Help PMA grow | Petition forms | Site map | PMA main page
Alert! Western Shoshone
7 June 2001
PMA / Shundahai Network
we have received the following alert from the Shundahai Network and are forwarding it on for those of you who may wish to respond to it. It describes the latest US government attack on the sovereignty of the Western Shoshone people. Their land has been used since the early 1940s by the United States and British governments for their nuclear weapons tests, including the detonation of nuclear bonbs in the atmosphere and underground, and is currently used for the US 'sub-critical' nuclear weapons tests.
The US government stole this land in breach of the Treaty of Ruby Valley and, together with their British allies, turned it into a radioactive wasteland. Currently the US Dept of Energy has plans to build a repository to store 77,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain (also Western Shone land).
If you would like background information about the Western Shoshone, the nuclear weapons tests and the plans for Yucca Mountain, check out www.shundahai.org
The Shundahai alert below has the contact details for US Senators. For those of you receiving the alert in Aotearoa, you could also send your views to the US Embassy. As Carol Mosley-Braun does not yet appear to have been replaced by another US Ambassador, you could address it to President George W. Bush, c/o US Embassy, PO Box 1190, Wellington; tel (04) 472 2068; fax (04) 471 2380 or 472 9804.
31 May 2001
Dear friends and supporters of the Western Shoshone Nation,
Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign have introduced Senate Bill 958- the "Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act" which would distribute $117 million dollars to individual Western Shoshone citizens for 26 million acres, the Western Shoshone National land base, that is not, and has never been for sale. Western Shoshone leaders have opposed distribution of the Indian Claims Commission Award for 21 years charging the fraud by the US against the Western Shoshone Nation. Reid is attempting to work around tribal leaders representing the vast majority of Western Shoshone by targeting individuals with money waving marketing campaign.
This bill would close the 1951 Indian Claims Commission case feeding the perception that justice has been served and allowing Reid to distribute Western Shoshone property to cities, counties, and the State of Nevada under the Nevada Lands Act.
This bill would use a ¼ blood degree to determine eligibility of whom is a Western Shoshone focusing discrimination on our most vulnerable citizens, our children. The Western Shoshone Nation does not discriminate against our children by using a measure of inherent quality of race. Discrimination by this method is a US policy. All of our children are Western Shoshone citizens… our future!
This bill does not provide for a land base necessary for the growth and development of the Western Shoshone Nation, ensuring instead that the current condition of economic starvation continues on the tiny colonies and reservations.
This bill avoids just compensation under the Fifth Amendment, which would provide approximately $20 billion to the Western Shoshone Nation. In the US v. Sioux Nation, 448 US 371 (1980) the Supreme Court held that a taking by the US in violation of a similar treaty was covered by the Fifth Amendment including compound interest. The US has made no equitable offer of settlement, and the Western Shoshone Nation is under no obligation to sell property that is constitutionally guaranteed.
The Treaty of Ruby Valley shares equal status with the US constitution, Art. IV, "This Constitution… and all treaties made… shall be the supreme law of the land." Congress cannon legislatively supersede the US constitution. To do so is constitutional subversion. Reid is attempting to use the outdated Indian Claims Commission process, created when racial discrimination was ripe in the US, to supersede the Treaty of Ruby Valley.
It is true that the Western Shoshone need money to meet their basic living needs, but not by selling Mother Earth. Americans know we have suffered through a century and a half of racial discrimination coping with the destruction of the land and our life-ways. We have suffered the adverse health effects from US nuclear weapons testing, attempting to cope with the loss of individuals and the damage to our communities. Opportunities for growth and development pass over the Western Shoshone Nation going to the US and now to Harry Reid's special interests.
Reid no longer supports truth, justice or equity for the Western Shoshone Nation. Reid fails to recognize there is a bonafide title dispute. Reid is playing Washington politics with Western Shoshone basic human rights and Western Shoshone property.
Reid has the power to do the right thing, but has chosen to violate the Western Shoshone people. Reid the politician has created a media campaign to attack outspoken Western Shoshone Citizen Carrie Dann honored recipient of the 1993 Right Livelihood award. Carrie Dann was acquitted of trespass when grazing livestock within Western Shoshone treaty lands in the case US v. Dann. Ms Dann, like all Western Shoshone citizens are property owners in privity with all other Western Shoshone. Recently, on Elko talk radio, Reid called Ms. Dann "despicable" for resisting Bureau of Land Management regulation of Western Shoshone property. On July 19, 2000 in the Las Vegas Review Journal, Reid attacked Western Shoshone leaders stating that tribal leaders, "are living in a dream world."
Assuming US jurisdiction is legitimate, the courts may avoid or correct a prior judgement between the same parties if the judgement was based on a mistake, or substantial change in the circumstances that give continuing effect to the judgement is unjust, or because there has been an intervening change in the governing law. See American Las Institute Restatement of Judgements, Second, §§ 71, 73. The Indian Claims Commission process was an unjust tool used to undermine tribal title. It is an outdated method to defraud the Western Shoshone Nation of their property.
This bill has been introduced, May 24th, 2001, Senate Bill 958.
Now you can end the ongoing injustice by helping the Western Shoshone Nation! We ask for no money, just your good name signed to a letter sent to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs stating your opposition to this bill. Tell the senators this bill should not move forward. Write to:
Chairmen Ben Campbell (D-HI): Vice Committee on Indian Affairs Committee on Indian Affairs 838 Hart Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
Your help now will help insure that the Western Shoshone Nation has the opportunity to grow and develop without losing title to our land, ensuring that our future generations will have the benefits of our land, our Mother Earth. You have our sincere thanks.
>< ><>< ><>< >Shundahai Network is proud to be part of: US Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Abolition 2000: A Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons People of Color/ Disenfranchised Communities Environmental Health Network and the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
>< ><>< ><><
Alerts page - Indigenous peoples