Western Shoshone Horse Defense

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Shoshone Grandmothers Poised to Release Indian Horses Back Onto Their Ancestral Lands Despite Federal Threats.



For additional information, contact the Western Shoshone Defense Project, 775-468-0230.

 

April 12, 2003 Crescent Valley, NV. After thirty years of struggle and an international tribunal finding the U.S. in violation of rights to property, due process and equality under the law, Western Shoshone grandmothers, Mary and Carrie Dann, stand poised to release horses back onto their ancestral lands in the face of imminent federal seizure. The struggle one of historic proportion - centers on the legality of U.S. actions in laying claim to millions of acres of Western Shoshone ancestral lands. In September, over 200 head of cattle were taken and last February, the Department of Interior, through its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seized several hundred horses. Due to federal and state regulations and enforcement actions, many other Western Shoshone now pay grazing and other fees, some under formal protest. The Danns were able to rescue over 300 of the horses before the seizure, but are preparing now to release the horses back onto the disputed lands for grazing. Despite the recent BLM accusations of "overgrazing" and drought , the BLM's fire management arm recently issued a notice for fire hazards in Crescent Valley due to a vegetation overgrowth and the gold mines are allowed business as usual, dewatering at a rate of approximately 30,000 gallons per minute.

Since the last federal roundup truck drove off several months ago. there has been no attempt by the U.S. to remedy the situation, instead the pressures against the Shoshone grandmothers have intensified. The Dann ranch is now under ongoing, armed "surveillance" by a BLM ranger. The BLM also reinitiated plans to fence off Horse Canyon, an area normally abundant with animals and significant to the Shoshone for traditional medicine and grazing. Additionally, corporate activity is on the rise with exploration activities ongoing and the Cortez mine, owned by foreign corporations, Kennecott and Placer Dome, attempting to now test the culturally and spiritually significant hot spring located directly behind the Dann Ranch for "geothermal potential".

On the legislative front, Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Jim Gibbons have reintroduced the Western Shoshone Distribution Bill, H.B. 884 and S.B. 618. The bill offers a one time cash payment it does not offer any resolution to the long standing land dispute.

"While we have met some good people and made some strong friendships with some of the horse groups, we are in real bad shape financially and must do something before we jeopardize everything, including the land. Our horses need to be on the land and the land needs them. That's where they have always been." Carrie Dann stated. "I think people should wonder, is it right that Indian people don't have the same rights to property and due process as other people? The Inter-American Commission says we do and that the U.S. needs to create a fair remedy for its ongoing, illegal actions against us. We have never been provided the opportunity to argue title, that is wrong how can you pay someone for something they never agreed to?" Stated Carrie. "Even if money distribution happens, the United States needs to understand that we have not sold our lands, a forced payment of approximately 15 cents an acre cannot bind us. We are not going away until we are dealt with fairly." She added firmly.

"I told the BLM to stop lying about us and I told her (the Elko District Manager) I was going to put my horses right back out on the range. They're still lying and our horses are going out where they belong." Stated Mary Dann, the older of the sisters.

The Dann sisters are recipients of the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor and the Right Livelihood Award for their historic struggle. Grammy Award nominee and noted Native American Singer Joanne Shenandoah recently wrote a song in honor of the Danns and their courageous struggle, entitled "Riding Free."

"I support my mother and auntie in what they are doing. I am a mother and have grown up watching them fight and sacrifice personal time with their family and their business to stand up for what they think is right. I respect that and I am proud of them." Stated Patricia Knight Paul, Carrie's daughter.

 

 

 

 

February 7, 2003

PRESS RELEASE

As BLM Continues Seizure on Shoshone Lands, Danns Save Horses from Impoundment

For information in addition to what is on this page and to find out how to make a donation to the Western Shoshone Horse Defense Fund: please visit the Seventh Generation Fund's website .
Western Shoshone Horses
PHOTO BY SLICK GARDNER

As BLM Continues Seizure on Shoshone Lands,
Danns Save Horses from Impoundment

For more information please contact the Western Shoshone Defense Project at 775-468-0230

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

FEBRUARY 7 2003- CRESCENT VALLEY, NEVADA- Indian horses belonging to Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann currently under forcible seizure by the United States Bureau of Land Management will not face impoundment or slaughter due to a late night agreement reached between the Danns and a privately held wild horse preserve. The US Bureau of Land Management is honoring the agreement transferring ownership and horses seized are now on their way to safe haven.

