Nature’s Past Episode 75: Uranium Mining at Elliot Lake

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NP Logo 1x1 12 July 2016

Episode 75: Uranium Mining at Elliot Lake

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The nuclear arms race and global confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union in the mid-twentieth century brought new settler pressures on the resources of Indigenous people in Ontario. At Elliott Lake on the territories of the Serpent River Anishinaabek, the Canadian government and private corporations sought to extract uranium and other mineral resources, part of what historian Lianne Leddy calls “Cold War colonialism.”

The mining activities at Elliot Lake produced toxic hazards with consequences for the people of Serpent River First Nation who lived with those environmental legacies. Traditional practices of fishing and hunting among the people of this homeland were jeopardized by the extractive industrial activities of the settler government and private corporations. In response, members of Serpent River First Nation resisted and fought for remediation of their traditional territories, a fight that continues to this day.

This complicated history is explored in Lianne Leddy’s new book, Serpent River Resurgence: Confronting Uranium Mining at Elliot Lake, published by University of Toronto Press. I caught up with Lianne to learn more about this history.

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Lianne Leddy

Works Cited:

Leddy, Lianne. Serpent River Resurgence: Confronting Uranium Mining at Elliot Lake. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022.

Music Credits:

“Wizard” by Fresh Body Shop

“Sadness Credits” by ABSounds

“Kids” by Bluejay Studio

Photo Credit:

“Denison Mines and Tailings” by Dick Loek, 1991.


Kheraj, Sean. “Episode 75: Uranium Mining at Elliot Lake” Nature’s Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast. 30 June 2022.

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Sean Kheraj

Associate Professor and Vice-Provost Academic at Toronto Metropolitan University
Sean Kheraj is a member of the executive committee of the Network in Canadian History and Environment. He's an associate professor in the Department of History and Vice-Provost Academic at Toronto Metropolitan University. His research and teaching focuses on environmental and Canadian history. He is also the host and producer of Nature's Past, NiCHE's audio podcast series and he blogs at

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