“I’ve learned it’s very important to educate colleagues that don’t have the honor of representing downwind communities, or uranium mine workers themselves, so that they can see from the families themselves that are leading this fight, that will be able to benefit from this package…which would offer justice where injustice has lived for almost eight decades.” — Ben Ray Luján
Arlene Juanico grew up in Paguate Village on the Pueblo of Laguna, about a mile from a uranium mine where she worked as a truck driver from 1975 to 1982.
Over the years, Juanico lost her grandmother, father and brother to cancer. She and her husband, Lawrence, who also worked in the mine, have been diagnosed with lung disease.
She said to this day, cancer rates in the small village are high, and many people need oxygen tanks to get around because of diseases that are likely linked to the village’s long history with uranium mining.