The Indigenous Peoples Movement is an organization dedicated to protecting the rights, traditions, and sacred lands of Indigenous peoples. We are deeply disturbed by the recent events at Thacker Pass, Nevada, which have seen a gross violation of human rights, destruction of sacred sites, and a total disregard for the voice of our people.
Thacker Pass, or Peehee Mu’huh in the Paiute language, is a site of immense cultural and spiritual significance to the Paiute and Shoshone peoples. It has been a center for traditional ceremonies, medicines, tools, and food supply for thousands of years. Moreover, it is the site of two tragic massacres of our people, the first being an intertribal conflict and the second a horrendous attack by the U.S. Cavalry in 1865. The remains of our massacred ancestors have remained unidentified and unburied since 1865, and now face further indignity as they are bulldozed and crushed for the mineral known as “the new white gold”.
The Ox Sam Indigenous Women’s Camp, named after a survivor of the 1865 Thacker Pass Massacre, has been the base camp for resistance against the establishment of the largest open-pit lithium mine in North America. The camp was recently raided by law enforcement officials on behalf of Lithium Nevada Corporation. This action led to the destruction of two ceremonial tipi lodges, confiscation and mishandling of ceremonial instruments and objects, the extinguishing of a sacred fire, and an arrest without warning of one of our water protectors, a young Diné woman, who was then subjected to frightening and inhumane conditions.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), despite persistent legal challenges from the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, and Burns Paiute Tribe, has continued to permit this exploitation of Thacker Pass, overlooking the area’s sacred significance to regional Tribal Nations.
As the Indigenous Peoples Movement, we unequivocally condemn these actions and demand the immediate cessation of activities at Thacker Pass. We insist upon the respect for our right to peaceful protest and demand the release of our confiscated ceremonial objects, the preservation of our sacred sites, and the upholding of our religious freedom rights. We also call for the immediate release of the arrested Diné woman and an investigation into her mistreatment.
We implore you to listen to our plea and join us in protecting the sacred lands of Indigenous peoples, their rights, and their traditions. We must ensure that such inhumane actions and gross violations of human rights do not go unnoticed and unaddressed.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your support and action.