Welcome to “Uranium Fever: Uranium Mining, Culture, Health, and the Environment in the Four Corners Region.” This digital museum exhibit showcases images and documents from Fort Lewis College’s Center of Southwest Studies’ collections on uranium mining and uranium mill tailings removal.
During the post-World War II era, government officials and industry executives harkened to a mythologized version of the country’s frontier legacy to promote a uranium boom that fueled the Cold War arms race and nuclear energy development.
The onset of “uranium fever” contributed to the Four Corner region’s unique cultural identity in a meaningful way, but it also left serious questions about the uranium mining industry’s long-term effects on health and the environment, especially in regards to Native people and their lands. This exhibit seeks to provoke discussion about these topics by exploring novel approaches to the history of mining in the region.
Part I: The Turner Thesis and the Mythologized Frontier
The identity of the Four Corners region is inexorably linked with images of rugged pioneers who settled the vast, inhospitable wilderness by virtue of their sheer determination. The roots of the region’s mining industry validate that story, at least at first glance.
For the source of this terrific digital resource: https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/exhibitions/uranium-fever