Native American Tribe Becomes First to Head Cleanup of Federal Hazardous Waste Site
An article posted on Tulsa World’s website, an Oklahoma-based newspaper, dove into the details of this historic occurrence. The Quapaw Tribe has officially become the first Native American tribe to head the clean-up of a federal hazardous waste site. Quapaw, OK was once a mining site for zinc and lead from the 1930′s to the 1970′s. This land has been home to the Quapaw Tribe since the 1800′s, and once held a Catholic church, and boarding school on it’s property.
After the mine was closed, large amounts of waste fragments were left behind. This created severe problems in the area. Children who grew up in the area were showing signs of learning disabilities, and high levels of lead in their blood. Faced with this problem, Quapaw Tribe Chairman John Berry said “We want to make beneficial use out of the property, and we’re going to be here after it’s cleaned up.”
Talks between the tribe and the EPA began in 2012, and the project began last December. It’s expected to finish by the end of the summer.
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