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Nuclear Colonialism

Photo taken at a protest at the Nevada Test Site

This area of research seeks to critically understand the role of rhetoric in the relationship between Native Americans and the nuclear production complex, specifically in relation to nuclear waste siting decisions in the United States. I became interested in this topic as a college student, seeking to intersect my interests in environmentalism, environmental justice, and Native American activism. Throughout this body of work, I have developed a rhetorical theory of nuclear colonialism—the material/discursive system in which Native Americans are disproportionately affected by the harmful effects of the nuclear industrial complex—that highlights specific rhetorical strategies of domination and resistance that circulate within the nuclear colonialism discursive formation. This work is deeply rooted in analysis of specific controversies that have arisen over high-level nuclear waste siting decisions in the U.S., primarily the proposed (and now unfunded) Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste repository that resides in Western Shoshone and Paiute ancestral treaty-guaranteed land.


As a part of this research program, I created a publicly available Nuclear Technologies in the American West Oral History project as a way to document the stories of activists, Native Americans, and other people who are heavily involved in nuclear controversies in the American West.  


This research program has been supported by a variety of University fellowships and grants including the inaugural Research Professorship in Environmental Humanities, a Faulty Research and Creative Grant, the Virgil D. Aldrich Faculty Fellowship, and the University Research Council Faculty Fellowship.

Nuclear Colonialism Publications

Danielle Endres, “The Most Nuclear Bombed Place: Ecological Implications of the U.S. Nuclear Testing Program,” in Tracing Rhetoric and Material Life: Ecological Approaches, eds., Bridie McGreavy, Justine Wells, George F. McHendry, Jr., & Samantha Senda-Cook, Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, 253-288.


Danielle Endres, “Animist Intersubjectivity as Argumentation: Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute Arguments Against a Nuclear Waste Site at Yucca Mountain,” Argumentation 27, no. 2 (2013): 183-200.

Danielle Endres, Sacred Land or National Sacrifice Zone: Competing Values in the Yucca Mountain Controversy,” Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture 6, no. 3 (2012): 328-345.

Danielle Endres, From Wasteland to Waste Site: The Role of Discourse in Nuclear Power’s Environmental Injustices,” Local Environment 14, no. 10 (2009): 917-937.

Danielle Endres, “Science and Public Participation: An Analysis of Public Scientific Argument in the Yucca Mountain Controversy,” Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture 3, no. 1

(2009): 49-75.

Danielle Endres, “The Rhetoric of Nuclear Colonialism: Rhetorical Exclusion of American Indian Arguments in the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Siting Decision,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 6, no. 1 (2009): 39-60.

Danielle Endres, “Expanding Our Notions of Scientific Argument: A Case Study in the Use of Scientific Argument by Native Americans in Public Hearings,” in Communicating Science: New Agendas in Communication, eds. LeeAnn Kahlor & Patricia Stout, New York, NY: Routledge, 2009, 187-208.

Danielle Endres, Review of Deliberative Democracy for the Future: The Case of Nuclear Waste Management in Canada (2008)Argumentation and Advocacy 45 (2009):171-176.

Danielle Endres, " 'Yucca Mountain Will Become Unhappy and Angry.' Culture, Metaphor, and Argument." In Proceedings of the Sixth Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation, eds. Emeren, Blair, Willard, & Garssen, Amsterdam: SIC SAC, 2007, 381-387. 

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