Category Archives: What’s Happening

ALERT (Jan 10th) -Possible Flooding & Power Outages This Week! Sandbags available to RSIC residents!

RSIC Alert -Possible Flooding & Power Outages! Be prepared & stock up on food/medications/supplies to last 72hrs. Clear drainage areas.
Info: www.emergencywashoe.com

Tribal Health Center Patients! Get Your Prescriptions Early!
Call Pharmacy, 775-329-5162

Sandbags available to RSIC Residents.
Reno Colony: Rick Castro, 775-453-5292
Hungry Valley: Daniel Thayer, 775-232-8116

In case of an emergency, dial 911.
Tribal Police: 775-785-8776

Being Prepared Means Planning Ahead.

Flash Flooding & How to Stay Safe Tips at www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2018/flash-flooding—how-to-stay-safe.html

Disaster Safety for People with Disabilities Tips, https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/inclusive-preparedness-resources.html

As Court Ruling Nears, Thacker Pass Sacred Sites Are Already Being Damaged


Media photo, video and interview opportunity:
WHO: Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Chairman, Arlan D. Melendez; Other Plaintiffs & Tribal Members participating in Peaceful March.
WHAT: Peaceful March grounded in Native American Spiritual Prayer when oral arguments will be heard regarding the Thacker Pass Litigation Case (see below for flyer)
WHEN: Thursday, January 5, 2023 (March starts at 8am, 901 Golden Lane; arrive Courthouse at 10am-3pm)
WHERE: 10am at Bruce R. Thompson Courthouse, 400 South Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89502
MORE INFO: Bethany Sam, RSIC Media Relations, at bsam@rsic.org or 775-842-2902

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tribal Chairman: “It’s Our Responsibility to Protect Sacred Sites”

(RENO, NV) – The Thacker Pass Lithium Mine in northern Nevada is headed back to Federal Court on January 5th as the lawsuits against the project near completion, but project opponents are raising the alarm that Lithium Nevada Corporation has already begun work on the proposed mine.

Lithium Nevada’s workers at Thacker Pass have begun digging test pits, bore holes, dumping gravel, building fencing, and installing security cameras where Native Americans often conduct ceremonies. Lithium Nevada also conducted “bulk sampling” earlier this year, and may be planning to dig dozens of new test pits across Thacker Pass. They are claiming this work is legal under previous permits issued over a decade ago. But Tribes and mine opponents, including the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, disagree. 

They point to language in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine that says, “Authorization of [the mine] will terminate the [earlier permits].” The Federal permit for Thacker Pass was approved on January 15th, 2021.

Will Falk, attorney for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony explains: “Lithium Nevada told the government and the American public that it would terminate the older permits upon BLM’s approval of the Thacker Pass Project. Now they are going back on their word, it appears they are lying to get a head start on building the Thacker Pass mine, and the BLM is allowing them to get away with it.”

Thacker Pass, known as Peehee Mu’huh in Paiute, is a sacred site to regional tribes whose ancestors lived in the area for thousands of years, and were massacred there on at least two occasions

Michon Eben, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, says the site is incredibly important to Native American history. “Peehee Mu’huh is a sacred place where our ancestors lived and died. We still go there to pray, gather food and medicine, hunt, and teach our youth about the history of our people.” Eben and the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony are currently hosting an exhibit on the impacts of mining on Native people of Nevada.

Tribal members have stated in court filings that, because of the history of battles and massacres on the site, Thacker Pass is as significant to their culture as a site like Pearl Harbor is to American history. Arlan Melendez, Chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, understands the importance of battle and massacre sites as both a Native American and as a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

“As tribal leaders, it’s our responsibility to protect and honor our sacred places,” says Melendez. “Throughout US history, tribes have always been set up to lose in the US legal system against BLM. This Lithium Mine stands in the way of our roots and it’s violating the religious freedoms of our elders, our people.”

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony represents RSIC Enrolled Tribal Members who are descendants of the McDermitt Paiute & Shoshone Tribe or descendants of Paiute-Shoshone ancestors who prayed and lived in the area prior to colonization. RSIC also represents its employees and residents who are McDermitt Enrolled Tribal Members.

Falk, the Tribal attorney, says that Lithium Nevada’s construction activities at Thacker Pass are also violating tribal consultation rights.

“The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Summit Lake Paiute Tribe are still engaged in consultation with the BLM about the September 12, 1865 massacre site, a site that will be completely destroyed by Lithium Nevada’s mine if this project is built,” Falk says. “It’s hard to believe a government agency is consulting in good faith when they are already allowing the site to be harmed.”

