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“A Violation of Native American Rights”: Archeological Procedures Begin at Thacker Pass Ancestors and Sacred Sites in the Firing Line

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“A Violation of Native American Rights”:
Archeological Procedures Begin at Thacker Pass
Ancestors and Sacred Sites in the Firing Line

OROVADA, NEVADA (April 18, 2022) — Archeological procedures began at the site of the planned Thacker Pass lithium mine this week in what the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony (RSIC) says it is a violation of Native American rights.

“These procedures are desecrating the resting place of our ancestors in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act [NAGPRA],” says Michon R. Eben, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. “The Federal Government should be ashamed of the lack of government-to-government consultation by BLM Winnemucca and Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc.”

Thacker Pass was the site of a 1865 massacre of Paiutes committed by the U.S. military.

In a letter (attached) the Tribe sent to the archeological firm conducting the dig, Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., the RSIC demands “Far Western to immediately halt the planned archeological digs and refuse to participate in the desecration of Thacker Pass for corporate greed.”

The Thacker Pass lithium mine has become an international scandal since January of last year, when protests began at the site of the mine. Environmentalists, tribes, and ranchers have filed suit against the proposed mine in federal court, alleging violations of various Federal laws, and calling for Congressional investigations into the matter. The project was “fast-tracked” under the Trump administration.

Chairman Arlan Melendez asks, “How would you feel if your loved ones were massacred in a sacred, prayerful area with no closure to their deaths for the profit of stolen land, and now your sacred ancestral lands being uprooted without proper federal consultation for the profit of the largest lithium mine in America? The consultation process with tribal nations must be adhered to.”

“This is a fight for justice, a fight for the planet, and a fight for what is right,” said Will Falk, an attorney for RSIC. “We need everyone to help us in stopping this desecration.”

SUMMARY OF ATTACHED 7-PAGE LETTER:

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony’s (RSIC) outlined a letter of its perspective of the unprincipled proposed excavations that Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc. (Far Western) is currently undertaking at the Paiute and Shoshone peoples important Traditional Cultural Property, Thacker Pass.  These archeological procedures include excavating Native American cultural resources, sacred objects and disturbing the resting place of Paiute ancestors massacred on September 12, 1865 Nevada Calvary.  

Thacker Pass Lithium Mine Project (Project) is the nation’s largest and most complex lithium mine.  The Project become an international scandal since January of last year, when protests began at the site of the mine. Environmentalists, tribes, and ranchers have filed suit against the proposed mine in federal court, alleging violations of various Federal laws, and calling for Congressional investigations into the matter. The project was “fast-tracked” under the Trump administration.

If we don’t hold federal agencies, mining companies and archeological contractors accountable for their unethical profitable tactics, then we will watch Nevada become waste land and ongoing exploitation of Indigenous people’s culture for future lithium mines.   Federal undertakings, including mining projects, must include federally recognized tribes throughout the entire process.  

BLM failed to meet its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), Archeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).  BLM did not provide tribes who attach cultural and religious significance to Thacker Pass a reasonable opportunity to identify concerns about Native American cultural sites, advise on the identification and evaluation of traditional religious and cultural importance, articulate views on the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine Project’s effects on these Native American sites, and participate in the resolution of adverse effects as required by the NHPA. BLM and Far Western failed to include in its reports, the September 12, 1865 massacre.  There are 100+ documented massacres in the Great Basin from 1864-1868.  This is American History. It is Nevada history.  The Paiute people are important, not just for the artifacts on and in the ground that may yield information and academic acclaim for archeologists.  Taking these artifacts and disturbing burial sites would constitute yet another shameful chapter in a long history of settlers trying to destroy or commit genocide on Native history and culture. 

In the letter, the RSIC reminded Far Western of the archeological ethical principles and the Archeological Institute of America’s Code of Professional Standards. The RSIC further reminded Far Western that by excavating Thacker Pass, Far Western will be demonstrating that major contracts, money and academic papers are more important to its organization than approaching archeology in a moral way and respecting federally recognized Tribe’s legitimate concerns of the desecration of its ancestral’ s past life ways including its sacred sites.

