Protect Native American Spiritual Land From Destructive Mining

Target: Brian Schatz, Chair of Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Goal: Protect sacred spiritual grounds of Indigenous peoples from mining projects.

The devastating environmental impacts of mining projects are well-documented. A human rights aspect receives less attention, however. These projects often obliterate sacred spiritual grounds of Indigenous tribes.

A proposed 1,000-acre lithium mine in Nevada serves as just one example. Native American Paiute and Shoshone tribes sued to safeguard the lands affected by mining activity. Burial grounds of many ancestors killed by American soldiers centuries ago are among the impacted areas. Unfortunately, the tribes lost their case, and plans for the mine can move forward.

Similar stories have played out across the country, despite the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and the National Historic Preservation Act supposedly protecting the religious rights of native people. Sign the petition below to urge better enforcement of these important freedoms.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Schatz,

Indigenous tribes were dealt another blow when the Thacker Pass lithium mine was greenlighted. This mine, in addition to destroying habitats of already at-risk species, will also destroy spiritual sites and burial grounds of the Paiute and Shoshone tribes. Just like in many other cases, the tribes were unsuccessful in their bid to halt or at least amend the parameters of this project.

This nation claims it values the freedom of all people to express their religion. To the Indigenous people of this country, nature and spirituality are inseparably intertwined. The failure of leaders to recognize and respect these deeply held beliefs is inconsistent with the country’s stated values.

Please strengthen the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and the National Historic Preservation Act to better protect America’s disenfranchised first citizens.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: THIS IS ZUN


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