FARMINGTON — San Juan College will host a screening of a documentary about uranium mining on the Navajo Nation in conjunction with this year's One Book, One Community program.
"Yellow Fever: Uncovering the Navajo Uranium Legacy" will be shown Thursday. The documentary is about a young Navajo veteran who investigates the history of the Navajo uranium boom and its impact on the area, along with the possibility of new mining in Arizona.
The One Book, One Community program encourages residents to read one book and then discuss it. This school year, the program's committee has selected the book "Yellowcake," by Ann Cummins. The Houghton Mifflin Company published the book in April 2007.
The book focuses on two families in the aftermath of the closing of the uranium mill near Shiprock. It also details how the families coped with illnesses, lawsuits and the repercussions of living in the area.
The book will be the focus of activities on the San Juan College campus and community events, all of which are aimed at encouraging conversations about the legacy uranium mining left behind in the area, said Traci HaleVass, the One Book, One Community committee director.
"It's a current problem, as well as a historical problem," HaleVass said. "Bringing awareness of the uranium poisoning is something that is really important."
Last year's book selection -- "Code Talker: the First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII" by Judith Avila and Chester Nez -- proved to be a success, HaleVass said. She said the book and discussions educated the community about the contributions of the Navajo Code Talkers.
San Juan College English instructor Kari Deswood plans to have her students complete projects related to "Yellowcake." She is also trying to bring a photography exhibit from the Navajo Nation Museum about the uranium mine workers to the college.
"I'm really excited about it," Deswood said. "The book and the topic of uranium and uranium mine workers is extremely applicable to the students and community."
More events are planned throughout the school year, including a program with Cummins and multiple panels discussing the effects of uranium mining.