Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Protect Native American cremation sites and cultural artifacts in the Mojave Desert.
Two hundred miles east of Los Angeles within the dry and arid Mojave Desert are the beginnings of the $1-billion Genesis solar project; a concentrated solar electric generating facility that is expected to produce enough green energy to power 75,000 homes. Although the colossal project was developed for environmental purposes, the fast-tracked environmental review conducted before construction began missed crucial Native American cultural sites hidden below the layer of sand. Since the start of construction there have been three separate discoveries of ancient artifacts and sacred remains within the vicinity of the Genesis project. In order to prevent further trespass on sacred sites and potential destruction of ancient artifacts, the federal government must slow its pursuit of this project and consult with neighboring tribes regarding building plans.
From the start, Genesis developers and the Obama administration were unconcerned with archeological priorities as they rushed land surveys and opted out of nation-to-nation consultations with the powerful Colorado River Indian Tribes. As a result, the solar energy project was planned across ancient Native American homesteads, and the unearthing of sacred objects has become a regular occurrence during construction. Back in November of last year, Genesis workers uncovered a pair of grinding stones and a layer of charcoal – evidence of a sacred cremation site; violent winds at the beginning of March uncovered a human tooth and a number of human bone fragments; and while digging fresh graves for the discovered remains a few hundred feet away, local Native Americans unearthed more ancestral bones. Three discoveries of ancient artifacts missed by archaeological surveys because Genesis leaders were in a rush to build proves government negligence and are absolutely unacceptable.
Now leaders of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, backed by the legally formidable Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, are demanding the Obama administration to slow down solar energy projects, stating that the Genesis and transmission line corridor prove damage to sacred and cultural lands. However, the administration has already snubbed approaches by Native American leaders, raising concerns and offending tribe leaders. The Native American community isn’t out to prevent solar energy projects; it simply wants to protect lands that are essential to its religion, culture and history. As chairman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes Eldred Enas explained, “For projects that have been proposed but not yet approved, we ask that our input be sought out early and often, and that BLM (Bureau of Land Management) be willing and able to turn down ill-sited projects.”
By signing the petition below you will help convince the Obama administration to make archaeological surveys a priority, and thus protect sacred Native American burial grounds and important cultural artifacts.
Dear President Barack Obama,
Our country’s Native Americans have a rich history, though tragically rooted in the deception and lies of our government. Propelled by the doctrine of manifest destiny our ancestors massacred their prolific civilizations, making it your responsibility to protect what little is left of their religion, culture and history. And yet you have fast-tracked the construction of massive solar energy projects in the Mojave Desert, a region known for its rich Native American heritage, resulting in harm to sacred burial and cultural sites.
Since the start of the colossal Genesis renewable energy project there have been three discoveries of sacred remains and ancient artifacts within the vicinity of construction zones. Had project leaders and the Bureau of Land Management consulted with tribe leaders and performed complete surveys of the region such cultural harm could have been prevented.
It is time to start listening and obeying the demands of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. They are not trying to stop or prevent renewable energy projects; they simply desire nation-to-nation consultations to help safeguard their precious lands.
As the leader of our nation and the protector of all people living within it, you must make archaeological surveys and discoveries a priority when developing solar energy projects within the Mojave Desert. Don’t allow the destruction of crucial cultural and historical Native American sites. Slow down the pursuit for renewable energy plants to ensure they are constructed on non-sacred grounds.
[Your Name Here]