Environews, Environews, Minis

Environews: Navajo Nation sues over sacred river contamination

By Amy Brunvand

The Navajo Nation has named the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several gold mining companies in a lawsuit seeking damages for an accident that spilled three million gallons of toxic acid mine waste into the San Juan River watershed. The lawsuit states, “The River is one of four sacred rivers that are the boundaries of the Navajo universe. The four rivers are one whole, as the Earth Mother and the Navajo People are one whole in Navajo thinking. The San Juan and Colorado Rivers are the male sides, and the Rio Grande and Little Colorado are the female sides. The San Juan River is an integral part of the Navajo oral history, and was part of the Navajo ceremony when the Navajo ceremonies were learned from the holy people. Accordingly, it is a key component in all Navajo ceremonies, and is mentioned in all Navajo ceremonies.”

This article was originally published on September 7, 2016.