ACTION ALERT! Supporters, we need your help

🆘 ACTION ALERT 🆘

The Bureau of Land Management plans to begin destroying the sacred land and critical wildlife habitat of Thacker Pass very soon. They are planning to send “professional archeologists” into Thacker Pass very soon to conduct government-sanctioned looting.

Indigenous peoples including the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Burns Paiute Tribe, and Atsa Koodakuh why Nuwu / People of Red Mountain are against this. The National Congress of American Indians has spoken out, as has the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada and the Nevada Statewide Native American Caucus. 

To save Thacker Pass (known as Peehee Mu’huh in the Paiute language) from desecration, we need the Bureau of Land Management to cancel their planned archeological dig, promise to engage in real consultation with affected tribes under NAGPRA, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and ultimately cancel the project permits. This is a step on the road to protecting Thacker Pass.

There are voices on the wind at Peehee Mu’huh; the voices of the ancestors who were killed here, telling old truths so that we, the living, can save this remarkable place. This is how we honor their lives: by protecting the land on which they lived and died, by uncovering stories that must not be buried in the rubble of open-pit mines.

CALL AND WRITE to everyone below to let them know our demands. Your efforts do make a difference!

TALKING POINTS

  • Consultation with tribes was “fast-tracked” during the worst days of the pandemic.
  • Because of this, BLM failed to find easily available documentation that there was a massacre in Thacker Pass. None of the government documents (EIS, Cultural Resource Inventory, HPTP, etc.) produced by BLM and Lithium Nevada have addressed the September 12, 1865 massacre, which is important part of U.S. American History that qualifies for the National Register of Historic Places. This is blatant negligence. 
  • This massacre is like a Paiute “Pearl Harbor.” It was a surprise attack on peaceful Paiutes and at least 31 were murdered.
  • Now that BLM has been presented with the proof of this massacre and proof that there are likely human remains in the project area, BLM is trying to sweep this under the rug and won’t consult with the lineal descendants of those massacred.
  • The Biden Administration and the BLM have a legal and moral obligation to halt the Thacker Pass mine and conduct proper consultation under the Native American Graves Protect and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

NOTE

If you represent an organization, Tribal Government, or are otherwise influential, please use that leverage to pressure these agencies by sharing this message on your platforms, sending official letters, requesting meetings, and coordinating with us.

PHONE NUMBERS – leave a message if you don’t get through

  1. Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior —  202-208-3100, x3 for Sec Haaland (leave a message or talk to her assistant).
  2. Nada Wolff Culver, Acting BLM Director — 202-208-3801 (main office in Grand Junction)
  3. Jon Raby, BLM Nevada State Director — 775-861-6400 (ask to be connected or leave message with assistant)
  4. U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation — 202-517-0209 (contact for Nevada: Bill Marzella)
  5. U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs — 202-208-5116 (x5 for directors office)
  6. Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribal Council — 702-532-8259
  7. U.S. Senator Jackie Rosen — 202-224-6244
  8. Kathleen Rehberg, BLM Field Manager, Humboldt River Field Office — 775-623-1739
  9. Mark Hall, BLM Archeologist for the Thacker Pass lithium mine — 775-623-1500 (ask to speak to Mark Hall)
  10. Ken Loda, BLM Project Lead for the Thacker Pass lithium mine — 775-623-1500 (ask to speak to Ken Loda)
  11. Ester McCullough, BLM Winnemucca District Manager — 775-623-1500 (ask to speak to Ester McCullough).

EMAILS
deb_haaland@ios.doi.gov, sfoss@blm.gov, BLM_NV_NVSO_web_mail@blm.gov, achp@achp.gov, b50hocke@blm.gov, shpo-info@shpo.nv.gov, rlpalmer@shpo.nv.gov, kdedufour@shpo.nv.gov, srubinson@shpo.nv.gov, awiley@shpo.nv.gov, shana.johnson@shpo.nv.gov, consultation@bia.gov, newsmedia@bia.gov, wfoweb@blm.gov, nculver@blm.gov, BLM_Press@blm.gov, Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov, krehberg@blm.gov, mhall@blm.gov, kloda@blm.gov, rnelson@achp.gov, jloichinger@achp.gov, bmarzella@achp.gov, bmarzella@achp.gov, wdancingfeather@achp.gov, bmarzella@achp.gov

TWITTER TARGETS
@BLMNV, @BLMnational, @SecDebHaaland, @Interior, @AmbassadorRice, @SenJackyRosen

INSTAGRAM TARGETS
ambsusanrice, secdebhaaland, blm_nevada, #bureauofindianaffairs, senjackyrosen

Stop The Dig

Realities from the frontlines of lithium extraction

On September 21, 2021 Yes to Life, No to Mining Network’s Lithium Working Group presented the their first Communique—On the Frontlines of Lithium Mining—in a press conference covering:

  • Why expanding mining will not solve the climate crisis.
  • How lithium extraction is responsible for trampling the rights of peoples and destroying ecosystems that play a vital role in regulating the global climate, water systems and biodiversity.
  • Principles of a just transformation to a non-exploitative, decolonial clean energy future could look like.

