Photo: Simona, Cain, and Mason are members of the Burns, Oregon Paiute Tribe – photo: Brian Bahouth for the Sierra Nevada Ally
Four audio interviews from Thacker Pass last weekend, via Sierra Nevada Ally.

By Brian Bahouth, Aril 13, 2021 for Sierra Nevada Ally

During the final hours of the Trump presidency, on January 15 of this year, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed lithium mine at Thacker Pass, Nevada. 

On that day, Max Wilbert and Will Falk set up camp at the site, vowed to prevent the mine from occurring, and encouraged others to join them. At roughly 6,000 feet elevation, in mid-January, weather conditions on the exposed stretch of high desert mountaintop that would be an open pit lithium mine are potentially inhospitable. The likelihood Wilbert and Falk would find company seemed remote. But on Saturday, Native Americans from across the region made the trek to the isolated spot to share a meal and show mutual support for stopping the mine.

“It has, it has grown. It has grown a lot,” said Max Wilbert on Saturday. “And that feels really gratifying in some ways because it’s pretty easy to feel a little crazy when you’re on the side of a mountain freezing your butt off in January with one of your friends and it doesn’t seem like the world is listening to what you’re saying. There are definitely some, some bleak moments in there. 

“So it feels good to just have all these people here today. I don’t know, there must be 50 people around at the moment or 60 and more coming. And it feels good to to know that these concerns that we brought up, a lot of people share them, a lot of people really feel that this project is greenwashing. It’s not good for the planet. It’s gonna destroy this really important traditional land for a lot of Paiute and Shoshone people who are most of the folks who are here today,” Wilbert said.

Read the rest of the article, and listen to the interviews, at Sierra Nevada Ally