Breaking News: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is fining Max and Will $49,890.13

After we sued the Bureau of Land Management for failing to consult with Native tribes before permitting the destruction of sacred Peehee mu’huh (Thacker Pass), BLM has found Max Wilbert and I in trespass for bathrooms that were constructed in Peehee mu’huh so that Native elders and people with disabilities could use the bathroom while praying and engaging in ceremony.

BLM is fining Max Wilbert and I $49,890.13. We need to ask whether our government takes better care of corporations or human beings and the natural world. Of course, when Lithium Nevada Corporation is permitted to destroy nearly 6000 acres in Peehee mu’huh, including digging an 1100 acre open pit, 400 feet deep, all while making millions of dollars, but Native people and their supporters can’t build an outhouse in the same exact location without being fined nearly $50,000, we must conclude that our government takes better care of corporations.

Please donate if you can: Max and Will are going to need a lot of legal help to fight this fine. Thank you!!

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Art by Travis London, Deep Green Arts.

The Lust for Money

Earlier today, Judge Miranda Du rejected requests from the Reno-Sparks Indian Tribe, Burns Paiute Tribe, and Atsa Koodakuh wyh Nuwu/People of Red Mountain to put an emergency halt on planned archeological digging for the Thacker Pass lithium mine.

As I watch Lithium Americas investors online celebrating Judge Miranda Du’s decision to allow the removal of sacred artifacts from Thacker Pass, I feel sick to my stomach.

“Go LAC!!” writes one investor. “Dirt shall move!” writes another. “Argentina online next year. Thacker Pass one less road block. Almost 500 million in bank. Sitting so damn pretty right now.” says a third.

Another writes of how many stocks he owns, punctuating his boast with an emoji showing a human face, eyebrows raised, panting as if in a caricature of lust with dollar signs for eyes and on the extended tongue.
Is this how the world is saved? By lust for money?

Sometime soon, bulldozers and excavators will arrive at Thacker Pass to begin “archeological digging” — a whitewashed term for the legally sanctioned looting of cultural artifacts and sacred sites. And afterwards, unless they are stopped, this whole mountain will be shattered and carted off.

The flesh of Earth, turned into profit.

I am disgusted and angry, but not surprised. This is a pattern of our culture, and history repeats itself.

In the mid-1800’s, colonization spilled over into Nevada territory. Miners, settlers, and soldiers gained footholds along rivers and where springs made life possible. With axes, the pine nut trees were felled, and like the mass-murder of the buffalo on the plains, the indigenous people’s ability to fight was cracked. With bullets, disease, and starvation, Paiute, Goshute, and Shoshone people were pushed out, corralled, and marched to reservations and boarding schools. “Kill the Indian, save the man,” they proclaimed. And now the mountains belonged to the conquerors, and they called it right. They called it manifest destiny.

Today, miners come for the land. They come for the water, 4.6 million gallons of it per day. They come for the sacred sites. The springs. The antelope. The ancestors in the soil. “We have complied with the National Historic Preservation Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and our duty to consult with tribes,” they say. They claim the mountains belong to them, and while manifest destiny is officially out of favor, economic development is not. Besides, this is a green project, right? It is our destiny.
How is this different?

Three hundred and thirty-nine days ago, a few days before I visited Thacker Pass for the first time, I walked into a forest near the Columbia River. Finding a quiet spot in the dappled shade, I lay on my back on the dirt, and closed my eyes. My mind traveled to Thacker Pass.

First, I imagined the silence of this land, where wind and the hum of insects is often the loudest noise. I imagined ants, jackrabbits, antelope, and yes, human beings crisscrossing Thacker Pass on their ancient paths. From harmony, my vision shifted to the threat now facing the land.

“[G]reed comes,” I wrote in February, “wearing the flesh of human beings and armored in corporate law. Greed eyes the mountain and sees not the pronghorn or the burrowing owl or the ants venturing out from their colony, but only what he can take by breaking it all — by violating stone and wind and water, by transgressing of 16 million years of sacred silence. Greed sees that this mountain is full of lithium — the new white oil. Greed is a good storyteller, and he speaks of jobs and opportunities and investments, of stock options and shareholder returns, and electric cars. He speaks of saving the world.”

Now, for the first time since I have arrived here at Thacker Pass, destruction is imminent. The corporate laws that I wrote of back in February are playing their part. Bureaucracy, that indispensable tool in the arsenal of a democratic empire, has spoken. In court, administrative rules allowed the state to argue that “you had a chance to participate in the process, and you missed it.” And what is morally right, what is good for the land, what is wanted by the local indigenous people, ranchers, and farmers, becomes subordinate to what is written in administrative codes and lawbooks.