"The rescue of these horses firmly opens the path towards the implementation of the Western Shoshone Goodwill Horse Management Program.:" Stated Chief Raymond Yowell of the Western Shoshone National Council. "The preservation of these herds is especially significant given the unique Shoshone heritage of the horses. The horses have been owned and controlled by Shoshone people for as far back as can be remembered and may in fact constitute their own breed of Indian horses."

On the morning of Thursday, February 6, Federal agents, aided by Nevada state inspectors and hired cowboys moved in to begin rounding up some 500 horses belonging to the two sisters. The Western Shoshone sisters continue to stand firm against what they consider to be a violation of Western Shoshone sovereignty and jurisdiction to their homelands.

This action by the BLM is the most recent phase of an accelerated process kicked off by the United States in May 2002 when agents impounded 136 Western Shoshone Livestock, many belonging to Chief Raymond Yowell. During the second incident, September, 22 2002, a pre-dawn raid was staged resulting in the impoundment of 232 head of cattle belonging to the Dann sisters. Shoshone supporters describe the September action as rife with hostility and intimidation on the part of the BLM.

This third, and presumably final incident is currently in progress. Although the Dann sisters describe the current BLM operation as being conducted with much more civility and respect than prior actions, they are still standing firm in their resistance and their call for the United States to immediately address the issue of Western Shoshone treaty and land rights.

"The BLM was a Hell of a lot kinder than they have been. In the past they have acted like the cavalry, now they are more civilized.," states Carrie Dann. "They are killing us with kindness" she concludes.

"Although the best scenario would have been to leave these horses on their homelands, especially given the good condition of the horses and the potential harm in moving the pregnant mares and new foals, we are thankful to the many individuals and horse groups who have assisted us in finding alternatives to BLM impoundment of these animals." Stated Julie Fishel, Western Shoshone Defense Project. "We met with the Western Shoshone National Council last Saturday and have had ongoing meetings and discussions with Chief Yowell and horse groups such as the Doris Day Animal League which sent their D.C. based Director of Special Projects to meet with the Danns personally earlier this week." She adds.

 

 

February 5, 2003

Western Shoshone grandmothers brace for seizure of hundreds of Indian horses despite international ruling finding U.S. actions illegal.

 

PRESS RELEASE


For more information please contact the Western Shoshone Defense Project at 775-468-0230

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Crescent Valley, NV As American citizens brace themselves for an attack on Iraq due to non-compliance with international law, Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann ready themselves for a U.S. attack on their own homelands. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has stated that they will commence activities to round up, impound and dispose of hundreds of Shoshone horses on Thursday, February 6. The federal agency claims that the animals are trespassing on "public" lands; the Shoshone claim these are Shoshone lands. The BLM's seizure activity occurs at a dangerous time for the horses, with mares already dropping foals and snow covering the vast mountain areas where the horses live.

The land dispute between the United States and the Western Shoshone has been actively debated for over thirty years with the Shoshone going all the way to the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Both international fora have sharply criticized the United States on its laws and policies regarding native peoples and on January 9, 2003 the Inter-American Commission published its final decision finding the United States in violation of international law in its treatment of the Western Shoshone and their land rights. This recent action by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is timed just weeks after the international report of violations and the publication of a legal research report finding that the U.S. Supreme Court, the Department of Interior and the Indian Claims Commission failed to finalize the decision upon which the U.S. rests its legal argument to the disputed lands.

"I've heard of burying the evidence, but this is outrageous," stated Julie Fishel, an attorney and Director of the Land Restoration Program at the Western Shoshone Defense Project in Crescent Valley. "The United States needs to recognize its obligations to the Western Shoshone, to the international bodies which they work with and to the American public who deserves to see a just result in our own country."

