Dear Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland,
My name is Daranda Hinkey and I am a part of the People of Red Mountain, a group of fourteen Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone tribal descendants who are against the Lithium Americas/Lithium Nevada’s Thacker Pass Lithium Mine.
People of Red Mountain would like to invite Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland to a Remembrance event on Sunday, September 12th, 2021. This event will take place north of Winnemucca, NV on our traditional land which is threatened by this mine. We will start at 11 am near Nipple Rock (near mile marker 14 on Hwy 293) and then move to the Peehee Mu’huh camp around noon. I will include an event flyer in this letter.
People of Red Mountain’s ancestors fought in countless battles; one battle was dated September 12th, 1865 in which at least 31 Natives were brutally massacred by the U.S. Cavalry near Peehee Mu’huh. 156 years later, Paiute and Shoshone people will honor their ancestors in a good way. We feel it’s our responsibility to protect these burial grounds and Sacred places. We will be wearing teal for our Peehee Mu’huh Remembrance event. We will also sing honor songs, host drum groups, discuss the history of Peehee Mu’huh, the 1865 Massacre, and much more.
Our Paiute and Shoshone people talk about two massacres at Peehee Mu’huh or also known as Thacker Pass of Humboldt County, NV. Neither of these massacres are being taken seriously by the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Federal Court system. The remains of the Paiute and Shoshone people are soon to be disturbed, desecrated, and stolen from the Indiginous people due to Judge Miranda Du’s decision to deny the People of Red Mountain’s, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, and Burns Paiute Tribe’s preliminary injunction to stop the excavation of 55 cultural sites.
The name Peehee Mu’huh (Rotten Moon) was given due to a massacre of a band of Paiute and Shoshone people where women, children, and elders were killed and their intestines were draped across the sagebrush. There is not a date of this massacre, but many elders have been told this story through oral history. Another massacre of the Paiute and Shoshone people was carried out on September 12th, 1865 by the U.S. Calvary. In this massacre, the people were viciously killed around daybreak. Three boys were able to escape this attack, one by fleeing towards the Oregon border and two others were adopted by a Humboldt County Sheriff, Charley Thacker.
People of Red Mountain, allies, and many Indigenous people around the country are standing against the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine. Many people are beginning to rethink the ‘clean energy’ proposal that the United States blindly believes will save the planet. It is not too late for you to make a statement on the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine.
I know one of your main missions as Secretary of the Interior is “Preserving our historic sites and lands for future generations,” and I know that you have said you, “remain committed to centering the voices and history, and stories of those who have been unrepresented and underrepresented” (Twitter Account @SecretaryDebHaaland). People of Red Mountain and others know you have the voice and power to help us in making a stand against the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine. Now is the time to come out to Peehee Mu’huh and honor the ancestors with the Remembrance event and hear out Tribal voices. You have mentioned on your Twitter account that you “will honor the sovereignty of tribal nations and recognize their part in America’s story” and “will be a fierce advocate for public lands.” People of Red Mountain know that Peehee Mu’huh is the right place and now is the right time to exercise your commitment and promises.
As you may know already, Lithium Americas/Lithium Nevada have promised to bring clean energy that will mitigate climate change and save the planet. This lithium will be used for lithium powered batteries used for electric vehicles, solar panels, rechargeable electronics, and more. But in return, the land, water, and air quality will be contaminated. The land will never look the same, the animals will never return, and the Indigneous first foods will never grow here again. The mine will deplete groundwater levels and aquifers for thousands to millions of years. The air quality will be polluted with hazardous contaminants that the animals and humans will be forced to breathe. The aboriginal people of this area, ranchers, and other community members will face a lifetime of countless environmental impacts which will endanger cultural resources and people’s way of life. The inevitable effects of this mine will be irreversible for hundreds of years to come. I do not believe this is what the U.S. the Secretary of the Interior wishes for America’s public lands and ancestral homelands of the Paiute and Shoshone people.
Our people have been overlooked and taken advantage of for too long. We need your help to turn this around. Please join us on September 12th and speak up about this issue.
Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribal Member
Secretary of Atsa Koodakuh wyh Nuwu / People of Red Mountain