Shelley Harjo, a tribal member from the Fort McDermitt Shoshone Paiute Tribe and an employee of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, has called the planned destruction of Thacker Pass “the biggest desecration and rape of a known Native American massacre site in our area.”

The upcoming January 5th hearing in Reno’s Federal Courthouse will be the final oral argument in the ongoing lawsuits against the Thacker Pass mine. Mine opponents are planning a march and rally outside. Plaintiffs, including the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Burns Paiute Tribe, four environmental organizations, and local rancher Edward Bartell, have alleged numerous violations of the law, and Judge Miranda Du is expected to issue her opinion in the case within days or weeks of the January 5th hearing.

“No matter what happens in court on January 5th, Thacker Pass is being destroyed right now and that threat will be ongoing,” says Max Wilbert, co-founder of Protect Thacker Pass. “We have to stop that.”

Lithium Nevada claims that its lithium mine will be essential to producing batteries for combating global warming, and the Biden administration has previously indicated some support for Thacker Pass. Opponents of the project have called this “greenwashing,” arguing that the project would harm important wildlife habitat and create significant pollution. They say that electric cars are still harmful to the planet. 

About the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony formed a federally recognized government in 1936 under the Indian Reorganization Act.  Located in Reno, Nev., the RSIC consists of 1,206 members from three Great Basin Tribes – the Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe Tribes. The RSIC is a vibrant, diverse organization, which balances traditional teachings and rich culture with contemporary business methods. Our mission is to offer opportunities for tribal members to improve their lives and enhance tribal values by making community programs, services, and projects available, while educating the public about our history, culture and modern lifestyle.

Thacker Pass Timeline:

  • January 15, 2021 — Due to “fast-tracked” permitting under the Trump Administration, the Bureau of Land Management releases a Record of Decision approving the Thacker Pass mine less than a year after beginning the Environmental Impact Statement process. On the same day, Max Wilbert and Will Falk established the Protect Thacker Pass camp.
  • February 11, 2021 — Local rancher Edward Bartell files a lawsuit (Case No. 3:21-cv-00080-MMD-CLB) in U.S. District Court alleging the proposed mine violates the Endangered Species Act by harming Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, and would cause irreparable harm to springs, wet meadows, and water tables.
  • February 26, 2021 — Four environmental organizations (Basin and Range Watch, Great Basin Resource Watch, Wildlands Defense, and Western Watersheds Project) file another lawsuit (Case No. 3:21-cv-00103-MMD-CLB) in U.S. District Court, alleging that BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Land Policy Management Act, and other laws in permitting the Thacker Pass mine.
  • June 24, 2021 — The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, calls on the Department of the Interior to rescind the permits for the Thacker Pass project.
  • Spring and Summer 2021 — Rallies, protests, and prayer runs take place in Orovada, Winnemucca, Reno, Carson City, and at Thacker Pass. More than 100 mine opponents gather at Thacker Pass to commemorate the 156-year anniversary of a September 12, 1865 massacre of at least 31 Northern Paiute men, women, and children committed by the 1st Nevada Cavalry. Thousands of people visit the site.
  • July 19, 2021 — The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu (People of Red Mountain) files a successful motion to intervene in Federal District Court (Case No. 3:21-cv-00080-MMD-CLB) alleging that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in permitting the planned lithium mine.
  • August 2, 2021 — Burns Paiute Tribe files a motion to intervene on the side of tribal plaintiffs (Case No. 3:21-cv-00080-MMD-CLB).
  • September 15, 2021 — Bureau of Land Management accuses Will Falk and Max Wilbert of trespass for providing bathrooms to native elders at Thacker Pass, fining them $49,890.13.
  • October 8, 2021 — Eighteen native elders from three regional tribes request a BLM permit for their ceremonial camp. The BLM does not respond.
  • November 29, 2021 — The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony files an amended complaint in federal court alleging major previously unknown violations of the law. In January, Judge Miranda Du rejects the amended complaint because she wants to make a final decision on the case within a few months (note that the case has now continued for another calendar year).
  • February 11th, 2022 — Winnemucca Indian Colony files a motion to intervene in the lawsuit on the side of plaintiffs, claiming that BLM’s contention that they consulted with the Tribe is completely false. Judge Du rejects this motion shortly afterwards with the same reasoning used above.
  • September 2022 — Lithium Nevada Corporation begins digging up portions of Thacker Pass for “bulk sampling” despite consultation still being ongoing between the Bureau of Land Management and regional tribes over cultural sites.
  • October 2022 — Dozens of mining activists from four continents visit Thacker Pass as part of the Western Mining Action Network biennial conference.

