'A deadly, toxic slime': Spokane Tribe battles environmental fallout of shuttered uranium mine
November 10, 2020
WELLPINIT, Wash. — The concept of environmental racism emerged from the environmental movement of the 70s and 80s, but was a lived experience for communities of color long before that, and one too many continue to suffer today.
A consequence of systemic racism, it’s the disproportionate burden of environmental impacts on Black, indigenous and people of color groups, according to Isabel Carrera Zamanillo, diversity and inclusion program specialist at the University of Washington College of the Environment. That can mean proximity to pollution, unfair policies or limited access to natural resources.
The Spokane Tribe’s experience with the legacy of uranium mining on their Eastern Washington reservation is an illustration of environmental racism. The reservation was established in 1881, and the tribe lived in region long before.