Halt the Thacker Pass, Nevada, Lithium Mine!


On September 27, indigenous and allied activists and organizations, defending the sacred lands and water and critical wildlife habitat of Thacker Pass (Peehee Mu’huh in the Paiute language) in northern Nevada, from a proposed, massive, open-pit, lithium mine, launched a coordinated, public pressure campaign targeting public officials of the Biden administration, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Department of the Interior, and state of Nevada.  Within days, they learned that the BLM had quietly issued an archeological dig permit this week, which allows “professional archeologists” and excavators to desecrate known massacre sites of Northern Paiute and Western Shoshone ancestors, and conduct government-sanctioned looting, while also providing momentum for the mining companies Lithium Nevada, Lithium Americas, and Far Western to start construction of the mine.  At this decisive time in regional resistance, which includes an environmental lawsuit with indigenous interveners and an opposition camp established in January 2021, the Native coalition Atsa Koodakuh why Nuwu (People of Red Mountain) and frontline activists of Protect Thacker Pass (PTP) are calling on all of us to help stop sacred site disturbances that could happen within days.  Please join Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) soon in these actions:

1) CARPOOL & CAMP with WIRT and allies journeying to Thacker Pass, where a small gathering of serious people and Native elders have been fervently praying, honorably working, and creatively resisting the proposed mine, with good hearts, minds, spirits, and clarity of purpose, during almost ten months on the Peehee Mu’huh frontline.  They are urgently encouraging your immediate, physical presence and support at Thacker Pass: “Now is the time to stand up!”  In 2019, a PTP organizer traveled to north Idaho, to offer direct action training for WIRT’s Panhandle Paddle and ongoing #No2ndBridge campaign against BNSF’s fossil fuels pipeline-on-rails expansion.  We are grateful to reciprocally assist this mine opposition, beyond covering Thacker Pass updates via our weekly, Climate Justice Forum, radio program, despite recent facebook aversion and a posting backlog.  See the Protect Thacker Pass and Protect Peehee Mu’huh website and facebook pages, for campaign information, massacre history, fact sheets, and camp rules.  Contact WIRT to participate in inland Northwest trips to Nevada [1-3].

2) DEMAND THAT THE BLM recognize Thacker Pass massacres, cancel the planned archeological dig, and promise to engage in proper consultation with affected tribes, per the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.  People of Red Mountain, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, the Burns Paiute Tribe, the National Congress of American Indians, the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, and the Nevada Statewide Native American Caucus have all spoken out against the Thacker Pass mine.  Ultimately, these stakeholders are asking Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to rescind the record of decision (the main BLM approval of the mine) and revoke all project permits.

With your edited version of this information and the enclosed talking points, share this message with your networks and social media platforms, call and write to everyone listed here with these demands, and know that your efforts make a significant difference.  If you represent an organization, tribal government, or are otherwise influential, leverage your power by pressuring these agencies, sending official letters, requesting meetings, and coordinating with Protect Thacker Pass (contact@protectthackerpass.org).

Talking Points

* During the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BLM “fast-tracked” consultation with tribes, thus failing to find easily available documentation of the September 12, 1865 and other brutal massacres in Thacker Pass.  Like a Paiute “Pearl Harbor,” the disregarded, surprise, 1865 attack by the U.S. Cavalry murdered at least 31 peaceful Natives, mostly women and children, while male hunters were gone.

* None of the government documents about the lithium mine, such as the cultural resource inventory and environmental review produced with blatant negligence by the BLM and Lithium Nevada, address the 1865 massacre, an important part of American history that qualifies Thacker Pass for the National Register of Historic Places.

* Through court case filings and new evidence, affected tribes have presented the BLM with proof of this massacre and probable human remains in the project area.  But BLM is attempting to ignore this situation, and refuses to consult with the lineal descendants of massacred Paiute ancestors.  As required by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, the Biden administration and BLM have legal and moral obligations to honor indigenous culture, conduct proper tribal consultation, and halt the Thacker Pass mine.

Phone Numbers

(Ask to speak with the official; otherwise, talk directly with an assistant, or leave a message.)

Deb Haaland, U.S. Secretary of the Interior: 202-208-3100, extension 3

Jacky Rosen, U.S. Senator, Democrat from Nevada: 202-224-6244

U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs: 202-208-5116, extension 5 for director’s office

Bill Marzella, Nevada contact for U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation: 202-517-0209

Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribal Council: 702-532-8259

Nada Wolff Culver, Acting BLM Director at main, Grand Junction office: 202-208-3801

Jon Raby, BLM Nevada State Director: 775-861-6400

Ester McCullough, BLM Winnemucca District Manager: 775-623-1500

Kathleen Rehberg, BLM Field Manager, Humboldt River Field Office: 775-623-1739

Ken Loda, BLM Project Lead for Thacker Pass mine: 775-623-1500

Mark Hall, BLM Archeologist for Thacker Pass mine: 775-623-1500

Email Addresses

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, wdancingfeather@achp.gov

Twitter Contacts

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

Instagram Contacts

@ambsusanrice, @secdebhaaland, @blm_nevada, @senjackyrosen, @bureauofindianaffairs

Thanks for your involvement in grassroots, frontline resistance to the fossil fuel causes and false solutions of climate change!

[1] Protect Thacker Pass (website)

[2] Protect Thacker Pass (facebook)

[3] Protect Peehee Mu’huh (facebook)

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