Irfan Khan / LAT
Illegal dumps are spread across the Torres Martinez reservation like ugly wounds, making it the most polluted tribal land in California, Nevada and Arizona. Vast swaths of desert have been transformed into toxic trash heaps threatening the tribe and nearby communities. Federal officials struggle to shut down the dump sites, but new ones pop up all the time. Unlike other tribes nearby, the Torres Martinez are poor. But. they do have 24,000 acres of land from Riverside to Imperial counties, and as development in the Coachella Valley has exploded, some tribal members have cashed in by offering land to people looking to cut corners on waste disposal costs. Tent dweller Tonetta Torro, 50, has lived alongside the hazardous AuClair dump, and keeps four wolves tied up for protection from the bad elements who populate the area.
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