portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

human & civil rights

Domestic Terrorism? Preparing for Another Assault in Shoshone Country.

Contact the WSDP to get on the Alert List in the event that the BLM continues with the planned confiscation of Shoshone livestock. People willing to participate in non-violent, direct action, as well as documentation (photo, audio, and video) are needed in Crescent Valley, Nevada. Remember, the Western Shoshone remain committed to the Treaty of Peace and Friendship. Firearms, Drugs, and Alcohol are strictly forbidden!

For More information please call the Western Shoshone Defense Project 775-468-0230 or email  wsdp@wsdp.org
*****For Immediate Release***

Domestic Terrorism? Preparing for Another Assault in Shoshone Country.
Friday, September 20th, 2002


Crescent Valley, Newe Sogobia (Nevada) The morning after a round of intercontinental missile testing overhead, Mary and Carrie Dann prepare for the threat of fully armed federal agents -aided by helicopters overhead and rented cowboys on horseback - swarming into their ancestral grazing lands and rounding up their livelihood. The Danns are Western Shoshone grandmothers who have been engaged in a decades long struggle with the federal government over access to and use of their lands, lands recognized in an 1863 Treaty with the United States. The U.S. claims the lands are ?public lands? and has engaged in continuous threats and enforcement actions against the Dann sisters and other Western Shoshone as they attempt to survive as cattle grazers and native people in the vast valleys and mountain ranges stretching across present day Nevada. The Western Shoshone have been barred from judicial relief in the U.S. Courts, but received confirmation of their land claims in July of this year when the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States affirmed the Danns? argument that the U.S. is using illegitimate means to claim ownership and control of Western Shoshone land and called upon the U.S. to take action to remedy the situation of the Western Shoshone and their land rights.

The U.S. is choosing to ignore reasonable solutions for these people, instead, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs now is pushing forward Senate Bill 958 with an alleged ?pay off? to the Indians of approximately $0.15 per acre for land (the same area which encompassed the Carlin gold trend with a mined value of $20 billion dollars and rising). Senator Reid, the sponsor of the bill, has bypassed tribal and traditional governments in pushing the meager distribution through. Senator Reid?s office now ignores repeated calls and proposals to consider a process to resolve the land issues and establish an adequate homeland for the Western Shoshone people. The failure of Senator Reid to reasonably address the issue of land rights is especially questionable in light of another bill he has sponsored, Senate Bill 719, the Northern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. That bill would open up all ?public lands? in Nevada (approximately 87% of the State) to privatization and sale to the highest bidder multinational corporations have already begun exploration activities.

After receiving news of the pending raid through an anonymous call, Mary Dann, now in her early seventies, appeared tired, ?We have repeatedly asked the federal government for Western Shoshone land transfer documents. If our ancestors agreed to give up or sell this land we would respect that agreement. But the federal agencies have never shown us such documents and our own Shoshone history does not talk about any agreement or document giving away the land.? In fact, legal scholars and the Report of the Inter-American Commission agree that U.S. history contains no cession or abandonment by the Western Shoshone people, and the 1863 Treaty stands untouched. Carrie Dann?s only public statement was to term the current federal action as ?domestic terrorism?.

For more information, contact the Western Shoshone Defense Project at 775-468-0230, e-mail:  wsdp@igc.org or Deborah Schaaf at the Indian Law Resource Center at 406-449-2006.

Please call the following U.S. officials immediately and ask them to cease and desist from their efforts to punish Western Shoshone citizens by fines and confiscation for the act of grazing on ancestral lands. Ask why grazing lands were never included as part of the various W. Shoshone reservations.

-Elko BLM Field Manager Helen Hankins (775)-753-0200
-Nevada State BLM Director Robert Abbey (775)-861-6400
-Secretary of Interior Gale Norton (202)-208-3100


It is especially important to communicate ASAP to members of Congress on the present and impending danger of confiscations and because of the pending Shoshone Claims Distribution Legislation. If you have the time, try setting up a meeting with them or their staff. As the bill currently is sitting before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, it is especially important to communicate with your Senators if they sit on this committee.

Offices for all Congressional members can be reached through the capital switchboard at 202-224-3121
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
838 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
202-224-2251  http://www.senate.gov/

Democrats
Daniel K. Inouye, Chairman Hawaii
Kent Conrad North Dakota
Harry Reid Nevada
Daniel K. Akaka Hawaii
Paul Wellstone Minnesota
Byron L. Dorgan North Dakota
Tim Johnson South Dakota
Maria Cantwell Washington
Republicans
Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Vice-Chairman Colorado
Frank H. Murkowski Alaska
John McCain Arizona
Pete V. Domenici New Mexico
Craig Thomas Wyoming
Orrin G. Hatch Utah
James Inhofe Oklahoma


Some suggested points to make include:

· The ongoing confiscations clearly demonstrate why S 958 will not provide relief to the Western Shoshone because it does nothing to resolve the need for an adequate land base for all W. Shoshone communities. In the Treaty of Ruby Valley , the Shoshone agreed to become agriculturists and herdsmen, yet the government will not recognize any land for these purposes.
· Any legislation concerning the Western Shoshone must be developed with the consent and participation of Western Shoshone leadership, both Traditional and Federally Recognized Councils.
· Any legislation concerning distribution of Claims money must make clear the money is for past damages which do not include title or rights to the land. Language in any bill should explicitly override the provision of the Indian Claims Commission Act which precludes the exercise of rights connected to lands being compensated for.
· A one time cash payment suggests that only the current generation of Western Shoshone is important and leaves nothing for the future generations.
·Cash payments do nothing to change the conditions which have left the Western Shoshone without land or resources. Any legislative solution must provide an adequate land base for the cultural and economic survival of all Western Shoshone communities. Legislation should reaffirm the Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

3. Contact the WSDP to get on the Alert List in the Event that the BLM continues with the planned confiscation of Shoshone livestock. People willing to participate in non-violent, direct action, as well as documentation (photo, audio, and video) are needed. We are not asking for you to come here now, but would like to know who could come out to Northeast Nevada in the unhappy event of a confrontation. Remember, the Western Shoshone remain committed to the Treaty of Peace and Friendship. Firearms, Drugs, and Alcohol are strictly forbidden!


>|<>|<>|<>|<>|<>|<>|<>|<>|<>|<
Reinard Knutsen
Shundahai Network
PO Box 1115, Salt Lake City UT 84110
(801) 359-2614  reinard@shundahai.org
www.shundahai.org

homepage: homepage: http://www.shundahai.org
phone: phone: 775-468-0230