The Yakama Nation and the Cleanup of Hanford: Contested Meanings of Environmental Remediation

Authors: Daniel A. Bush

Disciplines: Environmental Studies, Ethics, Health, History, Law, Native American Studies, Political Science and Public Administration

Themes: Energy, Environmental Justice, Environmental Restoration, Federal and State Relations and Policy, Health and Wellness, Intergovernmental Relations, Land, Law and Justice, Treaty Rights and Sovereignty

Tribes: Confederated Tribes of Yakama

In 1988 the former Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeastern Washington was designated a Superfund site, and the federal government assumed the responsibility to clean the area of contaminants and toxic waste and make it safe for human use. This case investigates the complex relationship of Native Americans to that cleanup effort. More specifically it looks at the role of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation in the cleanup process, and while doing so raises questions about environmental security, justice and ethics, contested concepts of the cleanup and its aftermath, and severe challenges regarding treaty rights and obligations.