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Department of Social Sciences


In recent years, the issue of military waste disposal in oceans and seas has gained significant attention; however, the impact of such waste in freshwater deposits has been understudied. The Laurentian Great Lakes of North America contain 20% of the world’s fresh surface water and are particularly vulnerable to environmental stressors such as climate change, invasive species, and toxic chemicals, making the examination of military waste management in these waters crucial. This interdisciplinary study aims to investigate the legacy of two military waste disposal sites in Lake Superior, referred to as Site A (containing barrels) and Site B (containing bullets). Both are located within the ceded territories of the Ojibwe. Despite being in close proximity, these sites have had vastly different outcomes in terms of public concern, state and federal regulatory actions, and tribal restoration efforts. Based on this observation, this study aims to answer the following questions: How did these differences develop? How did military secrecy and the loss of memory influence the management of underwater military waste at each site? How do uncertainties and rumors continue to influence citizen concern and agency management of military waste? We argue for the importance of investigating the environmental legacies of underwater military waste in order to protect inland freshwater resources worldwide.

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© The Author(s) 2023. Publisher’s version of record:

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Water History

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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