The RSIC requested Far Western to take all these objections into consideration and seriously recognize that we need to re-vision the relationship between Archaeology and Indigenous Peoples.   Central to this is the need for archeological firms to base its work and science on morality and ethics rather than extraction of fast tracked projects that forever negatively adversely affect Native American ancestors, sacred sites and knowledge.  The RSIC requests that Far Western (and any other archeological firm that may be participating in unprincipled excavations) immediately halt the archeological digs and refuse to participate in the desecration of Thacker Pass for corporate greed. Please see attached 7 page RSIC letter in full.

For more information:
Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Media Relations, Bethany Sam: 775-842-2902
Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Historic Preservation Office
Michon Eben: 775-785-1326 ext. 5430
Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Attorney, Will Falk: 319-830-6086

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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 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.

RSIC to Host a Drive-Thru Collection Site for “Prescription Drug Take Back Day”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony to Host a Drive-Thru Collection Site for

“Prescription Drug Take Back Day”

Reno, Nevada (April 8, 2022) — Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Health Center’s Behavioral Health Department will participate in the April “Prescription Drug Take Back Day” on April 30th. American Indian populations have proven particularly susceptible to the misuse of prescription drugs. This prevention effort is to help mitigate prescription drug abuse.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

“Any drug abuse affects the fabric of the entire community. This is a way for our community to safely dispose of leftover medicines that are languishing in households to divert the misuse or abuse,” Chairman Arlan Melendez stated.  

The Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for everyone to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. Collection sites will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.

On April 30, 2022 a drive-thru collection site will be set up at 405 Golden Lane, Reno, NV 89502 from 10:00am-2:00pm for collection of expired or unused prescription medication.

In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, prescription drugs can be disposed of at any of the 11,000 DEA authorized collectors at any time throughout the year.

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony has a medication safe disposal drop box located in the pharmacy of the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center. We collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of medication. Syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs cannot be dropped off. This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

For more information please contact Vanessa Williams, RSTHC Behavioral Health Prevention Outreach Coordinator, at 775-329-5162 ext. 2009 or email vwilliams@rsicclinic.org or Bethany Sam, RSIC Public Relations, at 775-329-2936 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 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.

PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE

For Reno-Sparks Indian Colony’s Education Department regarding the P.L. 102-477 Plan.

For more information or if you have questions, please call 775-329-6114

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony to Open Three Nations Cannabis Drive-Thrus Only

Reno, Nevada (February 22, 2022) —Reno-Sparks Indian Colony (RSIC) reveals opening date for 2 tribal cannabis dispensary drive-thru locations. Three Nations Cannabis, owned by RSIC, is opening the drive-thrus only at their dispensaries located in South Reno and Verdi. The South Reno dispensary’s drive-thru will open for business on February 26, 2022 at 1pm and the Verdi dispensary drive-thru will open for business on March 12, 2022 at 1pm. A Grand Opening celebration for both locations TBD for April 2022.

For health and safety reasons concerning the most recent COVID-19 spike, RSIC set back the opening date for Three Nations Cannabis dispensaries from January to February. RSIC is doing their best to balance staff & guest safety and revenue.

Three Nations Cannabis stores are full-service dispensaries. The dispensaries will have the largest selection of products, highest quality, and competitive pricing. Products to include flower, vapes, edibles, pre-rolls, extract, tincture, plus more. There will also be a complete online menu available at www.threenationscannabis.com where customers are able to pre-order for pickup.

The South Reno dispensary is easily located off I-580 (Exit 61) at 11570 South Virginia Street; previously the Infiniti Car Dealership; and the Verdi dispensary is conveniently located off I-80 (Exit 2) at 420 Highway 40 West. Both locations are on tribal land. Both locations are near the tribe’s long-established Tribal Smoke Shop businesses.