"The Western Shoshone have been calling upon the United States to enter into good faith negotiations. Legal and negotiations experts have told the United States that negotiations are reasonable. The Inter-American Commission has told the United States its current behavior violates international law. Instead of talking, the United States is choosing to oust our people from their lands," stated Patricia Paul, daughter of Carrie Dann.

"The horses aren't the issue. This has always been about the land. This is just another intimidation tactic by the United States government to break these ladies down." Stated Shawn Collins, a Western

 

February 5, 2003

 

ACTION ALERT!!! ACTION ALERT!!! ACTION ALERT!!!!

 

Today, federal agents started moving into Western Shoshone homelands to set up impoundment operations to seize Mary and Carrie Dann's horses scheduled for tomorrow, February 6. Due to bad weather the previous weekend, over 400 horses still remain to be gathered by the Western Shoshone Nation. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is refusing to wait until the horses can be corralled, as they previously indicated. We are preparing to monitor the situation and need your help in bringing attention and justice to this struggle.

ACT IMMEDIATELY!!!! Please call, write, or email President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, Senator State Director Robert Abbey, U.S. Senator Harry Reid, and U.S. Representative Gibbons (addresses below). Tell them to stop the impoundment of Western Shoshone horses and honor international treaty obligations to the Western Shoshone Nation.

As President Bush prepares for war against Iraq for supposedly violating international agreements, call upon him to honor the international treaty agreement between the U.S. government and the Western Shoshone Nation.

Following is a sample letter of support regarding the current situation. Thank you for your support and taking action in this time of crisis.

 

SAMPLE LETTER OF SUPPORT
Re: Call for Western Shoshone Land Talks

Dear ___________________________:

I stand in solidarity with Western Shoshone Grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann and the Western Shoshone Nation. The Western Shoshone are in a crisis situation caused by the actions of the federal government. I call upon you to take whatever action you can to immediately stop the impoundment of the horses owned by traditional Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann and instead enter into good faith negotiations with the Western Shoshone.

Last September, the federal government sent 40 armed agents, ATVs, rented cowboys, and a helicopter and seized over 200 head of cattle from Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann. Now the State and federal government are moving in and preparing to seize hundreds of Indian horses belonging to these same grandmothers. Simultaneously, the United States is also attempting to automatically distribute monies set aside by the Indian Claims Commission in a forced payment of approximately 15 cents an acre for Western Shoshone land title. The pressures are mounting and many Western Shoshone feel the end is coming, either the end of a long fight with a successful resolution, or the end of themselves as Western Shoshone people and as caretakers of their mother earth.

On January 9, 2003 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States, rendered its final decision in the case of Western Shoshone land rights in the favor of Mary and Carrie Dann. This international body found the actions of the U.S. government to be in violation of Western Shoshone rights to property, to due process and to equality under law. The United States was called upon to remedy the situation, either legislatively or otherwise and to review its laws and policy with regards to indigenous peoples and their rights to property. Instead of seeking to find a just and fair resolution of the Western Shoshone claims, the United States has stepped up its threats against these people.

[If this is a letter from your organization, please enter organizational information here]

I ask you to act immediately to stop the impoundment actions of the Western Shoshone horses and act honorably in accordance with international law to commence good faith negotiations with the Western Shoshone Nation.

Sincerely,

 

Your Name

Address

 

Please help us to pull in as many voices as possible perhaps then we can force the government's hand and turn a terrible tragedy into a story that can be handed down to future generations. We call upon the United States to stop their present destructive actions and to act honorably by immediately commencing good faith negotiations with the Western Shoshone. We also call upon individuals and organizations across this United States and around the world to join in this struggle and to stand strong alongside the Western Shoshone.

