Proceeds from fundraising concert will go to Nez Perce tribal members arrested in megaloads protest.
Area protestors captured national headlines in August by obstructing megaload shipments through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest bound for the Canadian tar sands. A parade and benefit concert on Friday in Moscow will support and aid those arrested.
“We want to express our appreciation and show our solidarity with the Nez Perce people who worked so hard,” says Jeanne McHale, a member of Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Friends of the Clearwater, two of four Moscow-based environmental groups sponsoring the event.
Several Moscow environmentalists joined tribal members in protesting the use of a wild portion of U.S. Highway 12 as an industrial corridor. Twenty-eight Nez Perce tribal members were charged on September 12 with public nuisance infractions, after last month’s protests against an Omega Morgan megaload shipment traveling through the Nez Perce Reservation. Those arrested included eight members of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee. Funds raised will go toward the protest, travel, and legal efforts and expenses of those arrested.
“Moscow has become something of a sacrifice zone for Highway 12. When things did not go well there, loads came through Moscow,” McHale, a board member of Friends of the Clearwater, says of past protests against megaloads in the area.
The Moscow Volunteer Peace Band will kick off the event with a parade starting at 6:30 pm at Friendship Square. Anyone is welcome to join the band whether they play an instrument or not, McHale says. The parade will end at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse, where the concert starts at 7 pm.
Concert highlights include Nez Perce speakers describing their megaload resistance, tribal drummers, a round dance, and original, politically-charged music by McHale and other singers, including songs about the megaloads. Moscow bands performing include the Galactic Tofu Farmers and Undiscovered Country.
There will be free refreshments and beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks available for purchase. Admission is a $5 donation. Other groups sponsoring the event include the Palouse Group of the Sierra Club and the Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition.
The concert will also celebrate a partial victory in the anti-megaload groups’ favor, McHale notes. Last week, a federal judge ordered the U.S. Forest Service to temporarily halt megaload shipments through the national forest via U.S. Highway 12, because it was bound by federal acts and its own forest plan to study the effects of the megaloads and consult with the tribe.
“We want to build on this chance for unity,” McHale says.
(By Jennifer Bauer, Inland 360, The Lewiston Tribune)