Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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Contents

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Preface: In Search of Treasure

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pp. vii-xvi

In early August of 1864, a contingent of thirty-six U.S. soldiers, led by an army captain named John Thompson, left Fort Defiance in the northeastern corner of Arizona Territory and trudged north under the hot sun through the sprawling homeland of the Navajos. Diné Bikéyah, as Navajos call their...

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Introduction: Sacrificial Land

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pp. 1-26

Long before uranium was commonly known for its associations with both nuclear power and nuclear bombs, and long before atomic power took hold of the American public imagination as a fearsome signifier of new human relationships to technology, to the environment, and to each other, uranium...

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1. Empty Except for Indians: Early Impressions of Navajo Rangeland

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pp. 27-54

In 1934, a federal biologist named Waldo Lee McAtee was sent to Diné Bikéyah to study the Navajo rangeland, with a focus on the problem of soil erosion. McAtee was a seasoned biologist, having started his career thirty years earlier with the Bureau of Biological Survey in the Department of...

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2. Prospecting for Magic Ore in America’s New Frontier

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pp. 55-86

In 1955, twenty newspapers from towns across the Colorado Plateau—from Aspen, Colorado, to Grants, New Mexico—collaborated to produce an “Energy Edition,” which appeared in each of their papers as a hefty, 100-plus page supplement. The special supplement, the editors collectively...

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3. Cowboys and Indians in Navajo Country

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pp. 87-116

In mid-July 1950, on a red dirt horse trail that traversed a rocky formation known locally as Haystack Mountain, tiny puffs of dust kicked up behind a horse’s hooves as it ambled lazily behind a tall man in a tan cowboy hat. The trail smoldered in the late afternoon sun. As the man walked, he puffed...

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4. Hot Spots: Justice, Power, and Gender in the Radioactive Present

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pp. 117-150

On October 18, 1979, pronuclear women across the United States hosted over 4,000 meetings for their neighbors and friends to explain just how vital nuclear power was for women’s lives. Called “energy coffees,” these meetings featured speakers from the nuclear energy companies and pronuclear...

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5. Monsters and Mountains: Competing Geographies of Uranium

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pp. 151-184

The town of San Mateo, New Mexico, is nestled into a crook of Tsoodził’s western foothills. At an elevation of over 7,300 feet, San Mateo’s 160 residents live in modest and well- maintained country homes, clustered along curling roads lined with swaying cottonwood trees. Looking to the east from...

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6. The Big Hurt: Boom and Bust on Contested Ground

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pp. 185-210

In the eastern borderlands of the Navajo Nation, in the area encompassing the towns of Grants, Milan, and Prewitt, as well as Tsoodził and the Cibola National Forest, two country music stations compete for listeners on the FM dial. On 94.5 KYAT, the twangy final chords of Trace Adkins’s most...

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Conclusion: Zombie Mines

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pp. 211-218

In 1946, the U.S. Congress established the Indian Claims Commission to hear and litigate land claims made by Natives and settle those claims with monetary compensation for land lost as a result of the Dawes Act and other land-dispossessing U.S. policies. A major part of the work in Claims Commission...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 219-224

Writing a book is more alchemy than science; it takes seemingly endless resources and a focused methodology to be sure, but also hefty doses of both magic and faith. Thanks to a community of teachers and friends, this book survived the long transformation from idea, to dissertation, to finished...

Notes

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pp. 225-272

Index

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pp. 273-293