Red Water Pond Road Community Indigenous Landscape Architecture Studio

Tribe: Navajo

Tribal Contact: Red Water Pond Road Community Association

Project Type: Indigenous landscape architecture

Location: Red Water Pond Road Community, NM

UNM Contact:Michaela Shirley

UNM Faculty:Catherine Page Harris


Project Image

Project Summary:

The Red Water Pond Road Community has been living with uranium tailings in their midst since the 1950’s. Two large mines in the Church Rock Area stored tailings in this valley. Many of the community members worked in the mines without information about the hazards of uranium exposure, and they lived amidst the piles. Water from the mines flowed through the community on a regular basis. The valley land has been scraped and eroded through disposal and remediation efforts. Elders from the community have received land lease sites from Navajo Nation and petitioned the EPA to move the community to a neighboring mesa top, Standing Black Tree Mesa. These petitions thus far have been fruitless, as there are no utilities on the mesa and the EPA refuses to move them citing the lack of water and power. LA 503 Studio from UNM set out to create a vision of what the possibilities are on the mesa top for an off the grid community, harvesting rainwater, collecting solar power, regenerating the land and disposing of waste sustainably. This visioning was made possible by our partnership with the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute and with Civil Engineering at UNM.