I wrote, in February, that “Right now, greed gathers his men and his machines, his drillers and borers and furnaces, his explosives and his chemicals and his politicians and his bankers. And he schemes, and he plans, and he wheels and he deals. He waits for his moment to press the plunger down, to close the circuit, to shatter the mountainside.”

That vision is close to becoming real.

And so we move deeper into the sixth mass extinction event, wallets grow fat as nature grows small.

In her recent artwork, the brilliant political cartoonist Stephanie McMillan, whose work I truly admire, asks this question: what do you do when your heart is breaking?

I pondered that question this morning. In Stephanie’s artwork, the human suffering from heartbreak curls into a ball, and answers the question by saying, “Nail it shut and wrap barbed wire around it.” But the bird beside the poor human has another answer: “Or you could let it open.”

The decision from Judge Du didn’t tell us anything new today. We all know that the courts don’t protect our living planet. We all know that the courts don’t protect indigenous peoples and lands. The courts enforce the law, and the law favors the wealthy over the people and the planet. And so Judge Du writes that while she “finds the Tribes’ arguments regarding the spiritual distress that the [looting of native artifacts and sacred sites] will cause persuasive,” she “must nonetheless reluctantly” allow the archeological dig as “the Court must operate within the framework of the applicable laws and regulations.”

Nothing has changed at Thacker Pass. For months now, the headsman’s axe has been raised. Now, it teeters on the brink of descending. We knew this time would come.

The question for us is this: will we wrap our hearts in barbed wire and nail them shut by ignoring injustice, walking away from reality, and lusting for money?

Or will we let our hearts open, and commit to protecting the land?

Protecting Peehee Muh’huh, or Thacker Pass, Means Protecting the Eastern Sierra, too

by Caelen McQuilkin

Published in the Opinion section of The Mammoth Times on August 19, 2021

Drive slightly east and then five hours north out of Lee Vining, and you’ll find yourself in Thacker Pass, a wide-open landscape of sagebrush and sloping hills, achingly beautiful in that special high desert way. Drive slightly east and then five hours north out of Lee Vining, follow the 80 most of the way, turn left once you reach the small town of Orovada, Nevada, and you might fall in love with a place you had never previously heard of.

That’s what happened to me this summer when I saw the first social media posts and advocacy surrounding Peehee mu’huh, or Thacker Pass, and the movement to protect it from the proposed development of a 5,000 acre open-pit lithium mine atop what one of the advocacy groups fighting to protect the area, Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu, or People of Red Mountain, knows as “a spiritually powerful place blessed by the presence of our ancestors, other spirits, and golden eagles – who we consider to be directly connected to the Creator,” according to their statement of opposition. This is due to the history of the place: a long time ago, Indigenous people in the area–the ancestors of many of the advocates fighting to protect the place today–were massacred at Thacker Pass. “To build a lithium mine over this massacre site in Peehee mu’huh would be like building a lithium mine over Pearl Harbor or Arlington National Cemetery,” the statement reads. “We would never desecrate these places and we ask that our sacred sites be afforded the same respect.”

Though the movement to protect Thacker Pass is centered around land over 300 miles away from the Eastern Sierra, it provides a model for what environmentalism in the 21st century must look like if we are to address the root causes of environmental destruction. This type of environmentalism centers around anti-racist and anti-capitalist struggles, therefore addressing several root causes of environmental destruction in the modern day: the force of colonization, and the disproportionate power held by large corporations and by the rich. The movement begs us to interrogate ourselves with larger moral questions that Daranda Hinkey, a member of the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone tribe and founder of People of Red Mountain, brought up: “What do we truly care about most?” she asked, referencing the outsized attention that purchasable items supposed to save us from the climate crisis receive, and the “greenwashing” that makes them palatable. “Do we care about the land? Do we care about the animals? Do we care about the water? Do we care about the air?”

Protecting Thacker Pass will help usher in a new era of environmentalism aimed towards racial and class justice, and therefore could in turn protect the Eastern Sierra from the similar environmental threats and racial inequities our region faces.

