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Western Shoshone and Paiute Protests

by Brenda NorrellThe Narcosphere
January 20th, 2009

Photo by Lisa Wolf
Photos by Lisa Wolf

Western Shoshone gathered demonstrated outside federal court in Reno today, demanding that Barrick Gold halt destruction of the area of Mount Tenabo, their sacred mountain. Nearby at Pyramid Lake on Saturday, about 150 Paiutes and supporters gathered to protest. Paiutes said the Pyramid Lake Marina operator has held Paiutes and their cultural items "hostage."

Carrie Dann discusses the sacred mountain, Mount Tenabo, on Censored Blog Talk Radio today. The interview with Larry Smith is rebroadcast with permission from American Indian Airwaves. On the telephone with Censored News Radio, Wayne Burke, Paiute, describes the protest at Pyramid Lake to protect the cultural treasures.

The Federal District Court in Reno, Nevada is scheduled to begin a two day injunction hearing today. Western Shoshone are asking the court to protect the world-recognized Shoshone spiritualCarrie by Lisa Wolf area, Mount Tenabo from what would be one of the U.S.’ largest open pit cyanide heap leach gold mines. Just two months ago, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved the construction of the mine, wholly owned and operated by Canadian multinational mining giant Barrick Gold Corporation. Western Shoshone communities, the Western Shoshone Defense Project and Great Basin Resource Watch filed suit immediately and a partial temporary restraining order was put in place in early December.

Mt. Tenabo is home to local Shoshone creation stories, spirit life, medicinal, food and ceremonial rocks and plants and continues to be used to this day by Shoshone for spiritual ceremonies and cultural practices, the Western Shoshone Defense Project said in a statement.

Over the years, tens of thousands of individuals and organizations from across the United States and around the world have joined with the Shoshone and voiced their opposition to this mine –in fact, the mine is being referred to as the “most opposed mine in the world”.
Barrick, the world's largest gold mining company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, plans to construct and operate the mine, known as the Cortez Hills Expansion Project.

The Project area is located entirely within the territory of the Western Shoshone Nation, recognized in the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley. The Mine would blast and excavate a new massive open pit on Mount Tenabo over 900 acres in size, with a depth of over 2,000 feet. It would include several new waste disposal and processing facilities (including a cyanide heap-leaching facility), consisting of approximately 1,577 million tons of waste rock, 53 million tons of tailings material, and 112 million tons of spent heap leach material. The Mine would include an extensive groundwater pumping system to dewater Mount Tenabo (in order to keep the open pit and mine workings dry during mining) and associated water pipelines that will transport the pumped water away from Mount Tenabo. In total, the mine would permanently destroy approximately 6,800 acres land on and around Mount Tenabo, over 90% of which is classified as federal "public" land.
Award-winning singer Pura Fe shares her song, "Stand Up," for the broadcast today. The song includes rapper Leilani, Kwaquiootle and Samoan, with "Native Prophecy" hip hop artist and Danny Godinez, Azteca. Today's show includes music and audio by Janice Gardipe, Paiute/Western Shoshone, Longest Walk singers at Cahokia Mounds, Keith Secola at AIM West Reunion, Floyd Westerman, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson's ''Music For Native Americans," Mary Youngblood, and a statement by Bill Means on Raymond Yellow Thunder. Thanks to Earthcycles for recordings of Janice Gardipe, Longest Walk singers and Bill Means. Listen at:

Photos by Lisa Wolf: Western Shoshone sing during today's demonstration outside the federal courthouse in Reno. Western Shoshone Carrie Dann speaks at today's protest.


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