Thacker Pass, known as “Peehee Mu’huh” in Paiute, has been a gathering place, village site, hunting ground, and spiritually important location for thousands of years. On September 12, 1865, the U.S. Army massacred dozens of Paiute men, women, and children who were camped there.
It’s also a biodiversity hot spot and watershed for local communities.
The permit for the Thacker Pass lithium mine project was “fast tracked” under the Trump administration. Public involvement in the process was severely restricted due to COVID. The Federal government claims permitting was done correctly — despite all the tribes which were supposedly consulted saying “that never happened.”
Environmentalists, tribes, and local ranchers and farmers have been fighting to #ProtectThackerPass #ProtectPeeheeMuhuh for 28 months, but legal approaches have failed. Now people are putting their bodies between the land and the bulldozers. Direct action began on April 25th with a day-long construction stoppage.
Then, one week ago, a group of Paiute spiritual leaders and elders setup a ceremonial tipi directly in the path of ongoing water pipeline construction at Thacker Pass and have been blocking mine workers from accessing the site. No arrests have been made despite several police warnings, but the situation is tense.
This new protest camp is named after Ox Sam, a survivor of the 1865 massacre and direct ancestor of the spiritual leaders who are now protecting the site where their ancestors were killed. The camp is also named “Newe Momokonee Nokutun” — indigenous women’s camp.
Traditional Paiute people have a spiritual relationship to water, and the choice to block the water pipeline was very deliberate.
There is a real possibility of imminent police or legal action against camp. Just as in 1865, armed men are coming to Peehee Mu’huh. The elders are calling for supporters to urgently join them on-site in peaceful prayer, to spread the word, from afar, and build massive political pressure on the Biden Administration and Department of the Interior to halt mine construction.
This morning’s video update from camp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7NvIfPHwi8
#ProtectPeeheeMuhuh #OxSamCamp #ProtectThackerPass #Lithium #Greenwashing #WaterIsLife #SacredSites #EVs #GeneralMotors #LithiumNevada #LithiumAmericas #Mining #Biodiversity #Wilderness #LifeOverLithium #ThackerPass #Degrowth #WaterProtectors
Photos of Bhie-Cie Zahn-Nahtzu by Jarrette Werk.