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.

Legal Update from the Hearing in Reno, July 21

In a video from Thacker Pass this morning, Max describes the status of the legal efforts to Protect Thacker Pass / Peehee Mu’huh.

Yesterday, a judge in the federal court in Reno heard arguments on a preliminary injunction motion filed against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Lithium Nevada Corporation (LNC) by the four environmental organizations who are suing the BLM and LNC. The lawsuit claims the Record of Decision by the BLM violates the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). On June 8, the group filed the injunction motion to prevent the BLM and LNC from proceeding with mine construction until their lawsuit is heard in court.In court yesterday, the judge heard arguments from the BLM and Lithium Nevada, as well as lawyers for the four environmental groups. The judge did not decide on the injunction motion yesterday, but we expect a decision on this motion by July 29.

On Tuesday, Reno Sparks Indian Colony and People of Red Mountain filed a motion to intervene in this case. This means that Reno Sparks Indian Colony and People of Red Mountain want to join the lawsuit against BLM and LNC as plaintiffs.

The motion to intervene brings new arguments to the case that fall under the National Historic Preservation Act. Under this law, the federal government is required to consult with native tribes with connections to the land before digging in or mining the land. We believe there is a strong case that the federal government has violated this law. We expect the judge to decide whether to let Reno Sparks Indian Colony and People of Red Mountain intervene in the case in the next couple of weeks.

The National Historic Preservation Act is not a strong law for protecting the land. The law does not say corporations can’t dig up a place or mine a place; it just says that the federal government must consult with tribes prior to permitting the digging and mining of a place. The government is not obliged to deny the permit even if the people with whom they consult are opposed to the mining of the land. This law is colonial law: it gives the federal government jurisdiction over land, which, in the case of Thacker Pass / Peehee Mu’huh, was never formally ceded by the tribes. There is no treaty signed that covers the Thacker Pass area, so there is no legal basis for the state of Nevada or the Federal Government to claim the land, other than the doctrine of discovery, the original law of colonization and genocide on this continent.

We will continue to use all legal tools available to us to fight the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine, despite the National Historic Preservation Act being a weak law. Whether we like it or not, the court exists, the federal government believes it has jurisdiction over this land, and so we must fight the mine using these tools. But we will not count on these legal tools working, and so that is why we continue to occupy the land in opposition to the mine.

There are three key decisions we are waiting on: the judge’s decision about whether to let Reno Sparks Indian Colony and People of Red Mountain to join the case; the decision on the injunction motion from the four environmental groups, and the decision from the BLM about whether to issue the permit for archeological digging. If the judge decides not to allow Reno Sparks Indian Colony and People of Red Mountain to join the case and rejects the injunction motion, and the BLM decides to issue the permit, then Far Western Archeology Research Group can commence digging as soon as July 29.

However, we hope at least one of these decisions goes our way, in which case digging could be delayed until August.

Either way, we continue to occupy Thacker Pass / Peehee Mu’huh and prepare to resist any corporate activity from LNC or Far Western. We must not forget that the legal system, federal law, and regulations are all set up to allow projects like the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine to go forward, no matter the impact to the land, the water, the air, or the human and non-human communities a mine like this will have. The system is stacked against us.

We have each other! We must join together, and take advantage of any time we gain to continue to pressure the people in power, and prepare to put our bodies on the line. We will continue to pressure the Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, our representatives in government, and local officials to rescind existing permits and deny the outstanding permits for this mine, and to meet with the Reno Sparks Indian Colony and People of Red Mountain and listen to their concerns.

Join us! Call your representatives. Call the Department of the Interior. Call officials. Come to camp. Make art, write, protest. Donate.

Thank you.

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Prayer Run Video: Steens Mountain to Thacker Pass

On June 25-27, 2021, the People of Red Mountain led a Prayer Run from Steens Mountain, OR to Peehee Mu’huh / Thacker Pass. This is a video of that event. The run was 143 miles and connected the homelands of the Northern Paiute at Steens Mountain to the Paiute-Shoshone people’s resistance at Thacker Pass, traversing the northern end of the McDermitt Caldera, filled with lithium and other metals and minerals and threatened with destruction from hundreds of mining claims. 

The People of Red Mountain are amazing: their care for the land and the efforts they are making to raise awareness about the fight to save Peehee mu’huh / Thacker Pass from mining are wonderful and inspiring. We are proud to stand in solidarity with the People of Red Mountain. Thank you runners!!

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EVs are not sustainable: How you can help today

It’s time to #StopTheGreenwashing and #FightForTheLiving. Join Us!!

🔥 ✊ 🌎 HOW YOU CAN HELP TODAY 🌎 ✊ 🔥

🌎 Call or email the Department of the Interior and leave a message for Secretary Deb Haaland. Ask her to meet with the People of Red Mountain and listen to them.
Get contact information and your call/email script here.

🌎 Call or email Craig Young at Far Western Anthropological Research Group and tell them not to destroy or desecrate the Paiute massacre site, artifacts, cultural resources, or potential burial sites in Peehee mu’huh.
Get contact information and your call / email script here.

🌎 Call the Register of Professional Archaeologists’ Grievance Hotline and tell the Register to drop all Far Western members from the Register immediately, or warn them that proceeding with this project may put their registry status in jeopardy.
Get contact number and your call script here.

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