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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/v57h-8b97


AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

From Legacies of Extraction to Environmental Health Governance: Collaborative Research and Responses to the Impacts of Mining in Indigenous Communities


engaged anthropology

environmental justice


There are over one hundred sixty thousand (>160,000) abandoned hard rock mines in the Western United States, and many of them are on Native American lands (Lewis, Hoover, and Mackenzie 2017). Worldwide there is a well-documented dialectical relationship between transnational mining corporations and local Indigenous communities. Stuart Kirsch claims that “mining companies and indigenous peoples regard each other as their greatest threat” (2014, 8). Numerous studies have been published on an array of environmental health effects from living near abandoned mine lands (AMLs), and abandoned uranium mines (AUMs) in particular. This problem becomes even more concerning in the “mineral age,” a term that indicates the global expansion and intensification of mineral resource extraction, and the social and environmental impacts that have occurred since the beginning of the twenty-first century (Jacka 2018). Given the scale and magnitude of the problem of AMLs and AUMs, and because this trend is accelerating, this session will focus on different manifestations of the mineral age in ethnographic detail, and account for deeper historical conditions that have contributed to this current moment of extraction. What is emergent or seemingly new, qualitatively different, about energy and mineral resource extraction in the last two decades, and what historical circumstances become relevant for understanding these situations? What lessons can be drawn from AMLs in our respective fields of study for a broader, international audience•Indigenous and non-Native communities around the world who have been impacted by and are responding to an increasing number of AMLs? There are different, often conflicting historical periodizations of the growth and development of industrial mining and metallurgy, which offer political coordinates of inquiry and intervention. Against the claims that tend to naturalize and normalize mining as something all civilizations have done•the actual bedrock underlying cultural epochs•we seek to describe the qualitative differences of late industrial extraction in the mineral age, and the dialectical relationship between settler-colonial regimes of mineral and energy resource extraction and Indigenous lives and livelihoods. This session will explore interdisciplinary possibilities for collaboration with environmental health scientists, Native and non-Native community partners, policy-makers, and regulatory agencies in co-designing “interventions” to attenuate environmental health risks and impacts from heavy metals exposures from AMLs. In this roundtable session, we will discuss the following themes at the intersection of political ecology, science and technology studies (STS), and critical Indigenous studies of settler colonialism: • Indigenous data sovereignty and research autonomy • Settler-colonial determinants of health • Toxic infrastructures of mineral and energy resource extraction • Social science collaboration in environmental health sciences • Critical multi-stakeholder analysis • Community-based participatory research (CBPR) • Tribal or traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) • Comparative epistemology and relational ontology • Decolonizing methodologies • Critical Indigenous STS and Native science • Ethnographic refusal and scalable scholarship


Transcript English (automatic)

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