UA SRP trainee Kimberly Danny organizes activist panel on uranium contamination and exposure in Navajo communities

On April 23, Kimberly Danny, University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) trainee (mentored by Dr. Karletta Chief and Dr. Mark Brusseau), organized a panel discussion at the UA entitled “Restoring K'e: The Lessons Learned to Heal Our People, Our Land, and Our Waters from Uranium Contamination”.

The Restoring K’é Conference 2018 is a series of five events focused on uranium contamination and exposure in Navajo communities. Created in collaboration with the Colorado Plateau Foundation and Tolani Lake Enterprises, the free events were held from March to April, all around Arizona.

Danny’s uranium panel included activists Tommy Rock, a Northern Arizona University Ph.D graduate who studied uranium effects on sheep and water; Sarana Riggs of Haul No and the Grand Canyon Trust; Leana Morgan, co-founder of Diné No Nukes and Haul No; Klee Benally, project coordinator of Indigenous Action Media; and Christopher Yazzie, a researcher from the UA Environmental Engineering Department.

Danny said the goal of her panel was to bring awareness to the UA community about the effects of uranium on the Navajo reservation, as well as to connect activists with each other. 

“I feel like there’s always a plethora of methods of being an activist. You could be a researcher, you can go the long route, you could be right on the ground,” Danny said. “It’s helpful to bring them all together, to see how they can help each other.”

The event included presentations from UA SRP investigators Dr. Raina Maier, Dr. Karletta Chief and Dr. Mark Brusseau, as well as student presentations from Carrie 

Nuva Joseph and Lydia Jennings, both UA SRP trainees. After the panel discussion, the participants toured the Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants and individual laboratories run by Dr. Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, Dr. Raina Maier, Dr. Bob Arnold, and Dr. Paloma Beamer.

This was Danny’s first time organizing a conference event, and while she was busy, she wasn’t nervous until the day of the conference.

“It was tough, but not too bad,” Danny said. “I think people liked it, especially the Navajo students here, and anyone affected by the uranium. They got a lot of value from the remediation methods, so how to clean up uranium and just getting an idea of that and maybe bring it on a more community scale.”

The UA SRP congratulates Kimberly Danny on her efforts to organize a successful and informative conference event!