Forgotten People is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) with a long history of working on policy advocacy issues for the benefit of Dine’ (traditional Navajo) communities in northeast Arizona. In 1994, President Clinton issued Executive Order 12898 to stop the disproportionate amount of contamination on lands belonging to people of color and Indigenous Peoples. Under its predecessor Dine’ Alliance, Forgotten People filed the first case of EJ to the DOI and US EPA subsequent to passage of EO 12898.
Forgotten People has identified access to drinking water as an EJ issue because a disproportionate percentage of Native American households lack sanitation and piped water and due to the presence of abandoned uranium mines in the area which contributed to the contamination of local water sources. Both the siting of the mines in a minority community and the failure to take remedial action on the abandoned sites follow the patterns of discrimination which gave rise to the EJ movement.
Forgotten People believes the directly affected people must be an integral part of every aspect of the process and the empowerment of the people is an essential part of achieving EJ. To achieve EJ, Forgotten People works in coalition with other interested organizations to end abusive development in Indian Country and ensure Indigenous peoples right to participate in decision-making processes by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the US Department of the Interior.And in light of the history of abusive development, Forgotten People is drafting an environmental justice policy for the Navajo Nation.