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Navajo Nation of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah

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The back room of Shiprock Trading Post became a soundstage for a day for a new health information show focusing on Navajo health concerns and Western and traditional ways to deal with them. The show, "Kei' Bii' Dzil," for "strong family relations," is producing 12 one-hour shows in Navajo and 12 one-hour shows in English. Each will be taped at a different location, such as the famous Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, Ariz., and Tanner's Gallery in Gallup, and will feature guests such as members of the Navajo Medicine Men's Association. The shows are to air on Navajo Nation Television next summer, and possibly cable channels in such places as Farmington. A videotape collection of tapings will be made available across the reservation at schools, chapter houses, libraries, clinics, hospitals and other locations. The shows are produced under the name Four Directions Health Communications. Four Directions' "Horse Song," a modern-day drama examining the damaging effect diabetes can have on a Navajo family, is standard viewing in diabetes awareness programs across the reservation. Diabetes among tribal members - 15,000 of them - has climbed as a result of a due combination of lack of exercise and a diet too rich in fats.

Nation leaders say tribal uranium miners who are dying or were sickened from radiation-related diseases related to their jobs should begin receiving federal compensation by January. Navajo Uranium Radiation Victims Committee liaison Phil Harrison said starting in January, uranium workers and their beneficiaries are scheduled to receive compensation from amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990. "What we have yet here is still the tip of the iceberg ... I'm acknowledging your support, your prayers, your help," Harrison said. Congress passed a measure to give $150,000 to sick miners who worked from the 1940s to 1980s. Many of the workers suffer from cancer and respiratory diseases. The group also seeks compensation for children and spouses of uranium workers, who unwittingly played in uranium tailings, breathed the yellowcake dust their fathers brought home, and drank the tainted water workers did. The original RECA of 1990 only covered underground uranium miners, offering a lump sum payment of $100,000. Only non-malignant illnesses were covered on the list of "eligible" diseases, such as fibrosis of the lungs and silicosis. The amendments cover millers and transport workers. The list of "eligible" diseases has been expanded to include cancers of the lungs, brain, colon, ovary, bladder and salivary glands.