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Nuclear Family

In Brief

August 17, 2011, 12:00 am

It may not lead to any high-profile celebrity sightings in the City Different, but a new movie project will spotlight the history of uranium mining in New Mexico.

Filming begins Aug. 17 in Gallup for Yellow, a feature-length film about uranium mining in New Mexico in the 1950s. 

Writer and director Emmy Pickett penned the screenplay after copious research on uranium development and the role of Native Americans. The story centers on a young Navajo woman named June Yazzie, played by Navajo singer/actress Talibah Begay, and her family’s transformation during the uranium boom.

Although uranium mining turned out to have unseen health effects, it also marked many Navajo families’ “first contact with the US wage economy,” Pickett writes SFR in an email. 

“This film is about the beginnings and the transition from poverty to greater prosperity to ease their struggles and earn for themselves and their families,” Pickett writes.

The project highlights the complicated relationship between Navajo and other Native Americans and the abundant natural resources in the Four Corners region. Many families in the area now rely on income from work at two coal plants with emissions linked to respiratory problems.

Most of the film’s cast is Native American, as is its producer, Andrea Good.

“I really see a huge call for Native American stories that are realistic and not stereotyped,” Pickett writes.


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