NYE Sobriety Social Powwow 2023

Come & Round Dance the New Years In!

NYE Sobriety Social Powwow 2023

This FREE, family-friendly annual event is held over New Years Eve and features some of the best Native American dancers, singers and drummers in the area.

Besides the memorable pow wow entertainment, there will be vendor booths selling traditional native foods and stunning handcrafted silver work, bead work, baskets and other American Indian art.

More Information:
Anita Talancon, 775-338-3723
Jason Stewart, 775-399-2177
Antoinette Thayer, 775-772-9003

“Wounded Souls” Exhibit at 1995 East Second Street: Extracting from the Land and Our Spirits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 9, 2022

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Exhibit Showcases Mining Industry Impacts on Native Peoples

“Wounded Souls: Extracting from the Land and Our Spirits” Runs from November 8th – March 8, 2023

(Reno, NV) Nevada has a long history as a mining state, but the impacts of extracting gold, silver, and other metals have not been equal for everyone. A new historical exhibit at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony highlights the impacts of mining on Native people.

“What has brought wealth and job opportunities for some, has often meant the destruction of sacred sites and harm to the living culture of Native people,” says Michon R. Eben, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. “This exhibit is about the wounds we have suffered and also about our resilience in the face of colonization in all its forms.”

Western Mining Action Network Conference Attendees visit RSIC’s THPO & Cultural Resources Program’s “Wounded Souls” Exhibit at 1995 East 2nd Street, Reno, NV 89502

Eben and RSIC THPO staff developed the exhibit, which opens November 8th in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, and is titled “Wounded Souls: Extracting from the Land and Our Spirits.” It includes historic mining equipment, artefacts produced from the Comstock Lode, historical documents and information about the 1872 Mining Law, oral histories of the impacts of archeology and mining on native culture, and an exhibit on Mary and Carrie Dann’s 30-year struggle for Western Shoshone sovereignty and to protect sacred Mount Tenabo.

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony is no stranger to the impacts of mining. The Tribe’s Hungry Valley land base was threatened by a mining operation for kitty litter in the 1990’s, but the Tribe and other Reno-area groups organized and successfully halted the project.

More recently, the Tribe has taken a stand alongside the Burns Paiute Tribe, Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, Winnemucca Indian Colony, and other allies for Thacker Pass, known as “Peehee Mu’huh” in Paiute, a sacred and culturally important site where a Canadian company plans to build an open-pit lithium mine.

Reno-Sparks is a plaintiff in a Federal Court Case for which final oral arguments will take place on January 5th.

A section of the “Wounded Souls” exhibit is dedicated to the ongoing fight at Thacker Pass.

“Wounded Souls” was developed in collaboration with the W. M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum at University of Nevada Reno, runs through March 8th, and is free to the public.

Viewing hours are Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 pm and some Saturdays from 11am to

3pm. Please call (775) 785-1326 before your visit to ensure staff will be on-site.

#

About the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony
The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony formed a federally recognized government in 1936 under the Indian Reorganization Act. Located in Reno, Nev., the RSIC consists of 1,294 members from three Great Basin Tribes – the Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe Tribes. The RSIC is a vibrant, diverse organization, which balances traditional teachings and rich culture with contemporary business methods. Our mission is to offer opportunities for tribal members to improve their lives and enhance tribal values by making community programs, services, and projects available; while educating the general public about our history, culture and modern lifestyle.

Three Nations Cannabis Verdi Grand Opening – This Saturday, 11/12 @ 11am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Media Phone: 775-842-2902

Three Nations Cannabis, owned by Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Invites Adults 21+ years to the Grand Opening of the Verdi Drive-Thru Dispensary

Verdi, Nevada (November 10, 2022) —Three Nations Cannabis, owned by Reno-Sparks Indian Colony (RSIC), is set to mega launch the drive-thru dispensary located in Verdi, NV with a Grand Opening celebration this Saturday, November 12th. Three Nations Cannabis Verdi cordially invites all adults, 21+ years, who are interested to experience a Native American owned cannabis store with a massive selection of products, including Native American cannabis products, and guaranteed low prices by 10% of their competitors on the daily.

            The Grand Opening festivities is set to begin at 11am at 420 Highway 40 West (exit 2, off I-80 west), hence the store will open its doors at 9am. The store location is on RSIC tribal land and is near the tribe’s (RSIC’s) long-established Tribal Smoke Shop business. The main attractions are giveaways, raffles, special offers, food trucks, Native American vendors, music, etc…

Products to include flower, vapes, edibles, pre-rolls, extract, tincture, plus more. View their complete online menu at www.threenationscannabis.com where customers are able to pre-order for pickup at Three Nations Cannabis Verdi or Three Nations Cannabis South Reno (11570 South Virginia Street).