Letters of support should be sent or e-mailed to:

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
(202) 456-1414
president@whitehouse.gov

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
Department of State
2201 C St., NW
Washington DC 20520
(202)647-7098
www.state.gov
secretary@state.gov

Secretary of Interior Gale A. Norton
Department of the Interior
1849 C St., NW
Washington DC 20240
(202)208-3100
www.doi.gov
gale_norton@ios.doi.gov

State Director Robert Abbey
Bureau of Land Management Nevada State Office
1340 Financial Blvd.,
Reno, NV 89502
(775)861-6400
www.nv.blm.gov
bob_abbey@nv.blm.gov

Senator Harry Reid
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-3542
www.senate.gov/~reid/email_form.cfm

Representative Jim Gibbons,
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-6155
mail.gibbons@mail.house.gov


January 27, 2003

Western Shoshone Dann Sisters Evacuate Horses
Under Federal Attack

 

Only days after release ofthe Organization American States (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Right final decision that U.S. is in violation Western Shoshone rights to property due process and equality under law face forced federal seizure hundreds horses owned by grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann.

Despite the call by the OAS to remedy the situation, the United States has stepped up its threats against the Dann sisters. In September, after the preliminary decision had been released, the federal government came to the Dann area with 40armed agents, ATVs, rented cowboys, a helicopter and seized 227 head of cattle. Later these agents of the federal government said they were coming back for the Western Shoshone horses.

On January 6, 2003, we learned that the BLM was lining up buyers for the Dann horses through the Nevada Department of Agriculture that sent out a memo to non-profit horse rescue organizations painting the picture that the horses were being confiscated and would go to slaughterhouses, if not purchased.

"I said it before, these horses are in good condition and healthy," said Carrie Dann. "The only thing these horses need to be rescued from is the BLM: that's what we're doing now."

The Western Shoshone Defense Project contacted the horse rescue organizations to alert them to the fact that the horses are not starving, nor wild or unclaimed: that they in fact belong to the Western Shoshone. The wires have been buzzing among horse rescue organizations about the ethics of purchasing the Dann horses from the state. Several organizations came forward to offer support to the Danns. One organization led by a Missouri woman, Rainbow Farms, nominated Carrie Dann for Oprah's, "Use Your Life award."

In response to the imminent danger, a major effort is under way in Crescent Valley to safely round up and evacuate the horses to a safe haven. The Western Shoshone National Council (WSNC) announced on January 15th the creation of the Western Shoshone International Goodwill Horse Program to facilitate the horses passage to safety. The program is being initiated by a donation of hundreds of horses owned by Carrie and Mary Dann. The purpose of the program is to promote economic development opportunities for Indian Nations through horse management and gentling programs and to strengthen youth empowerment activities.

The issue continues to be about title to the land. Concurrently, the U.S. is attempting to distribute monies set aside by the Indian Claims Commission in a forced payment of approximately 15 cents an acre for Western Shoshone land title.

The WSDP calls upon individuals and organizations to join in this struggle alongside the Western Shoshone. Please support the Western Shoshone Horse Defense Fund through a tax-free donation to provide food and safe transport for the horses that are being safeguarded. Write a letter to call upon the U.S. to desist from the present actions and honorably commence good faith negotiations with the Western Shoshone. To make a donation, please send check or money order earmarked for the Western Shoshone Horse Defense Fund to Seventh Generation Fund, P.O. Box 4569, Arcata, CA 95521


For more information: Western Shoshone Defense Project 775-468-0230 wsdp@igc.org

Seventh Generation Fund, www.7genfund.org and www.home.earthlink.net/~dann horses/

 


WESTERN SHOSHONE DEFENSE PROJECT
Carrie Dann wsdp@igc.org
January 25, 2003

 

Update on Western Shoshone Horse Evacuation

The crisis continues...Current status is 300 horses in the corrals with approximately 400 left to gather. Horse gathering will continue through this weekend - weather permitting. The BLM is currently expressing a desire to cooperate and to continue to hold off on immediate impoundment actions.

Donations to help with the costs of getting the horses to safety (unless the U.S. decides to recognize Western Shoshone land rights before then) and to initiate the Western Shoshone International Goodwill Horse Program can be made to the Seventh Generation Fund - see www.7genfund.org (specific information on the project available there or at www.home.earthlink.net/~dannhorses/).

