cedar growth along the Gila River near the Bylas Bridge in mass amounts. The Agent Orange chemical, which is dioxin and furans, has nothing to stop the growing of the salt cedars along the river. In 1970, the US Geological Survey justified the use of the deadliest chemical on earth to remove these invasive Salt Cedars but to no avail.

Rather than removing the Salt Cedar to obtain optimum water runoff from summer torrential rains, we have been invaded with many types of illnesses in our community ranging from birth defects, heart diseases, cancers of all kinds, diabetes type 1 and 2, thyroid problems, memory issues such as Alzheimer’s, and the list goes on and on. Let us come to the reasoning fact that we were used as lab rats to test the effects of the chemical on the body of Apaches and our neighbors in the Globe area in which we are dealing with the causal effect in our bodies to this very day.

Read More on the Story:
Michael Paul Hill: Dioxin, Furans, and Ailments (Indian Country Today 10/8)

Related Stories
Michael Paul Hill: Agent Orange sprayed on Arizona reservation (03/06)
Michael Paul Hill: Save sacred Apache lands from exploitation (02/03)

Join the Conversation