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K'é bee da' ahiiniita: Strength Through the Diné (Navajo) Clan System to Respond to the Gold King Mine Spill

There are estimates of over 500,000 abandoned mines in the US, many with the potential to impact health and economies of local communities. Developing a successful model of capacity building related to spill response has great potential to be valuable not only to the Diné but to communities vulnerable to environmental problems throughout the world. The K’é bee da’ahiiniita: Strength Through the Diné (Navajo) Clan System team focused on creating transformational change in the relationship of the Diné to the US government and other entities by building tribal capacity through training of Diné tribal college students, environmental interns, and community health representatives. Before this project, a study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences was done to assess the short-term exposure and risk perceptions of the Gold King Mine spill. This project received funding support from the Agenese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice in the form of a Challenge Grant. 

Researchers for this project spanned multiple colleges and communities. A list of collaborators that are not currently part of the College of Public Health has been provided below. 

  • Janene Yazzie, To’Bee Nihi Dziil,
  • Mae-Gilene Begay, Navajo Community Health Representatives,
  • Perry Charley, Diné College,
  • Jani Ingram, Northern Arizona University,
  • Manley Begay, Northern Arizona University,
  • Rebecca Clausen, Fort Lewis College,
  • Nicolette Teufel-Shone, Northern Arizona University 
Start Year: 
2016
End Year: 
2019
MEZCOPH Researchers: 

The University of Arizona