 

WESTERN SHOSHONE DEFENSE PROJECT
Carrie Dann wsdp@igc.org
January 2003

 

RE: Wild Horse Herd

The media coverage on this is really disturbing and very dangerous. All over the country they are covering the story as a "rescue" of wild horses. These horses are not wild horses, they are Indian horses and are owned by Mary and Carrie Dann. They are in good health and face no danger except from the BLM. These are valuable Indian horses grazing on even more valuable Indian lands. Please communicate with the media outlets, make sure they have the full story.

National Geographic is especially troubling given their February 2003 article "Searching for Sacagawea" - with a fold out picture of Indian horses and a quote by Meriwether Lewis: "The circumstances of the Snake Indians possessing large quantities of horses, is much in our favour, as by means of horses, the transportation of our baggage will be rendered easy and expeditious over land." The Snake Indians are better known as the Shoshone Indians. The perfect - and accurate - story that needs to be covered is how the Shoshone, specifically Sacagawea, assisted non-Indians such as Lewis & Clark with use of their horses as they made the trek across the Rockies and now the federal government is trying to steal those same Indian horses from the people who helped them and agreed to share their lands with non-Indians.

 

Please let us know if you need additional information. (775) 468-0230

Deadline Looms for Nevada Wild Horse Herd http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/01/0113_030113_wildhorses.html
and here is the online news story: http://www.pnnonline.org/article.php?sid=4151&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

 

 

WESTERN SHOSHONE DEFENSE PROJECT
For additional information call 775-468-0230.

Press Release For Immediate Release


January 15, 2003


United States Ignores Findings of Inter-American Commission on Human Rights while Western Shoshone Horses begin Evacuation Process aided by Traditional Shoshone Government.

January 15, 2003 Crescent Valley, NV. Only days after release of the Inter American Commission on Human Right's Final Decision in a landmark indigenous rights case finding the U.S. in violation of Western Shoshone rights to property, to due process and to equality under the law, the Western Shoshone face forced federal seizure of hundreds of horses owned by grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann. In response to the imminent danger, a major effort is currently under way in Crescent Valley to safely round up and evacuate the horses to a safe haven. The Western Shoshone National Council (WSNC) announced today the creation of the Western Shoshone International Goodwill Horse Program to facilitate the horses' passage to safety. The program is being initiated by a donation of hundreds of horses owned by Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann. The horses are being moved to an undisclosed horse preserve for safekeeping until the program is fully implemented. The purpose of the program, developed from the WSNC's Horse Management Proposal is to promote economic development opportunities for Indian nations through horse management and gentling programs and to strengthen youth empowerment activities.

The horses are now in the process of being rounded up and immediately evacuated to an undisclosed preserve where they can remain in their family groups and live on open range to which they accustomed until it is safe to repatriate them to Shoshone country or other Indian lands. The Danns will retain a personal herd of 100 horses and those mares too pregnant to safely make the journey to the preserve. The round up and evacuation is expected to last several weeks. The Bureau of Land Management and the State Department of Agriculture have been informed of the effort to move the horses and are expected not to hinder the safe and orderly relocation of the animals. Helen Hankins, BLM Elko District, informed the Dann's attorney today that the BLM supports a peaceful relocation of the horses by the Shoshone and will not attempt to seize the horses at least through the end of next week. Several horse rescue operations have been working tirelessly to assist the Shoshone in bringing these horses to safe haven before the pending federal attack. Most notably, Rainbow Farms run by Becky Lloyd out of Missouri and individual Jo Belasco from Texas have contributed immensely to the effort.

"I said it before, these horses are in good condition and healthy. The only thing these horses need to be rescued from is the BLM. That's what we're doing now." Mary Dann stated. Carrie Dann added: "The United States is terrorizing us on our own lands. They took our cattle, now they are trying to take our horses. What will they do next?"

"We are very pleased to assist the Dann's in this crisis. The program will keep the horses safe and in Indian country. Horses are important to our people. Every youth should have the opportunity to work with horses to keep them sure footed on their path in life." States Ian Zabarte, Western Shoshone National Council. "It is unfortunate but we must remove these horses, however given the immediate danger they currently face both from imminent seizure by the United States and by the effects of destructive land management by military and civilian programs in Western Shoshone territory, we see no alternative."