Historically, our region and the Thacker Pass region were linked through the movement of people. In the modern day, many Indigenous people still act on and appreciate this connection, and movements like Thacker Pass cast light upon its continued relevance. “A long time ago, we used to roam this way all the way down to Pyramid Lake, out to Lee Vining and California. There used to be roads here, a long time ago,” said Ron Guerrero, a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe and supporter of the movement to protect Thacker Pass. “We weren’t separated by reservations. You know they put us on reservations, but we used to migrate with the animals. All through these lines, all the way to California, this is where we travelled through. At one time, we were all one. Bishop Paiutes, Pyramid Lake Paiutes, Fort McDermitt Paiutes, we were all one.”

The human history of this landscape shows that people have recognized the inherent connections between the land that makes up the high desert of the American West. Many still do recognize this inherent connection, and are acting on it. Myron Dewey, a filmmaker, journalist, and supporter of the movement, explained: “I’m a descendant of Yosemite. I’m currently enrolled in the Walker River Paiute tribe on my dad’s side, and I’m also Tomoke-Shoshone on my dad’s side, and from my mom’s side, I’m from the Bishop Paiute tribe,” he said. “Those Sierra mountains are our homelands. What I would like people to know, is to do the land acknowledgement on the land that you’re on, and know that the Indigenous people, even though they don’t all live in their traditional homelands, they’re still trying to protect them.”

Indeed, environmental threats like that at Thacker Pass are already present in our region. As far as lithium mining goes, a project to begin exploratory drilling for lithium in Panamint Valley was approved in 2019, according to Friends of the Inyo, and while the corporation has most recently decided to prioritize other mining projects, they may be back in the future. In addition, a recent gold mining proposal at Conglomerate Mesa, a large section of high desert landscape located at the doorstep of Death Valley National Park, and on the homelands of the Timbisha-Shoshone and Paiute-Shoshone tribal nations, poses a threat to sacred Indigenous land and critical wildlife habitat. According to Brian Hatchell, Desert Policy Associate at Friends of the Inyo, the Canadian company K2 Gold and their subsidiary Mojave Precious Metals are currently planning to begin the construction of miles of new roads and over a hundred exploratory drill holes at Conglomerate Mesa. This construction will come in anticipation of the actual mine, which will include cyanide heap-leach mine. “Numerous leaders in local tribes have opposed the gold exploration and mining by K2 Gold,” said Hatchell. “Conglomerate Mesa is a kingdom of solitude abundant in flora and fauna wonders that captures the pure essence of desert backcountry exploration. This area is simply too special for gold exploration and the open-pit cyanide heap leach gold mine that would follow.”

At Thacker Pass, the opposition to lithium mining formed in the beginning of 2021, after the corporation Lithium Nevada was able to quickly push through approval for its project, taking advantage of the recent weakening of environmental review process laws under the Trump administration. At its start, the resistance consisted of two people camped at Thacker Pass, but today, it has grown in size and impact.

Two advocacy groups–Protect Thacker Pass and Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu, People of Red Mountain–are working in solidarity to resist the mine by spreading awareness and education, taking legal action, building social pressure, and planning to peacefully blockade mine construction. The advocacy groups’ arguments are rooted in their belief that Thacker Pass is valuable and irreplaceable, and the impact of mining it will cause serious and irreversible damage, both to the area and through the precedent it will set for extractive practices in the West as a whole.

One such irreplaceable value of Thacker Pass is the fact that destruction of the landscape, and the wildlife it is home to (including the greater sage grouse, Lahontan cutthroat trout, pronghorn antelope, and golden eagle) will mean destruction of Indigenous culture and traditional knowledge. Hinkey explained what protecting Thacker Pass means to her: “It means I am protecting all the knowledge that all my grandmas and my grandpas, what they carry and what they tell me,” she said. “Everything that I know was not things that I just came up with. It was things that I learned. And so to me, it’s protecting that.”

People of Red Mountain’s statement in opposition to the lithium mine details why preserving cultural knowledge is so important.

“Thacker Pass is essential to the survival of our traditions. Our traditions are tied to the land,” it reads. “When our land is destroyed, our traditions are destroyed.” According to the statement, these traditions specific to Thacker Pass include picking choke cherries from the orchards there, gathering yapa, or wild potatoes, hunting groundhogs and mule deer, and gathering traditional medicines such as ibi, a chalky rock used for ulcers and internal and external bleeding, and toza root, which is considered one of the world’s best anti-viral medicines. Hinkey explained: “In the spring, there are a bunch of First Foods, and wildflowers, and the sagebrush, and a bunch of wildlife… As Native people, we are supposed to be caretakers of the land,” she said. “We’re supposed to be protectors for the people that are vulnerable. And when I say people, I mean the animal people, I mean the plant people. We still see them as that, and so we’re supposed to speak up for the ones that are vulnerable or can’t speak up for themselves.”

