WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Dariel Yazzie, Environmental Assistant Director for the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes a deep breath when asked about why the cleanup of uranium mines on the Navajo Nation is important to him.

“It’s personal,” he said.

Yazzie shares that it has impacted his health and many of his family members’ health.

Yazzie grew up in Cane Valley, southeast of Monument Valley, and said his maternal grandfather Luke Yazzie Sr. found uranium mill tailings less than a mile from their homestead. Their home was demolished in 2009 because of the contamination.

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Photo Credit: Kathy Helms/Gallup Independent via AP