This is a video from a quiet evening at Thacker Pass. The only sounds that night were a frog croaking, the creek flowing, and birds heading off to bed. The stillness and peace of a night like this is valuable beyond anything money can buy. This quiet may be broken anytime by the roar of bulldozers coming to destroy this land. If you want to oppose this, please visit https://protectthackerpass.org and sign up for email updates.
Hello everyone. Springtime here at Thacker Pass/Peehee Mu-Huh. It’s a beautiful night. Sun is gonna be setting here any moment. The plants are starting to come up. Wild onions. The insects are starting to come out. The wind is calm. Saw the pronghorn antelope migrating through the pass here, and mule deer migrating through the pass earlier today. If you hear that sound, that’s water. I don’t know if you can hear it in the video but the creek down here is flowing. Snows melting up high up on the mountain here. And a night like this is just so incredibly peaceful. So calm. It’s such a striking contrast to some of the winter days up here. This past winter was a lot milder than last year. But, you know, just a couple months ago, a couple weeks ago being out here in temperatures around zero degrees at night, winds whipping through, snow coming down, getting caught out in snowstorms unexpectedly, you know – fierce, fierce weather conditions. And now here I am, 7 o’clock and I’m in my t-shirt.
It changes fast out here. I heard a frog croaking a minute ago. That’s a first for up here in Thacker Pass. We’ve seen lizards, snakes, even a horny toad, but that’s the first frog I’ve heard. But this place is full of surprises. You wouldn’t think that frogs live out here out in the desert, but they’re here. It’s so incredible to contrast this – this calmness, this stillness – with knowing what Lithium Nevada wants to do to this place, knowing that they want to bring in the bulldozers, to destroy all of this around me, to poison this water, to blow up this mountain, to haul it away one truckload at a time. Big semis just “brrrrrrr”, rolling up and down this pass here, taking it away. That’s hubris. That’s arrogance. To think that you know what is right, and not only know what is right, but will impose your will on the land, will control the land to that degree. That’s hubris. That’s arrogance.
You know, on a night like this, it’s a time that I really wish that I could bring all of you out here with me. That all of you could have this experience, maybe not of being here in a big group, maybe not of all crowding together and getting rowdy and sitting around the fire staying up late – there’s a time and a place for that. But I wish that all of you could have the experience of being out here by yourself. You know, earlier today, there were about 25 of us in the mine site and there were prayers and songs, round dance, burned sage and hike up the mountain and talk about the history, educating some of the youth who are there, some of the native youth about the history – the massacre, the colonization, how this inhumane, unjust permitting system works, updating people on the court case. And it’s good. I love it when people get out here for that, and I wish for many of you that you would get to have this experience of not coming out just for one day, and not coming out only to go home again, but coming out to stay and to walk on the land alone with only your own thoughts and the sound of the creek. The birds, the light fading to yellow and then to darkness, and the moon rising, the stars coming out. On a night like this you really get a sense of how ancient this place is – what 16 million years really means. How many nights like this there have been.
This is what I’m here for. This is why I’m doing all this: for this water right down here, for these sagebrush ‘ghostbuster’ plants. The rose bushes down here along the water. The birds, the frog. One frog – for all I know that’s the only frog in the whole pass, but I’m doing it for that frog. That frog never had a say in this permit. That frog never had a say in whether or not this place would be destroyed, this water poisoned. We have to be their voice. Not because they don’t speak, but because many people don’t listen. There was a time years ago when I was out on the coast of Washington State and I visited the Quinault Reservation and was taking a walk along the waterfront there, and they’ve got a little pier and some fishing boats go out. And there was a little plaque, and it said, ‘For thousands of years the salmon helped us survive, and now it’s our turn to help them survive.’ That’s all it said. I’ll never forget that. I’m not stopping. I’m not giving up. None of us are. We’re in this. We’re in this fight. And maybe next time I come out here, you’ll be with me. Or maybe on the next fight that you start, I’ll be out there with you. I’ll come and visit, see how I can chip in.