Environmental Impact of Construction

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On one hand, this photo taken by A.E. Turner with the Bureau of Reclamation shows the "magnificence" of the Glen Canyon Dam during its construction. On the other hand, this photo shows how Glen Canyon Dam desecrated the canyon itself and the land surrounding it. 

This script for a motion picture called "Canyon Conquest" details the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam and its devastating effects for Navajos who called this beautiful land home. This transcript illuminates the effect of the dam's construction for Alvin Tsiniginie and his Navajo tribal members who lived intimately with the land surrounding Glen Canyon. It depicts Tsiniginie solemnly walking through Page, the growing city spawned by the new dam. While this film seems to romanticize the dam's construction, it also offers an understanding of how it disrupted and fractured the lives of Navajo peoples. The film ends with Cu Tsini saying hello and goodbye- “Yá’át’ééh” - in Navajo.

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"Canyon Conquest" script by Jack Goodman, 1958.

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A. E. Turner, Bureau of Reclamation photograph, 1961.

While this photo can be admired since it captures the elaborate industrialization of the Glen Canyon Dam, it also exhibits the extent of its exploitation. At the bottom of the canyon, one can observe the magnitude of industrial invasion represented by this project. In contrast, in the top left there is a man who seems to be looking at the canyon's sheer, raw beauty juxtaposed to the dam.

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Bureau of Reclamation photograph taken by A. E. Turner, 1960-1965

Before it was dammed, the Colorado River used to offer river trips and individual exploration/admiration. Now, as one's gaze follows the river downstream the dam's massive structure symbolizes another division between humanity and its environment: humanity continually holds back or hinders the environment.