Three Nations Cannabis will have a private event exclusively for RSIC Tribal Members who are 21+ years, to do a cultural blessing for the future success of their dispensaries. The blessing also includes a tour of the facilities, cannabis specials, a meet and greet with Three Nations Cannabis Board of Directors, management, employees, and the Colony Enterprise Authority (RSIC Tribal Council), plus more.

The dispensaries are a new income resource that furthers 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. This new income resource is to be utilized to offer Tribal Members an opportunity to improve their lives and enhance tribal values by making community programs, services, and projects available. The cultural blessing for the future success of Three Nations Cannabis is to celebrate this historic moment for RSIC.     

“This long awaited accomplishment will lead to increased services for our elders, youth and all tribal members,” Chairman Arlan Melendez stated. “We welcome all our Tribal Members (21+ years) to attend our cultural blessing to celebrate this milestone together. We also look forward to providing a safe customer experience to the general public using our drive-thru service with quality products at the best prices.” 

The South Reno dispensary cultural blessing for RSIC Tribal Members (21+ years, must have I.D. to enter building) will be held Saturday, February 26, 2022 from 11am-1pm. The South Reno dispensary drive-thru will then be open to public for sales at 1pm.

The Verdi dispensary cultural blessing for RSIC Tribal Members (21+ years, must have I.D. to enter building) will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2022 from 11am-1pm. The Verdi dispensary drive-thru will then be open to the public for sales at 1pm.

Three Nations Cannabis dispensaries are also the 1st dispensaries in the Reno area to include a drive-thru service. With the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting all our lives, the drive-thru service demonstrates an emphasis on safety and provides a positive customer experience. This is how RSIC managed to keep the Tribal Smoke Shops open during the height of COVID-19.

RSIC will follow 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,” Chairman Arlan Melendez stated. “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 775-329-2936 or email bsam@rsic.org. If interested in job opportunities, email tnabahe@threenationscannabis.com.

Due to RSIC’s capacity constraints brought on by COVID-19, the Cultural Blessing Ceremony is closed to the general public.

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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 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.

RSIC’s ARP COVID-19 Vaccine & Booster Incentive Program

American Rescue Plan
COVID VACCINE AND BOOSTER
INCENTIVE PROGRAM


The Reno Sparks Indian Colony prioritizes the health and safety of the RSIC Tribal membership in the fight against Covid-19. As we continue to mitigate through the ongoing public health emergency, it is imperative to get vaccinated and boosted as a proactive measure to protect our Tribal Community from severe illness and/or death.

As an effort to encourage our members to protect themselves against this virus, the RSIC Tribal Council authorizes a Covid Vaccine and Booster Incentive Program for all eligible RSIC Members, living on or off
the reservation. The Covid Vaccination and Booster Incentive program is authorized, with criteria as set forth below, and will extend to December 31, 2022.

Two types of incentive payments are available to eligible individuals as follows:

  1. $1000 Vaccination Incentive Payment:
    A one-time $1000 Vaccination incentive payment will be available to RSIC enrolled tribal members both on and off the reservation who complete a full Covid vaccination series and provide proof of full vaccination. A complete Covid Vaccination series is defined by the CDC as one of the following options:
    • 1st and 2nd Moderna vaccination
    • 1st and 2nd Pfizer vaccination
    • 1st and 2nd vaccination mix of Moderna and Pfizer (one of each)
    • 1 vaccination of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

    Currently, the CDC has authorized Covid vaccinations for all individuals ages 5 years old and older. If the FDA and CDC approve a Covid vaccination for members 0-4 years old prior to the end of this Incentive program, they will also be eligible for the Covid vaccine incentive.
  2. $500 Vaccination Booster Incentive Payment:
    A $500 Covid Booster incentive payment available to RSIC enrolled tribal members, ages 12 years old and older, both on and off the reservation who complete a Covid Booster shot. This incentive requires applicants provide proof of a full Covid vaccination series and a Covid
    booster vaccine. This incentive payment is in addition to the incentive for full vaccination.

