Their home, like so many in the Navajo Nation and Monument Valley, sat on land contaminated by nearby uranium mines.
The Navajo Nation area holds the largest uranium deposits in the United States and suffers from the highest cancer rates in the Southwest region. Over 175,000 people live in the area.
A film about the Begay family, The Return of Navajo Boy, went on to become an award-winning documentary as well as a successful outreach tool for environmental justice.
They’ve met with success and hope for more: late last year, the EPA has finally earmarked funds to clean up the contaminated area near the Begay home.
The film recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, but the filmmakers and community continue working to building awareness today. You can see the results of their work in specially-produced web series: watch the latest webisodes at the official site, and visit the action center to learn more about how to help affected Navajo families.