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Toxic Communities – Lesson 4

Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility Lesson 4

Chapter 3 “Internal Colonialism”: Native American Communities in the West

Hello and welcome to Southern Fried Socialist and Lesson 2 of Toxic Communities by Dorceta E. Taylor. I am using New York University Press guide to teaching Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility. Toxic Communities draws on a number of historical case studies, zoning laws, court cases, and racially-motivated decisions that have led to minority and low-income communities being placed in unsafe areas with little to no way out.

Professor Taylor graduated from Yale University with doctorates in Sociology, Forestry, and Environmental Studies. She is Professor in the school of natural resources and environment at the University of Michigan. Professor Taylor also serves as Field of Studies Coordinator for the Environmental Justice Program.

Big Idea:

Certain parts of the country are seen and treated as internal colonies when it comes to the extraction and processing of hazardous materials – especically the South, Southwest, and Native American reservations.

Essential Questions:

  1. Why do Native Americans stay on their reservations despite proximity to hazardous waste sites?
  2. What quality makes Native American reservations seem reasonable to dump waste?
  3. How do you believe income inequality plays into the


Aegis – the protection, backing, or support of a particular person or organization.

First-Nationsthis is the preferd term for Native Americans, this land was not America until we colonized the area and Named it America.

Colonialism – the process by which one country controls the political activities and economic resources of another less developed and less powerful country.

Internal Colonialism is a notion of structural political and economic inequalities between regions within a nation state.

External Colonialism – European colonialism was a system of domination whereby external powers ruled countries from afar

Uranium is a chemical element with symbol U and atomic number 92. It is a silvery-white metal in the actinide series of the periodic table. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons.



Exercise 1 : Before listening to the Guided Reading, read the following questions and respond in your own writing. Sharing is up to you.

Today, we have the guided reading from Chapter 3 of Toxic Communities. In this chapter, titled “Internal Colonialism: Native American Communities in the West“, Taylor explores the ideal that certain parts of the country are seen and treated as internal colonies when it comes to the extraction and processing of hazardous materials – especiacally the South, Southwest, and Native American reservations.

  1. What is Internal Colonialism? Can you use an example?
  2. Do you believe Native American reservations are treated fairly?
  3. Why do you think reservations are used for the sitting of hazardous facilities?
  4. Who do you think is being exploited?

Summary: Chapter 3

“Internal Colonialism”: Native American Communities in the West

CHAPTER! (dragged) 1

Guided Reading Chapter 3

Part 1:


Critical Thinking Questions:

  1. What areas in your hometown are at risk of environmental racism?
  2. How much power do corporations have over the land owners?
  3. What measures could we take to ensure more fair methods for waste disposal in minority communities?

Point of View:

After listening to the chapter and going through some questions lets take everything we learned and check out the following videos – as you watch these, ask yourself – What are the common themes? What is happening to the people affected? Is this an isolated issue? How many similar events can you think of? Is this Fair?

Exercise 1 : Video, Standing Rock Teach In: Environmental Racism & Dispossession with Teresa Montoya. Anthropologist Teresa Montoya on environmental racism in Diné (Navajo) Nation and Oceti Sakowin Oyate (Great Sioux Nation).

Exercise 2: Article, The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North and South Dakota relies on Lake Oahe, a 231-mile reservoir along the Missouri River, as its primary water source. In July 2016, the US Army Corps of Engineers approved the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This 1,172-mile duct that will carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. This pipeline will run less than a mile north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, including through the tribe’s sacred, ancestral lands and underneath the Missouri River.

Exercise 3: Video, I Love Ancestry, Video Clip – Red Cry documentary film. Red Cry is an original, feature-length documentary film chronicling the lives of Lakota Elders and Oyate in the face of ongoing genocide against the Lakota by a government and corporate interests.

“There are more than 3000 abandoned open-pit uranium mines on the land of the Great Sioux Nation for 40 years. Winona LaDuke wrote an article in 1992 mentioning that President Nixon declared a National Sacrifice Area to Radiation for the treaty territory of the Great Sioux Nation and the Navajo.”


Due to me not being able to dedicate the time to write the references all out- one by one, I have photocopied the back of “Toxic Communitiesreference section and index section. I have added that to the lesson file, and will always link to the bottom of posts. As I go through guided readings, I will mention areas where there are references included. PDF References are alphabetically listed.