    Currently, the FDA and CDC have authorized Covid boosters for all individuals 12 years old and older. If the CDC approves a booster vaccination for members 0 to 11 years old prior to the end of this Incentive program, they will also be eligible for the Covid booster incentive.

    ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:
    • Must be an enrolled RSIC Tribal Member living on or off the reservation and eligible for the Covid Vaccine and/or booster as approved by the FDA and CDC as follows:

    ✓ Must be an enrolled RSIC Tribal Member age 5 years and older who are fully vaccinated to receive the Covid Vaccine Incentive. (Members ages 0-4 years old may become eligible for the
    vaccination incentive once approved by the FDA and CDC)
    ✓ Must be an enrolled RSIC Tribal Member age 12 years old or older who are fully boosted to receive the Covid Booster Incentive. (Members 11 years old or younger may become eligible for the booster incentive once approved by the FDA and CDC).

    • Must submit proof of being fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 as defined by the CDC. Proof is considered to be a vaccination card, print out of the individuals WebIz file, other official State Immunization Record or a signed statement from a heath care professional indicating
    the location, dates, manufacturer and lot number of vaccines.

    • Must submit a completed Vaccination/Booster Incentive program application with correct enrollment number, physical and mailing address and telephone number. Parents are able to apply for eligible children.

    • Must complete and submit all documents by the deadline of December 31, 2022

    IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
    • All eligible members may apply. This includes members who have completed their vaccination and/or booster prior to the start of the program, and members who complete their vaccination and/or booster no later than December 31, 2022.

    • Applications will be accepted immediately and through December 31, 2022.

    • All checks will be mailed, no exceptions.

    • Covid Vaccination and Booster Incentive applications must include proof of vaccination for all individuals listed on the application. Only completed Vaccinations and Covid Booster shots will be approved. If you have not completed the full vaccination series and/or Covid booster, please do not submit your application as it will be denied.

     PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR ORIGINAL VACCINE CARD, IT WILL NOT BE RETURNED.

    • Completed applications and proof of Covid vaccination and/or Covid booster may be emailed to covidvaccine@rsic.org, mailed or dropped in the Covid Incentive box located at the following:

    RSIC Tribal Administration
    Attn: Covid Incentive
    34 Reservation Rd
    Reno, NV 89502

