Community Driven University Partnerships to Assess Exposures and Risk Perceptions of Dine Communities Following the Gold King Mine Spill

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar

Dr. Karletta Chief

Associate Professor and Extension Specialist,
Historian, UA Native Faculty Association
Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences

University of Arizona

On August 5, 2015, 3 million gallons of acid mine drainage was released from the Gold King Mine, eventually reaching the San Juan River - the lifeblood of the Navajo Nation. 
This talk will share the experiences of building community and university partnerships to quickly develop and implement a community-based risk assessment in the wake of this environmental disaster. Central to this effort has been the development of a network of Dine community partners from the affected chapters that have guided the university researchers in designing and implementing a culturally appropriate study that addresses the community's concerns. A key focus has been on building capacity for assessing environmental exposures through training of Dine tribal college students, environmental interns, and community health representatives. To date nearly a hundred students (half Dine) and 25 community members have collaborated and participated in data collection, interpretation, and dissemination. Given the potential for future catastrophic mine spills in the Western United States, findings will be used to develop a model of community capacity-building aimed at empowering affected communities to collect samples, minimize impacts, and engage in informed-decision making. 

Reception to follow in south Atrium, Dow environmental Sciences Building, sponsored by Michigan Tech chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. 

Sponsored by the Michigan Tech Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, the Department of Social Sciences, the School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, the Great Lakes Research Center, and the Sustainable Futures Institute.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.

Electrical Energy Resources Center (EERC), 103
1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


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