I am Gary McKinney, Western Shoshone/ Northern Paiute Indian, enrolled member of the Duck Valley Shoshone Paiute Tribes of Idaho and Nevada. I am a spokesperson for the Atsa Koodakuh wyh Nuwu (People of Red Mountain) and the Co-Scout for the American Indian Movement Northern Nevada Chapter. We oppose the Thacker Pass open lithium mine for many reasons, starting with the lack of meaningful consultation. As descendants of Tribal Peoples, we carry a history of trauma of being displaced from our rightful lands by methods of deceit such as broken treaties.
Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine
It’s mid-afternoon, and 67-year-old Wet’suwet’en Elder Janet Williams is startled awake from a nap by unwanted visitors to her remote cabin home. This isn’t the first time the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has marched onto the traditional territories of her Gidimt’en Clan— it’s been happening multiple times a day for over two months. “There’s no need for you guys to be here at all,” she addresses them sharply. “I’m a matriarch here. This is my land.
Unless we are careful, the harms done to the environment and to communities in the fossil fuel-driven economy will be replicated as we move together into a “green” economy.
Maja Kristine Jåma (Sámi) is a reindeer herder in Fovsen-Njaarke Sijte, and, as of last September, a politician. She is currently an elected member of the Sámediggi (the Sámi Parliament in Norway) and one of five members of the Governing Council. “I have always been engaged in issues regarding Sámi society,” she says. “I had a vision of trying to do something to maintain and develop our language and culture. I was raised in a reindeer herding district in a reindeer herding family, and I’m also a South Sámi teacher.
Thomas Joseph (Hupa/Karuk/Paiute) is an Indigenous organizer from Hoopa Valley, California. Joseph runs a small NGO, California Kitchen, with his mother, Patty Joseph, based out of Standing Rock, and does contract work with environmental organizations throughout the country. California Kitchen sprang out of the homelands of the Hupa Peoples of the Hoopa Valley along the Trinity River in response to the call of respecting and protecting Indigenous relationships with water.
In October 2021, members of the Indigenous Q’eqchi’ community in the municipality of El Estor, Izabal, peacefully blockaded a road for 20 days to prevent ongoing activities of the Fenix Nickel Mine. The mine is owned by Swiss company Solway Group and operated by Guatemalan subsidiary Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel. In 2019, Guatemala’s highest court ordered the mine to close, having found that the license under which it is currently operating failed to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous communities.
This article is co-written by members of a coalition working to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the transition to the Green Economy: Cultural Survival, First Peoples Worldwide, Batani Fund, Aborigen Forum, Earthworks, and the Society for Threatened Peoples.