Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 9, 2019

Nuclear Test Site Ceremony and Protest Walk May 10 --11, 2019

Censored News archive photo by Buck Sampson, Paiute
Friday 5/10
May 10th @ 8 am
Travel to Mercury
May 10th @ 4 pm
Set up at Mercury Peace Camp
May 10th @ 5 pm
Eat and Plan Protest
Saturday 5/11
May 11th at 5 am
Sunrise Ceremony
May 11th at 10 am
Protest Walk
PLAN transportation will depart the morning of Sunday 5/12, though participants who have provided their own transportation can return the evening of Saturday 5/11.

Travel time is just about an hour from Vegas, so we encourage folks with busy schedules to join for the day on May 11th, with a 9 am arrival time to attend the protest walk.
Statement on Cultural Sensitivity:
It is important to respect that this protest will be taking place on stolen lands, and honor our Western Shoshone hosts that are leading this action. Our good intentions in supporting this action are important, yet they are not enough. Here are a few important tips for those attending to ensure that good intentions lead to positive relationships.
  • No drugs or alcohol
  • Do not interrupt or speak over elders
  • Let elders and children line up first for food
  • Remember to listen
  • Do not film or take photos of prayers
  • Show honor in your way with respect to the ways of others; do not appropriate the ways of others
  • There are many Indigenous communities across Nevada all with their own stories and identities. Take time to understand and respect these differences.
  • If you wish to take a photo of a person, or use something they say, then obtain consent from that person
  • Reciprocity is important in interactions with others. Make sure you are giving, and not just taking. For example, if you take a photo of someone, offer to send them a copy of it.
Las Vegas to Mercury
Reno to Mercury
Location of Campsite
Yucca Mountain Protest Purpose Statement
The current federal administration has taken steps to revive funds to the Yucca Mountain project, and the Department of Energy has transported nuclear material through Nevada without the consent of the state. The source of this material is mineral extraction in places like Arizona and New Mexico, and this extraction brings serious health and cultural impacts to communities with whom Nevadans are connected despite imagined boundaries. The transportation and storage of nuclear material poses risks of long term water contamination which are unacceptable to Nevadans.
Yucca Mountain is in Newe Sogobia (within the lands described in the Treaty of Ruby Valley), so this project is a clear example of ongoing American colonialism. Though due to the great risks of contamination, and the moral implication of Nevadans not creating this waste, there is and has been massive opposition to the project in both non-Native and Native communities. For this reason, our state legislators are also opposed to the project across party lines.
Native opposition to the project is informed by traditional stewardship values which are made effective through traditional ecological knowledge. Traditional land values and ecological knowledge represent the longest tested, and most effective land management tools. If Nevadans are to achieve a sustainable relationship with the land, especially in regards to water and mineral extraction, it is essential to utilize the above mentioned tools.
In 2018, PLAN developed a relationship with spiritual and traditional leaders of the Western Shoshone to continue protecting lands and resources vital to the survival of their tribes.This effort began with support from Johnny Bobb, a Western Shoshone elder who guided runners with prayer during the Great Basin Water Protector's Sacred run.  Over the past 21 years, Johnny Bobb has celebrated with the lands and has kept his vigil eye on the Yucca Mountain project.  He has relied on the permits sought from Nevada Department of Energy and continues to protect sacred sites and Shoshone homelands within this project area.  He talks about the secrecy of the Project and the late night transport of nuclear waste to the mountain.  What he knew of the project - revealed to the public through media outlets - was that plutonium shipments were illegally transported to Yucca Mt.  Therefore, at this time, movement building should be planned to encourage more individuals to rise up and fight back on violations on various laws including Native American Graves Repatriation Act, Freedom of Religion Act, Archaeological Resources Protection Act, National Environmental Protection Act, Draft/Environmental Impact Statements, Public Lands Protection Act, and National Wildlife Refuge Protection Act.
In the past, regular protests at Yucca Mountain led by the Western Shoshone have brought together folks from diverse background in solidarity. It presents a unique power dynamic in which the Indigenous communities have authority, and are granted reverence. This power dynamic is key to a just education and implementation of traditional land values and traditional ecological knowledge which inform sustainable land management and resource use.
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