Cost of Green Energy on Native People’s Sacred Lands

An excerpt from an article originally posted by NBC News. 

Opponents of the mine draw on both oral and recorded history to establish its spiritual importance to the Shoshone and Paiute people. According to Gary McKinney, tribal oral history says soldiers massacred around 30 Paiute tribal members at Thacker Pass in 1865.

A contemporary newspaper account and a 1929 book, both cited in court filings, described an early-morning raid on a Paiute camp in September 1865 by the 1st Nevada Cavalry Battalion that killed women and children. The article called it an “Indian fight,” and said it left at least 31 Indians “permanently friendly,” meaning dead, and said that tally was probably low.

McKinney says that tribal members go to Thacker Pass to gather roots, medicinal herbs and berries for traditional ceremonies and rituals. Like many members of his tribe, he believes the valley, also known to Paiutes as Rotten Moon, is a “final resting place” for his ancestors.

Members of other Indigenous groups far from Thacker Pass have expressed support for McKinney and the opponents of the mine. To raise awareness, activists from around the U.S. ran, biked, rode horses and drove 2,600 miles from Nevada to New York.

You can read the full article on the NBC website.


Lithium America’s Tokenism of the Worst Kind

An excerpt from an article by Shelley Harjo originally posted in the Nevada Current. 

Lithium Nevada’s attempts to portray my tribal council as representing all Native Americans is tokenism of the worst kind. It is important for non-Natives to understand reservations and tribal councils are purely an invention of the American government. Reservations were created to move Native Americans off of the most economically desirable lands as more and more settlers arrived. Tribal councils were created by the American government in an attempt to manufacture legitimacy for the American government’s systematic theft of Native land. Prior to the 1860s, there was no such thing as the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe or the Fort McDermitt reservation – natives at that time had no borders.

Do not be fooled by Lithium Nevada’s publicity tactics to date. My reservation is impoverished and desperate for economic opportunities. Many tribal members are forced to choose to work at the mines because they have no other options. Additionally, many leave the reservation to find their own economic permanency for their families.

Therefore, just because the Fort McDermitt tribe is seeking economic opportunities from Lithium Nevada does not mean most Native Americans support the Thacker Pass desecration. It doesn’t even mean most Fort McDermitt tribal members support it. All it means is the current Fort McDermitt tribal council is willing to, perhaps unknowingly, sacrifice the health of the land for a few temporary jobs for a few tribal members.

Read the rest of the article at the Nevada Current.