Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 5, 2023

Descendants of Ghost Dancers Protect Paiute Massacre Site from Canada's Lithium Americas

Descendants of Ghost Dancers Protect Paiute Massacre Site from Canada's Lithium Americas

Censored News

THACKER PASS, Nevada -- Paiute and Shoshone are standing in front of Lithium Americas trucks, blocking them, to protect the Paiute Massacre Site at Thacker Pass. The United States government -- Biden, the Interior Department and BLM -- have issued the permit for the foreign corporation, Lithium Americas of Vancouver, Canada, to dig into the site where Paiute were massacred by U.S. soldiers and left here in northern Nevada.

Biden calls this "green energy" for electric vehicles. The U.S. government is violating federal laws, including those that protect Native American burial places, endangered species, and groundwater. While knowing that it is a violation of federal laws, a  federal judge has ruled in favor of the foreign corporation and is allowing the lithium mine to proceed.

Now, Paiute and Shoshone defenders of this sacred place, who have protected it with their bodies, and were almost slammed into by mining trucks, have been served with restraining orders and must  appear in court during June.

In their own words: The descendants of Wovoka, the descendants of the Ghost Dancers

Ox Sam Camp:

"Lithium Nevada is telling Paiute and Shoshone people they are trespassing in their own land. Peez’uh (Nipple Rock / Sentinel Butte) is an ancient sacred site of the Paiute and Shoshone."

"They have inviolable rights to hold ceremony here. Paiute and Shoshone people have suffered two massacres here. This is hallowed ground. We need President Biden and Interior Secretary Haaland to protect these lands by placing them on the National Registry of Historic Places. President Obama attempted to remove these lands from potential mining on behalf of the endangered sage grouse. For all the reasons we are standing here. Peeheemuhuh is ready to receive you."

"Ox Sam Camp is a prayer encampment both tipis sit directly in the of construction on the main water line that is required to run the mine, that will feed its 1.7 billion gallons of water per year for the next forty years."
A second tipi went up to protect Nipple Rock.

"Despite being threatened by Lithium Nevada with trespass for accessing her own sacred grounds, Fort McDermitt Grandmother Josephine (Sam) Dick is holding ceremony at her traditional sacred site Pee'zuh (Nipple Rock)."

"Grandma, a direct descendant and founder of Ox Sam Camp (named after Ox Sam who survived a massacre by the US Nevada Soldiers in 1865). The Grandmothers welcome those who come in a good way to stand in ceremony with them."

"The BLM and Department of Interior granted this big corporation a permit to destroy this land. The Paiute Shoshone people have an inalienable right to hold ceremony here."

"We at Ox Sam Camp occupy the water line required to operate the largest proposed open pit lithium mine in the US, that will kick off a so-called 'White Gold Rush in America' and is the first of 40 more such mines proposed in the state of Nevada (the driest state in the nation)."

"The 1.7 Billion gallons of water extracted per year for the next 40 years will cause irreparable destruction to the ground water levels, ecology and surrounding ranching communities including the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Reservation. A reservation with annual water shortage advisories set in place to prevent the townsite from running out of water every summer. How long will it take the new 'White' Gold Rush to reach your homelands? To contest ex parte Temporary Protection Orders obtained by Lithium Nevada in Humboldt County, Winnemucca, Nevada.

"On Friday May 19th, in the early morning, Humboldt County Sheriff's Department delivered a Temporary Restraining Order to Dorece Sam Antonio, Paiute land defender and direct descendant of Ox Sam, one of the sole survivors of the massacre at Peehee Mu'huh where the lithium mine we are resisting is being built. The order forced Dorece to leave the Ox Sam ceremonial encampment and sacred fire under threat of arrest."

"One of the restrained parties being local Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Matriarch Dorece (Sam) Antonio, descendant of Ox Sam who survived the 1865 massacre at the site of the lithium mine and for whom Ox Sam Camp is named. Dorece and other Paiute Shoshone elders are defending the sacred site (Nipple Rock) and the human remains of their massacred ancestors still laying on the ground within the project area of Lithium Nevada."

"It is very likely that the exaggerated accusations listed within the 4 TRO’s will be substantiated and filed onto their record by default if we fail to challenge, records that could later be used to inflate future charges / civil actions pressed by Lithium America and other institutions upholding the corporations interests."

Ox Sam Camp this week

"The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (42 U.S.C § 1996) states that it is 'the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian...including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.”
Executive Order No. 13007, Indian Sacred Sites."

In managing Federal lands, each executive branch agency with statutory or administrative responsibility for the management of Federal lands shall, to the extent practicable, permitted by law, and not clearly inconsistent with essential agency functions:
1. accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners and

2. avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites.

“We've got to stand up for our ancestors, they gave their lives, they shed their blood fighting for this land." -- Dean Barlese

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