    The drop box will be located in the front entrance of the Tribal Administration Office and will be
    checked daily at 4:00pm.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What do I have to do to get the $1000 vaccination incentive payment:
    • You must complete a full vaccination series to receive the first Covid Vaccine incentive payment of $1000. Options of vaccination choices are listed below. In addition, you must complete an application and submit proof of your vaccination (copy of your vaccination card etc.)
    • A complete vaccine series includes one of the following choices:
      • i. Pfizer – 2 doses (the second dose should be taken 28 days after the first dose)
      • ii. Moderna – 2 doses (the 2nd dose should be taken 21 days after the 1st dose)
      • iii. Johnson & Johnson- 1 dose
  1. What do I have to do to get the $500 Covid Booster Incentive payment:
    • You must complete a Covid booster to receive the Covid Booster incentive payment of $500. Booster doses are allowed as follows:
      • i. Pfizer – 12 years and older – Booster given 5 months after the 2nd vaccination dose
      • ii. Moderna – 18 years and older – Booster given 5 months after the 2nd Covid vaccination dose
      • iii. Johnson & Johnson – 18 and older – Booster is recommended for 1 dose of Pfizer or Moderna – 2 months after the J&J vaccine dose
  2. What if I got a Covid vaccine last year, am I eligible to apply for the Covid Vaccine Incentive?
    • All enrolled RSIC members who have completed a full Covid Vaccine series will be eligible for the $1000 incentive payment regardless of when the vaccine was received. Any eligible member who received a Covid vaccine prior to this policy, will be eligible to
      apply for the Covid vaccine and booster incentive payments. RSIC members are eligible to apply for vaccination and booster incentives through December 30, 2022.
  3. What if I completed a vaccine series, do I have to wait to take a booster before I can apply for the both incentives?
    • a. If you completed the Covid Vaccination series you can apply for the $1000 Covid Vaccine incentive and do not have to wait to complete the booster prior to applying for the first Covid Vaccine incentive. One you complete a Covid booster, you can reapply for the additional $500 Covid Booster Incentive as long as you receive the booster and submit your application before December 30, 2022.
  4. What happens if my child is not old enough to have a Covid vaccine?
    • a. Once the FDA and CDC approve Covid Vaccines for ages 0 to 4 years old, all children impacted under a new authorization to take the vaccine will automatically become eligible for the Covid Vaccination Incentive. The RSIC Tribal Administration office will notify the Tribal Community once new authorizations are approved by the FDA and CDC to expand vaccines to Children 0-4 years old.
  5. What happens if my child is not old enough to have a Covid Booster?
    • a. Once the FDA and CDC approve Covid Boosters for ages 0 to 11 years old, all children impacted under a new authorization to take the vaccine booster will automatically become eligible for the Covid Booster Incentive. The RSIC Tribal Administration office will notify the Tribal Community once new authorizations are approved by the FDA and CDC to expand Covid boosters to Children 0-11 years old.
  6. How long will it take to get my incentive payment?
    • a. Unlike the general ARPA distribution payment, all vaccination incentives will require verification and tracking for each eligible member and for each inventive. Therefore, we will work as quick as we can to get incentive payments completed within two weeks of submission, depending on demand.
  7. Can I pick up my incentive payment?
    • a. To deter the spread of the Covid-19 virus, all checks will be mailed, no exceptions.
  8. Where can I submit my application?
    • a. You can email your application and proof of vaccinations and boosters to covidincentive@rsic.org
    • b. Or you can mail or drop off your application at the following:
      1. RSIC Tribal Administration Office
        Attn: Covid Incentive Program
        34 Reservation Rd.
        Reno, NV 89502
    • c. A drop box will also be available at the entrance of the Tribal Administration Office, Monday through Friday from 8am until 4pm each day.
  9. What happens if I lost my vaccination card?
    • a. You can obtain a copy of your Covid vaccination and booster by logging into the following site:
      https://webiz.nv.gov
      follow the prompt link provided to retrieve your immunization record. Print a copy of your record and submit it with your application
    • b. You can also obtain a signed statement from a heath care professional indicating the location, dates, manufacturer and lot number of vaccines and submit with your application.

Vaccine and Booster Timeline to complete your Vaccination Series

Schedule Your Appt at RSTHC Now – Vaccine Hotline 775-334-0444

Schedule your COVID-19 Vaccine at Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center! Vaccine Hotline: 775-334-0444.

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony saddened at the passing of Senator Harry Reid

(Las Vegas, NV) Senator Harry Reid speaks to Tribal Leaders at the Native American Presidential Forum 2020. Photo Credit: Bethany Sam

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Reno, Nevada (December 30, 2021) — The Reno Sparks Indian Colony (RSIC) is saddened at the passing of former Congressional Senate Leader Harry Reid. “Senator Reid was a good friend and very supportive to Tribes with federal legislation, water settlements, the Nevada Tribal Nations Land Act, Tribal representation on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to name a few. He will be greatly missed; our condolences to his wife Landra and family.” Chairman Arlan Melendez stated.

Senate Leader Harry Reid appointed Chairman Melendez to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 2005. Senate Leader Harry Reid empowered a voice for Nevada Tribes during his time in office. We are profoundly grateful for his service to Nevada Tribes and particularly to Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. Chairman Melendez issued an order that the US Flag will be flown at half-staff at all RSIC administration buildings in honor of Senator Harry Reid.

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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 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.