These arguments are so weighty they seem hard to effectively ignore, but one way advocates for the mine are promoting their development is through “greenwashing,” or presenting the illusion that they are not only environmentally responsible, but actually helping the environmental cause. Because lithium is necessary for the production of the batteries that run EV cars–technology often regarded as one of the solutions to the climate crisis–some believe that developing lithium mines such as this one will be necessary to slow climate change. “The company wants to blow up a mountain and call it green,” said Max Wilbert, one of the founders of Protect Thacker Pass. “Call it good for the planet to blow up a mountain and poison water and leave behind a wasteland and destroy all this wildlife habitat. That’s not unique here, that’s all over the world, that this sort of thing is happening.”

Many leaders at Thacker Pass mentioned greenwashing and its ties to their philosophy about environmentalism. If we can’t create an environmental movement that is geared towards addressing root causes, rather than symptoms, some said, then companies that can effectively greenwash will simply continue profiting from the same crisis that has already begun to harm the most vulnerable. Thinking about the world in terms of multiple generations to come may help rewire one’s thinking to reject greenwashing and false solutions like this one. Many advocates at Thacker Pass expressed their views through this lens.

“This is our future. It’s not only mine, it’s yours too… I’m old. It’s not for me, it’s for younger generations. It’s for you guys. That’s what my part is–I’m fighting the fight for all of us,” said Ron Guerrero, a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, who came to Thacker Pass for the first time in the spring and has since been back over ten times. Hinkey had similar thoughts. “It’s not just us in this present day having a new lithium car, having solar panels or wind turbines. It’s not us now. I think that we’re starting to realize with climate change, we have to really think to the future,” she said. “With the greenwashing, it’s like we’re destroying the land–adding to the mining, adding to the carbon emissions.”

If we want to preserve our planet for future generations, we need to listen to the voices at Thacker Pass–voices that are calling for a reevaluation of humanity’s entire relationship with the environment through a reckoning with the implications of colonization. A rekindling and centering of the Indigenous knowledge about living with and caring for the land, acting with far future generations and therefore permanent solutions in mind, thinking radically about what it will take to truly address the climate crisis and emerge better for it.

Protecting Thacker Pass means protecting the Eastern Sierra–through the inherent links of our regions, and through the symbolism of the movement that will benefit all places worth protecting. As Dewey put it: “Come and support Peehee mm’huh, Thacker Pass, through whatever donations or physical support you can give. Or just come and witness and experience, and see how the Indigenous people are still trying to protect what little is left of traditional harvesting areas, sacred sites, clean water,” he said. “We have an obligation and an opportunity to make a wrong right, and you can be part of that healing.”

If you are interested in updates about the movement, donating, joining the protest camp, or otherwise becoming involved, visit https://protectthackerpass.org. Read the entirety of People of Red Mountain’s statement at https://protectthackerpass.org/people-of-red-mountain/. Find more information about the movement to protect Conglomerate Mesa at http://protectconglomeratemesa.com/.

Video and notes from Friday’s preliminary injunction hearing

Live blogging notes from the preliminary injunction hearing, Friday August 27, 2021

The wind is strong from the east this morning at #ThackerPass. Coyotes howling. Hummingbirds in the air. A jackrabbit hopped through camp in the pre-dawn. The land is alive and awake.

9:00am: Will Falk is beginning arguments now on behalf of Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Atsa Koodakuh wyh Nuwu, People of Red Mountain.

Will Falk is describing September 12, 1865 massacre of roughly 31 Paiute/Shoshone people in the Thacker Pass area. It was committed by the 1st Nevada Calvary.

Will is arguing it is likely that the native people fled the soldiers and may have moved west into Thacker Pass.

There are over 1000 cultural resource sites and 50+ sites eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places WITHIN the Thacker Pass mine project area. Destroying these would cause irreparable harm to sacred sites and to People of Red Mountain/Reno-Spark Indian Colony.

People of Red Mountain and Reno-Sparks Indian Colony have argued that disturbing these sites is like digging up Arlington National Cemetery or Pearl Harbor – a national disgrace.

Will is arguing that the tribes believe removing artifacts is like looting – history removed from context and from the land on which is was created.

Lawyer for Burns Paiute Tribe is taking the stand.