            “This long awaited accomplishment will lead to increased services for our elders, youth and all tribal members,” Chairman Arlan Melendez stated. “We welcome all adults (21+ years), to be present at our Three Nations Cannabis Verdi Grand Opening and celebrate this milestone together. We look forward to providing a safe & tasty client experience.” 

The dispensaries are a new income resource that is parallel with RSIC’s vision to promote and encourage individual spiritual, physical and emotional health to foster a long, abundant, and prosperous life for RSIC Tribal Members & the Urban Indians RSIC serves. This income resource will be used to offer Tribal Members an opportunity to improve their lives and enhance tribal values by making more community programs, services, and projects available.

            RSIC follows cannabis regulations in compliance with the Cannabis Agreement between the State of Nevada and the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony signed on January 29, 2020.  NRS 223.250 allows the Governor to enter into an agreement with any federally recognized Indian tribe located within the geographical boundaries of Nevada regarding Cannabis.

“Three Nations Cannabis enhances RSIC’s economic diversification strategy that will create well-paying jobs for both tribal members and the general public,” said Chairman Melendez. “It will also help RSIC to invest resources into better elder care, education, health services, housing & infrastructure, language & culture, youth services; the opportunities are infinite.”

            For more information, please call Bethany Sam, RSIC Public Relations, at 775-842-2902 or email bsam@rsic.org.

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About the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony
The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony formed a federally recognized government in 1936 under the Indian Reorganization Act.  Located in Reno, Nev., the RSIC consists of about 1300 members from three Great Basin Tribes – the Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe Tribes. The RSIC is a vibrant, diverse organization, which balances traditional teachings and rich culture with contemporary business methods. Our mission is to offer opportunities for tribal members to improve their lives and enhance tribal values by making community programs, services, and projects available.

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2022 Mid-Term Voting Recommendations & Polling Locations

RSIC POLLING LOCATIONS:

Early Voting & Ballot Drop Off Locations:

  1.  RSIC Gym: 34 Reservation Road, Reno, NV 89502
    • October 22 – November 2, 10am-6pm
    • November 3 – November 4, 10am-7pm
    • Same Day Registration (Tribal ID, Driver License, State ID)
    • In-Person Voting
  2. Spanish Springs Smoke Shop: 7655 Pyramid Highway, Spanish Springs, NV 89436
    • October 22 – November 4, 10am-5pm
    • BALLOT DROP OFF LOCATION ONLY!

Mid-Term Election Day, Tuesday November 8th, 7am-7pm.

  1.   RSIC Gym: 34 Reservation Road, Reno, NV 89502
    • Same Day Registration (Tribal ID, Driver License, State ID)
    • In-Person Voting
  2. Hungry Valley Gym: 9075 Eagle Canyon Drive, Sparks, NV 89441 
    • Same Day Registration (Tribal ID, Driver License, State ID)
    • In-Person Voting

RSIC’s Ballot Suggestions

Our goal is to inspire Washoe County Native Voters to vote and achieve the highest Native voter turnout in Nevada’s history. #NativeVote2022 

Here are some recommendations for voting in the 2022 Mid-Term Election. The recommendations were compiled from various sources that endorse candidates. Additionally, in staying consistent with the RSIC’s candidate contributions, recommendations are made for incumbents on the Official Democratic Primary Election Ballot for Federal, State, and Non-Partisan Offices that affect Reno Colony and Hungry Valley residents.

Reno Ballot:

Federal Offices:

  • United Sates Senate: Catherine Cortez Masto
  • United States Representative in Congress, District 2: Open

Statewide Partisan Offices:

  • Governor: Steve Sisolak
  • Lieutenant Governor: Elizabeth “Lisa” Cano
  • Secretary of State: Francisco “Cisco” Aguilar
  • State Treasurer: Zach Conine
  • State Controller: Ellen Spiegel
  • Attorney General: Aaron D. Ford

District Partisan Offices:

  • State Senate, District 13: Richard “Skip” Daly
  • State Assembly, District 24: Sarah Peters

County Partisan Offices:

  • County Commission, District 3: Mariluz Garcia
  • County Assessor: Wendy Jauregui-Jackins
  • County District Attorney: Christopher Hicks
  • County Public Administrator: Molly Stewart
  • County Recorder: Kalie Work
  • County Treasurer: Justin Taylor

