For Immediate Release
Release: Restraining Order Requested-Shoshone Grandmothers Plan Resistance Day on Proposed Mine Site
Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone grandmother, 775-468-0230
Dan Randolph, Great Basin Resource Watch, 775-722-4056
Julie Cavanaugh-Bill, Western Shoshone Defense Project, 775-744-2565 or
Restraining Order Requested-Shoshone Grandmothers Plan Resistance Day on
Proposed Mine Site
November 25, 2008, Crescent Valley, Newe Sogobi (Nevada).
As the holidays approach and the world watches President-elect Obama and the
bailouts; back in Nevada, home state of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,
it’s business as usual. Late yesterday, attorneys for several Western
Shoshone tribes and non-profit indigenous and environmental organizations
filed a request in the federal District Court in Reno, NV seeking a
restraining order against the construction of one of the country’s largest
open pit gold mines on the flank of spiritual Mt. Tenabo. The mine company
has already begun demolition of the pinyon forest with heavy machinery on
the site ripping out trees at a reported rate of 30 acres per day. As they
await a Court hearing and feeling compelled to take immediate action,
tomorrow, a group of Shoshone grandmothers will travel to the proposed mine
site to conduct a Day of Resistance to the destruction of the area and the
approval of the mine by the United States. Mt. Tenabo is a well-known home
to local Shoshone creation stories, spirit life, medicinal, food and
ceremonial plants and rocks and continues to be used to this day by Shoshone
for spiritual ceremonies and cultural practices. Over the years, tens of
thousands of individuals and organizations from across the United States and
around the world have joined with the Shoshone and voiced their opposition
to this mine-in fact, the mine is being referred to as the “most opposed
mine in the world”.
“We want them off this mountain, this is a spiritual genocide what’s going
on; destroying our mountain is destroying our beliefs. Removing water is
death to the mountains. No way. We will take whatever action we need to-
we’re going through the U.S. courts and we will stand on this Mountain in
support of her and call on those people around the world to stand with us in
solidarity.” Stated Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone Grandmother, Executive
Director of the Western Shoshone Defense Project and recipient of the Right
Livelihood Award (the alternate to the Nobel Peace Prize).
Barrick Gold Corporation, the world’s largest gold mining company,
headquartered in Canada, plans to construct and operate the mine, known as
the Cortez Hills Expansion Project. The area is located entirely within the
territory of the Western Shoshone Nation, recognized in the 1863 Treaty of
Ruby Valley. The Mine would blast and excavate a new massive open pit on
Mount Tenabo over 900 acres in size, with a depth of over 2,000 feet. It
would include several new waste disposal and processing facilities
(including a cyanide heap-leaching facility), consisting of approximately
1,577 million tons of waste rock, 53 million tons of tailings material, and
112 million tons of spent heap leach material. The Mine would include an
extensive groundwater pumping system to de-water Mount Tenabo and associated
water pipelines that will transport the pumped water away from Mount Tenabo.
In total, the mine would permanently destroy approximately 6,800 acres land
on and around Mount Tenabo, over 90% of which is classified as federal
In 2002 and 2003 the BLM conducted a series of armed seizures in the same
area, of the Dann family’s cattle and horses, claiming the Danns were
“trespassing” on public lands. The Danns, along with other Western
Shoshone, have challenged the U.S. claims to their ancestral and treaty
lands as recognized by the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley, which recognized
Western Shoshone rights in much of Nevada. These legal battles went all the
way to the Supreme Court, and on to International Fora. In March 2006 the
Western Shoshone received a ruling from the UN Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination, CERD, a treaty body set up by the United Nations
and ratified by the United States in 1993.
The Decision issued by CERD, and reconfirmed this year, urges the United
States to immediately freeze, desist and stop any further actions against
the Western Shoshone peoples, including legislative efforts to privatize
their land. CERD ordered the United States to stop immediately and initiate
dialogue with the Western Shoshone. The Decision specifically mentioned Mt.
Tenabo and the destruction of Western Shoshone lands by mining corporations.
“In the 1800’s, the U.S. sent in the Calvary to remove the Indians and to
kill off our sources of food, such as the Buffalo. Now here they are, just
days before Thanksgiving in 2008, destroying our Mountain of life and the
pinyon trees which are our food. This is happening today and it’s outrageous.” Says Joyce McDade, Western Shoshone grandmother.
Barbara Ridley, another Western Shoshone grandmother participating in the
resistance states: Who’s Thanksgiving is this anyway? What have we got to
celebrate? There’s no Thanksgiving for our people-they tell us we don’t
have our land but we still use it for our foods, plants and ceremonies.
This mountain is very important to us and people should respect our request
to leave it alone.”
The plaintiffs are being represented in court by Roger Flynn of the
non-profit legal firm, the Western Mining Action Project, which specializes
in mining law. The Grandmothers’ Resistance Day will take place of the South
Flank of Mt. Tenabo at the proposed mine site beginning at approximately
11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 26th.
For more information on the Western Shoshone land rights issues, Cortez
Hills Project, Mount Tenabo, and the legal challenge go to www.gbrw.org
<http://www.gbrw.org/> and www.wsdp.org <http://www.wsdp.org/> .