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Western Shoshone protest Nevada gold mine

Associated Press
January 21st, 2009

About three dozen Western Shoshone and environmental activists staged a demonstration outside the Reno federal courthouse as a judge begins a two-day hearing on a motion to block a big gold mine in northeast Nevada.

The activists argue Barrick Gold Corp.'s Cortez Hills project will desecrate Mount Tenabo, held sacred by some Western Shoshone. Great Basin Resource Watch and the Western Shoshone also claim the Bureau of Land Management's approval of the 6,700-acre mine was based on flawed environmental studies.

In court documents and at a December hearing, lawyers for Barrick countered that Mount Tenabo has been mined for more than a century. At last December's hearing, Barrick lawyer Francis Wikstrom displayed satellite photos depicting crisscrossing roads and cleared forests in the remote area.

The hearing on an injunction being sought by some Western Shoshone, along with Great Basin Resource Watch, to stop at least a part of the mine is scheduled the morning of January 20 in U.S. District Court.

"We go to pray to our creator to give us strength to keep us going," Western Shoshone member Joyce McDade said. "How can we pray to our creator when the place is being blown up?"

The protest featured native drumming, song and prayer, as well as speeches by Western Shoshone elders and others. It will began at 8 a.m. outside the federal courthouse.

A similar protest is planned at the same time Wednesday.

Roger Flynn, an attorney representing the Western Shoshone Defense Project and others, has said his clients don't object to the entire project, just those aspects that would scar Mount Tenabo.

 

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