Read ‘On the Frontlines of Lithium Mining’ in full here: yestolifenotomining.org/latest-news/ylnm-lithium-communique/

Protect Thacker Pass attended this meeting, and People of Red Mountain submitted a video to the event which was played at the end, along with a trailer for a new film coming out soon about lithium mining in South America.

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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.

International Lithium Group Stands in Solidarity with Peehee mu’huh / Thacker Pass Communities

For Immediate Release
September 8, 2021

Contacts:
John Hadder, Great Basin Resource Watch
Mirko Nikolić, YLNM-Lithium Group / Postdoc Linköping University
Hannibal Rhoades, YLNM-Lithium Group / The Gaia Foundation

Today, an international working group of individuals from around the world who are directly facing the effects of lithium extraction or are a part of organizations working alongside these frontline communities, have released a statement in support of the directly affected communities of the proposed Thacker Pass lithium mine. They are demanding that all ground-breaking at the Thacker Pass mine site be halted and that the affected communities be treated with full right to withhold consent for the mine.

The international YLNM lithium group is composed of people from places in Chile, Serbia, Portugal, Nevada, California, Australia, Spain, and the UK who are facing the negative repercussions of existing lithium mining or who are fighting proposed lithium mines threatening to devastate their communities, cultural resources, and ecosystems. It is from this place of first hand experience of the harms associated with lithium mining that they internationally demand for ground-breaking operations to be halted at Thacker Pass and for the affected communities to be treated with complete right to withhold consent for the mine.

Ramón M. Balcázar is one of the members of the YLNM network, who works at the Plurinational Observatory of Salares Andinos in protecting Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia’s salt flats from lithium extraction: “​​As we can see in Nevada, the expansion of lithium mining reproduces colonialism not only in Latin America but also in stolen lands in so-called developed countries. If this is the cost of having electric cars for the most polluting countries of the world, maybe we need to find other ways for clean and just mobility, and those ways are probably beyond green capitalism.”

Prior to and after the Record of Decision on the Thacker Pass mine by the Bureau of Land Management in January 2021, large numbers of individuals from the various affected communities–such as the People of Red Mountain, the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe, The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, the Burns Paiute Tribe, and the agricultural communities within Orovada and Kings River Valley–have been loudly voicing opposition. Members from these multiple frontline communities that will be directly and significantly harmed by the Thacker Pass Lithium mine have been fighting to prevent its construction through various peaceful avenues.

One of these forces of community resistance is the Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu, or the People of Red Mountain, which is a group of Fort McDermitt tribal descendants who formed specifically to oppose the Thacker Pass mine and other lithium projects threatening their homelands. As Deland Hinkey from the group states, “Peehee Mu’huh is sacred land and we must protect sacred land. It is not too late for change. We all need to realize that we only have one Earth and she must be protected. Stop corporations like Lithium Nevada, who want to destroy Mother Earth for profit…Let’s Protect Peehee Mu’huh.”

Folks from the agricultural communities next to the mine have also been clear in voicing the harms the mine will cause them. As one of these community members, Jean Williams, in Orovada, NV states, “this mine at Thacker Pass is not being permitted for the well being of our farming community. The process they wish to use is questionable. The amount of sulfur to be brought in for processing has the potential for permanent harm to crops and cattle production. Our water may disappear with no guarantee from the mine to make it right.”

Despite their and other community members’ efforts, and the clear community un-consent for the mine, it was permitted by the Bureau of Land Management in a fast-tracked manner that neglected proper Tribal consultation and public process. The mine is currently on the brink of construction, with many members from affected communities actively still resisting it, as well as active litigation in opposition to the mine’s permitting from a local rancher, conservation groups, two federally recognized Tribes, and the Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu. It is still undetermined precisely when the mining company, Lithium Nevada, will be breaking ground, but they have stated intent to do so in the near future.

The international working group’s statement of solidarity and demand for the rights of the communities affected by the Thacker Pass mine was echoed by over a dozen other international organizations and individuals who also signed on to the demands in the statement. The sentiment of solidarity with those on Thacker Pass’s frontlines is global beyond the YLNM network.

In a time where proponents of the mine largely center their arguments around domestic production of lithium and preventing “outsourcing” of the harms of mining it onto other nations, the statement coming directly from those affected by lithium mining in these other nations speaks volumes in pushing back this narrative. It states loud and clear that communities, no matter where they are located, should hold complete right to withhold consent for mines that directly affect them, their cultural resources, sacred sites, water, land, and air. The YLNM lithium network and the greater global voices’ sweeping support and solidarity for those harmed by the Thacker Pass mine sends the message that a win for the community members fighting the Thacker Pass mine is a win for communities directly affected by lithium mining everywhere.

“Our planet is home to an astonishing multitude of plant, animal, human communities and living environments. Toxic and exploitative extractivist system keeps trying to separate us from our communities and Nature, and plunges us deeper into climate and socio-ecological chaos that it caused in the first place. A true and just transformation will be led by communities and imbued by our knowledge to meet the specific needs and realities of the places we inhabit and care for. Through this work in our respective places, we will be able to join paths towards regenerating the Earth community of justice and solidarity,” Mirko Nikolić from the YLNM-Lithium Group.

Open Letter to Secretary Haaland

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.

Sincerely,

Daranda Hinkey
Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribal Member
Secretary of Atsa Koodakuh wyh Nuwu / People of Red Mountain