Burns Paiute lawyer states that consultation for the archeological dig permit is “very early in the process.” Says “consultation is not normally a quick process.”

He states that BLM has “an affirmative duty” to consult with tribes. Their responsibility is to DO IT RIGHT, not the tribes’ responsibility to get involved. The law is quite clear.

“Tribes are often reluctant to reveal info about sacred sites” – lifted directly from BLM handbook.

Discussing previous case showing links between Burns Paiute Tribe has deep links to the Peehee Mu’huh / Thacker Pass region.

Strong arguments that mitigation would not alleviate the harm to Burns Paiute Tribe.

“It is known as a spiritually powerful place” – Diane Teeman, Burns Paiute Tribe

Burns Paiute Lawyer argues that National Historic Preservation Act is NOT just about bones and artifacts. It’s about landscapes. Protecting these important and historical sites.

Says this digging amounts to irreparable harm that warrants a preliminary injunction.

Says that BLM has violated that National Historic Preservation Act and it’s own policies.

BLM lawyer taking the stand now.

Arguing that BLM’s consultation was reasonable and in good faith, and arguing that People of Red Mountain should not be allowed to consult as they are not federally recognized.

BLM lawyer says that goal of their resource management plan is to protect more important landscapes. Judge challenges, repeats that tribes often do not reveal sacred sites.

BLM lawyer states they asked for stories… and basically that’s enough. The tribes should have told them everything. ?

BLM basically arguing “you had your chance, should have spoken up.” Sorry BLM. The public comment period NEVER ENDS in a democracy.

BLM arguing the tribes are outside the area of effect.

BLM says “no evidence of any massacre has come up yet.” Reno-Sparks has no particular connection to Thacker Pass area. Wow BLM. You don’t know what you’re talking about do you!

Judge challenges, says its unreasonable that BLM didn’t consult with the tribes when they HAVE done so on other projects nearby. BLM argues that was because human remains were found. They undercut their own case, arguing they must consult with lineal descendants.

BLM argues again that People of Red Mountain should have NO STANDING. As opposed to their own agency, working on unceded native land claimed through the Doctrine of Discovery? Who has no standing here BLM?

Judge asks BLM to respond to Falk argument about irreparable harm to burial sites. BLM say they do not dispute there will be harm, falls back on argument amounting to “we’ve tried our best!”

BLM says you can mitigate harm to artifacts and bones by not putting them in plastic bags, but instead not putting them in plastic bags.

BLM backtracks, says they *do* argue there will be no irreparable harm. Judge challenges them, reminds BLM they stated “we do not question cultural significance.”

“I spoke too broadly” says BLM lawyer.

BLM argues there is no evidence of grave sites. BLM is not prepared to tell tribes what they believe. Judge says their argument boils down to: “There may be important cultural sites there, but our system will mitigate any harm that could occur.”

“It’s unlikely to cause irreparable harm,” says BLM. Unlikely huh?

Judge asks: is it legal for us to defer decision on the injunction until after the permit process for the ARPA (archeological permit) has been resolved? BLM says yes, states the permit process is not likely to result in mitigation, because the tribes are saying “don’t do it.”

Lithium Nevada lawyer taking the stand. She argues the motion should be denied, “there is no harm at all.”

$LAC lawyer argues that Reno-Sparks should not be allowed to intervene because they should have told the BLM years ago “this is our territory.” She is a colonizer through and through. No recognition of the history and process of the destruction of native people, and how that plays out.

Lithium Nevada lawyer argues that one plan from years ago should have included Thacker Pass. Linear thinking ignores that native history is being reconstructed and sovereignty is rebuilt over time. Consultation is not consent.

Her argument rests on a bureaucratic detail: tribes should have used BLM process. This amounts to: “You had your chance.” We are witnessing a soulless person arguing for modern #greencolonialism.

LNC lawyer: “Everyone is on notice on the importance of Arlington National Cemetery”—not true for Thacker Pass. Judge challenges that BLM did not consult, so how could they know? Good point.

She suggests that people walking in lines across the project site should have been able to see evidence of a massacre. Says that it’s harmful to Lithium Nevada to allow tribes to halt this mine. “We’ve already spent millions of dollars.”

Lithium lawyer says that “Indian village remnants” and “violent incident” was miles from project area. Judge challenges, pointing out that Falk argues the entire area is a cemetery. Lithium lawyer responds that “the law doesn’t protect that.”

She argues “extraordinary care” for cultural mitigation. AKA: “We will very carefully desecrate and destroy your sacred sites!”

