The Voices Unheard project will salvage accounts, descriptions, and insights about Superfund sites in Arizona. This will be accomplished by capturing and analyzing people's experiences of both the impacts of contamination and the community advocacy efforts using a qualitative approach.
We want to remind people that we not only share a common environment, but that we also share an invaluable history. It is important to listen to the stories of individuals as well as document them to preserve local knowledge. Superfund sites not only have a history of pollution, but also of research, advocacy, and illness. Everyone’s story matters when it comes to the impacts of contamination. By encapsulating the environmental history of Arizona, Voices Unheard is creating an invaluable archive for future generations.
The idea of initiating an oral history project focused on Superfund sites in Arizona originated from the 20th Anniversary Planning Committee for the Tucson International Airport Area Unified Community Advisory Board. As committee members discussed the speakers for the anniversary event, they realized that the history of the site is tied to the experiences of individuals. These individuals have historical and local knowledge that can easily be lost as they age or leave the area. This concept will be replicated at the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund site. At this latter site, the Voices Unheard Project was vetted with the Dewey-Humboldt Town Council, Dewey-Humboldt Community Environmental Board, and Dewey-Humboldt Historical Society.
Use of the Oral History Interview Materials
The oral history interview materials are defined as the interview recordings (audio and video), interview transcripts, photovoice photographs, behind the scenes / headshot photographs, and digitized materials. These materials are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (CCY-BY-NC-SA). This is a license by which the interviewee and partnership retain the copyright but allow uses by others. The public may freely copy, share, and build upon the interview materials for non-commercial purposes as long as they credit the copyright holders and distribute any adaptation/derivative work under the same license as the original.
Arizona Superfund Sites
There are a total of 11 National Priorities List Superfund sites in Arizona, which are overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund Program is in charge of protecting human health and the environment through the characterization and clean up of polluted soil and water. In addition to these national sites, the state of Arizona, through the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, manages a total of 36 contaminated areas under the Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund program.
We work with different individuals and groups that exist in the space impacted by the Arizona Superfund site. These partnerships are what makes the Voices Unheard project both an engaged and collaborative process. Our community partners are our oral history interviewees as well as members of the Tucson International Airport Area Unified Community Advisory Board, Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, Barrio Nopal Neighborhood Association, Humboldt Superfund Awareness and Research Team, Dewey-Humboldt Community Environmental Board, and Dewey-Humboldt Historical Society.
Dissertation Advisors - The University of Arizona
Voices Unheard: Arizona's Environmental History is a dissertation project that combines the disciplines of environmental science and medical anthropology. By combining these disciplines, we have created a community-engaged platform that focuses on hazardous contaminated sites, public history preservation, and qualitative research methods. Dissertation committee from the University of Arizona include Dr. Janick F. Artiola (Department of Environmental Science), Dr. Jamie Lee (School of Information), Dr. Raina M. Maier (Department of Environmental Science), Dr. Mark Nichter (School of Anthropology), and Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta (Department of Environmental Science).
Oral History Team - Voices Unheard: Arizona's Environmental History