Statement from the Nevada Statewide Native American Caucus on Thacker Pass
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (4-30-21)
On April 5th, the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe cancelled an agreement with Lithium Nevada due to the threat that Lithium Nevada’s project poses to land, water, wildlife, hunting and gathering areas, and sacred sites in Thacker Pass.
There is a deep connection between the land the mines seek to exploit and the people who take care of that land. The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) controls the final two permits Lithium Nevada needs to begin the harmful project in Thacker Pass.
We must highlight that not once in 25 years has NDEP refused to provide the mining industry with a permit.
As a result of NDEP’s complicity in the colonization of Indigenous resources, protectors have been compelled into direct action to stop the destruction of sacred lands, the contamination of water, and the ongoing violation of Tribal sovereignty by the mining industry.
Protectors stand between the encroaching extractive industry and the delicate ecosystems at Thacker Pass. While some critics may argue that the exploitation of Thacker Pass would provide companies with lithium carbonate like Tesla to produce electric cars, the catastrophic pillaging of the Earth and the well-being of the future generations must be prioritized. Greenwashing extractive industries does nothing but excuse anti-Indigenous harm.
The ecological future of Nevada and the United States must take into account the needs and perspectives of the stewards and caretakers native to the land.
One factor that has been erased by Lithium Nevada in touting the benefits of extraction, for example, are the increased rates of drug abuse and sexual assault in Indian Country that are associated with expansions of colonialism at the hands of mining companies like Lithium Nevada. These factors must come into account in the decision-making around this project.
As Indigenous people, we stand in solidarity with the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe against Lithium Nevada’s project in Thacker Pass and call on all people who care for Nevada and its resources to do so, as well.
Additionally, we call on NDEP to stand up to the interests of Big Mining and rightfully deny the company its permits.
The Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone people are tied to this land, their home since time immemorial. The land and its resources are inextricably linked to their identities, cultures, livelihoods, as well as their physical and spiritual well-being.
We cannot permit the destruction of these – whether by government or mining companies.
Want to get involved?
As a movement for the health of our earth, the people that live here, and the health of the ecosystems necessary for life of any kind on this planet, we are always expanding, growing, learning, and resisting. If you feel called to help Thacker Pass and/or help with related actions, we would love to hear from you!