Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

January 17, 2024

Fort McDermitt Tribal Leader Choked Youth During Lithium Americas Community Meeting

Former Fort McDermitt tribal chairman Arlo Crutcher is shown on video as he approaches a tribal youth before choking him during a meeting with Lithium Americas. Screenshot of Young Warrior video by Censored News.

Fort McDermitt Tribal Leader Choked Youth During Lithium Americas Community Meeting

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News
Video by Young Warrior

A Fort McDermitt tribal leader attacked a minor and choked him. The youth was videotaping a public community meeting being held about financial benefits from lithium mining by Lithium Americas, now digging into the Paiute Massacre Site in northern Nevada.

The incident was broadcast on KPFK Los Angeles. It occurred during the quarterly meeting with Lithium Americas and Fort McDermitt Tribal Council, on Monday, Jan. 8.

During the meeting, Arlo Crutcher, former chairman of Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone, walked across the conference room where tribal youth Jimmy, a minor, was videotaping. 

Dorece Sam, Jimmy's mother, "It was a quarterly meeting, the community was never advised of this meeting."

Jimmy set up his tripod and was videotaping the meeting.

Sam said, "I saw Arlo get up, and I thought he was grabbing a cup of coffee, but instead I saw him rushing over to my son, grabbing his phone off of the tripod, and the next thing I saw him push Jimmy up against the wall by the throat."

Crutcher can be seen on Jimmy's video approaching, as shown in the photo above, and telling Jimmy that the youth can not videotape the meeting.

Sam, however, points out that they have never had a problem recording public meetings.

Crutcher attempted to pressure Jimmy into deleting portions of the meeting. Dorece Sam said that was not going to happen because it was a live broadcast.

Then, suddenly, several men, tribal members, gathered around the youth and began swinging at Jimmy and his mother and attempted to hit them.

After leaving, while at her home and preparing to take Jimmy to the hospital, three BIA officers blocked Sam's vehicle and began questioning her. 

"One of the officers told me that he was going to take a statement," Sam said.

However, the officer never showed up at the hospital emergency room.

Although the officer questioned the family, no police report has been filed as of today, Jan. 17, 2024.

The family was stopped by
this officer and questioned,
while en route to the hospital.

"They haven't filed anything and never came to our home. Although our complaints are complete. The same on my aunt and uncle's case, they never completed a thorough investigation," Jimmy's mother told Censored News today.

Sam said Arlo Crutcher was voted out of office as the chairman in November, but will not leave the office.

She said the damage is done at the place of the massacre of her ancestors.

"Nothing will ever be the same," Sam said.

Sam said the damage that Arlo Crutcher has done can not be reversed.

"He has already disturbed my ancestors' final resting place. We can't fix that."

"He already allowed Lithium Americas to bother their spirits."

After the attack by Crutcher, Jimmy said, "My throat's real sore from where he choked me."

Police responded after tribal youth Jimmy was choked by the tribal leader at Lithium Americas meeting on Jan. 8, 2024. Young Warrior video screenshot by Censored News.

Listen to the radio interview with host Michael Novick, on KPFK, 90.7 in Los Angeles. The Creative FRONTLINE series is produced by Robert Lundahl and Tracker Ginamarie Rangel Quinone, Apache.


Watch videos on the struggle to protect Peehee Mu'huah, Thacker Pass, in northern Nevada, and the Quechan battle to defend their sacred land from gold and lithium mining in southern California, at Creative FRONTLINE

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Arlo Crutcher signed an agreement with Lithium Americas of Vancouver, Canada, which tribal members criticize as selling out their ancestors whose remains are in the earth at the Paiute Massacre site, Peehee Mu'huh, Thacker Pass.

Lithium Americas met with the Crutcher family and said that it signed a community benefits agreement with the tribe to proceed with mining. It is an agreement that other tribal members did not consent to.

Lithium Americas said in October of 2022 that it "agreed to build an 8,000 square feet community center for the Tribe that includes a daycare, preschool, playground, cultural facility and communal greenhouse to support reclamation efforts and provide income for the Tribe."

Drone video captured the destruction of the Paiute Massacre Site, Peehee Mu'huh, Thacker Pass, in March of 2023 as the digging into the earth began by the Canadian company Lithium Americas. Drone video screenshot by Censored News.

Federal court rulings have favored the foreign company Lithium Americas, even though the mining violates all federal laws that protect Native American burial and religious sites. All federal laws that protect the water and endangered species are being violated. Biden has praised lithium mining here, calling it "green energy" for electric vehicle batteries. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told the Associated Press that she supports the lithium mining here.

Drone video captured the destruction of the Paiute Massacre Site, Peehee Mu'huh, Thacker Pass, in March of 2023. Drone video screenshot by Censored News.

Article copyright Censored News.

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