She argues that standing on the sidelines until late in the permitting process is “not in the public interest.” Which public?

She makes the national security argument. What about national security for the Paiute and Shoshone Nations? Tribes make arguments when they become aware of the issues. Project was rushed in 1 year during COVID.

Will Falk back on the stand. He argues that permitting took place in <1 year, during COVID. Rushed environmental permitting. Tribes were locked down. Federal Government has fiduciary duty to Indian tribes. And they didn’t notify tribes of biggest lithium mine in the world?

“My clients’ ancestors were massacred by the federal government.” So why be surprised they have trouble trusting BLM now? Esp. when area has seen looting in the past. Strong arguments by Falk.

“Trying to sneak projects through… fast tracking during pandemic… then when they get info about sacred sites… that is the essence of bad faith.” – Falk

Reno-Sparks has clearly told BLM they will need to consulted on projects outside their immediate area. To permit this project in 11 months and complete real consultation is ridiculous.

Falk: BLM had in their OWN RECORDS a document describing a massacre in the project area. They KNEW that Burns and Reno-Sparks were related to here. And they KNEW a history of looting in the area. And they KNEW that tribes often do not tell about sacred sites.

Falk argues that past projects in the area are not consultation, because consultation was inadequate for those projects too. Wind is strong here. The land is with Falk.

Past projects were small, consultation was inadequate. Past district-wide plans were for completely different types of projects. Tribes DID says they opposed any adverse impacts to cultural and sacred sites. Falk says fast tracking was done to deceive and bypass public opposition.

Falk: Nevada is looking to massively expand lithium mines. This one will set the tone. MUST be done right. The Historic Properties Treatment Plan (HPTP) was done without tribal consultation. Jargon hides the reality that HPTP really means looting, removing artifacts from places where tribes can now visit and learn their history with children, elders, families.

Burns Paiute Lawyer: BLM lawyer cited prior case incorrectly. Tribes did nothing wrong. Again, BLM violated their own rules. Just because a tribe said something in 2003 doesn’t mean much. Priorities and interests change.

Burns Paiute Lawyer: the tribe didn’t have to do consultation earlier. You do it when the issue arises. It’s arising now. By not having consultation, Burns tribe lost the chance to ask “should this happen at all?” Is Thacker eligible for listing on the National Register?

Burns Paiute Lawyer: no dispute this is an important place. Even archeological digging harms the religious and cultural significance, and potential for listing and protecting this place. This is irreparable harm and justifies a preliminary injunction.

Judge Miranda Du: “I will decide on this matter within a week.
BLM lawyer: We may file a motion early next week to extend the deadline out further relating to new claims being brought in the lawsuits.

That’s the end of the hearing.

The video below is the press conference held in the afternoon of August 27, 2021 following the hearing.

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Oct 18, 1868 Diary Entry from Thacker Pass

While researching the history of Thacker Pass / Peehee mu’huh for legal work, Will Falk found this diary entry, titled Field Notes of the Subdivision Lines in Township 44, from Oct 18, 1868:

General Description

About one half only of this Township is fit for cultivation and that is confined mostly to the grassland, which is all fine meadow and has a rich soil, about 230 tons of hay has been cut in Sec 25 this year, along both sides of the river.

Trout creek is the only mountain stream of any importance that flows through this Township. At this season of the year but little water.
The creek bed has an average width of one chain, and banks of an average height of 4ft.

It drains a considerable extent of mountain country and during the spring floods carves a very large body of water flowing through Trout Creek Valley. It has a heavy fall and rushes through the canyon in Sec. 8.17, with tremendous force. The walls of this canyon rise from 200 ft to 250 ft in perpendicular height. There are water marks here some 8ft or 10ft above it’s present level.

The sage land between the mountains and meadow is a bed of gravel worked through this canyon.

Sec. 33 is very wet meadow. In the N.W. 44 is a large clump of buffalo bush and the remains of an Indian camp. In the (dept.code), 1/4 there is an endless number of springs containing excellent water, the best indeed to be found in this section of the country.

Along the line between sec. 22, 23, and between the creek and the meadow I found the remains of an extensive Indian camp. It was at these camps that Captain _ Payne, with 100 E, 1st Nevada Cavalry, attacked and whipped a body of Indians on Sept 12th 1865. There are many Indian skulls and other remains to be found scattered over this junction of the township. I found same also opposite here on the East side of the river.

You can view a scan of the original document here