Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 20, 2017

'Hate Crimes Target Native Americans in Nevada and U.S. Bordertowns' by John Redhouse, Dineh

Photo by PBS

Native Americans targeted in Nevada and U.S. bordertowns by hate groups
Censored News series 'Racism in America'
By John Redhouse, Dineh
Censored News
French translation by Christine Prat at:

When I was living and working in Reno in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was honored to meet many great Native Nevadan leaders who were fighting for their tribal sovereignty, treaty, land, water, and human rights. One of those leaders was James "Buddy" Vidovich who was then the Chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.

In the course of discussing the recent rise of anti-Indianism in northern Nevada and local border town racism, Buddy said that there was a white hate group in nearby Fernley that called itself "S.O.A.P." which stood for Stomp Out All Paiutes. The deliberate use of the word "SOAP" obviously refers to the ethnic cleansing of an entire tribal nation.

Like Farmington and other racist border towns in Native America, the pattern of white-on-red hate crimes in the so-called Silver State (actually it was Washoe Nation silver that was stolen beginning in 1859 by invading white miners as part of their "discovery" of the Comstock Lode) has its own history and legacy.

Early racially-motivated white hate crimes committed against members of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe was met with strong tribal resistance and led to the Pyramid Lake War of 1860, an event that is still memorialized by the northern Paiute tribe as part of its annual tribal holiday tradition. See 2016 Censored News link(s) for additional background information.

And like Farmington, Fernley, and other white racist settler colonies infesting our original territories, the border town wars continue as we know that the racial hatred and violence directed against our people is intergenerational. And so our resistance must also be intergenerational and continuing.

Hate crimes are a form of domestic terrorism. White terrorists (aka Sons of SOAP) were behind the 2011 attack of northern Paiute tribal member Johnny Bonta and his family in Fernley. See 2011 Censored News link(s) for additional background information.

More white terrorists as part of a larger hate crime ring were behind the Reno Arch Incident last year. See Censored News link(s) for additional background information.

On racism in Reno and Nevada, Pyramid Lake Paiute tribal member, Reno-Sparks Indian community leader, and U.S. Civil Rights Commission member Arlan Melendez had this to say, "Nevada was always known as the 'Mississippi of the West' for its rampant racism. Up until the late 1950s, Indians had to be off the streets by sundown or face arrest. Reno is a very racist place…"

But in 2017, more white racism will be met by more red resistance as our 525-year struggle for survival as First Peoples and First Nations continue.

In the fighting spirit of the brave leadership and members of the Northern and Western Nevada chapters of the American Indian Movement, United Native Americans, and other native groups and individuals, we as Indigenous will continue to survive and resist. And in the end, we will win. We will WIN because we are RIGHT.

News links:

Reno Sparks Indian Beaten by Skinheads in Fernley, Nevada by Censored News

Pyramid Lake Eagle Staff Run Honoring Warriors of 1860 by Censored News

RENO: Native Americans run over in hate crime at Abolish KKKolumbus Day by Censored News

Copyright John Redhouse, Censored News

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for this great series. It is very helpful to see racism in all it's contexts, in all its neighborhoods. Consider the difference in public response between the pickup running over demonstrators in Reno, and then in Charlottesville. We have a long way to go, and this kind of info sharing is the only way it can happen.