Statewide Non-Partisan Offices:

  • Justice of the Supreme Court, Seat A: Linda Bell
  • Justice of the Supreme Court, Seat E: Ron D. Parraguirre
  • Court of Appeals Judge, Department 1: Deborah Westbrook
  • Court of the Appeals Judge, Department 2: Michael Gibbons
  • Court of the Appeals Judge, Department 3: Bonnie Bulla

County Non-Partisan Offices:

  • County Sheriff: Darin Balaam

City of Reno Offices:

  • Reno City Attorney: Karl S. Hall
  • Reno Mayor: Hillary Schieve
  • Reno Municipal Court Judge, Department 2: Shelly O’Neill
  • Reno Municipal Court Judge, Department 3: Pete Sferrazza
  • Reno Municipal Court Judge, Department 4: Henry N. Sotelo
  • Reno-Verdi, Justice of the Peace, Department 2: Kendra Bertschy
  • Reno-Verdi, Justice of the Peace, Department 3: Ryan Katherine Sullivan
  • Reno-Verdi, Justice of the Peace, Department 4: Scott Pearson
  • Reno-Verdi, Justice of the Peace, Department 5: David W. Clifton

District Non-Partisan Offices:

  • Regent, University of Nevada, District: John Gwaltney
  • School Board Trustee, District C: Joseph “Joe” Rodriguez
  • School Board Trustee, District F At-Large: Adam Mayberry

Statewide Questions:

  • State Question No. 1: YES
  • State Question No. 2: YES
  • State Question No. 3: NO

Hungry Valley Ballot:

Federal Offices:

  • United Sates Senate: Catherine Cortez Masto
  • United States Representative in Congress, District 2: Open

Statewide Partisan Offices:

  • Governor: Steve Sisolak
  • Lieutenant Governor: Elizabeth “Lisa” Cano
  • Secretary of State: Francisco “Cisco” Aguilar
  • State Treasurer: Zach Conine
  • State Controller: Ellen Spiegel
  • Attorney General: Aaron D. Ford

District Partisan Offices:

  • State Senate, District 14: Ira Hansen
  • State Assembly, District 32: Alexis M. Hansen

County Partisan Offices:

  • County Commission, District 5: Edwin Lyngard
  • County Assessor: Wendy Jauregui-Jackins
  • County District Attorney: Christopher Hicks
  • County Public Administrator: Molly Stewart
  • County Recorder: Kalie Work
  • County Treasurer: Justin Taylor

Statewide Non-Partisan Offices:

  • Justice of the Supreme Court, Seat A: Linda Bell
  • Justice of the Supreme Court, Seat E: Ron D. Parraguirre
  • Court of Appeals Judge, Department 1: Deborah Westbrook
  • Court of the Appeals Judge, Department 2: Michael Gibbons
  • Court of the Appeals Judge, Department 3: Bonnie Bulla

District Non-Partisan Offices:

  • Regent, University of Nevada, District: John Gwaltney
  • School Board Trustee, District C: Joseph “Joe” Rodriguez
  • School Board Trustee, District F At-Large: Adam Mayberry

County Non-Partisan Offices:

  • County Sheriff: Darin Balaam

City of Sparks Offices:

  • Sparks, Justice of the Peace, Department 2: Kevin Higgins
  • Sparks, Justice of the Peace, Department 3: Jessica Longley
  • Sparks, Justice of the Peace, Department 4: Erica N. Flavin

Statewide Questions:

  • State Question No. 1: YES
  • State Question No. 2: YES
  • State Question No. 3: NO

RSIC POLLING LOCATIONS:

Early Voting & Ballot Drop Off Locations:

  1.  RSIC Gym: 34 Reservation Road, Reno, NV 89502
    • October 22 – November 2, 10am-6pm
    • November 3 – November 4, 10am-7pm
    • Same Day Registration (Tribal ID, Driver License, State ID)
    • In-Person Voting
  2. Spanish Springs Smoke Shop: 7655 Pyramid Highway, Spanish Springs, NV 89436
    • October 22 – November 4, 10am-5pm
    • BALLOT DROP OFF LOCATION ONLY!

Mid-Term Election Day, Tuesday November 8th, 7am-7pm.

  1.   RSIC Gym: 34 Reservation Road, Reno, NV 89502
    • Same Day Registration (Tribal ID, Driver License, State ID)
    • In-Person Voting
  2. Hungry Valley Gym: 9075 Eagle Canyon Drive, Sparks, NV 89441 
    • Same Day Registration (Tribal ID, Driver License, State ID)
    • In-Person Voting