Western Shoshone Horse Defense
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Shoshone Grandmothers Poised to
Release Indian Horses Back Onto Their Ancestral Lands
Despite Federal Threats.
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
"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
As BLM Continues
Seizure on Shoshone Lands, Danns Save Horses from Impoundment
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
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
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
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
February 5, 2003
Western Shoshone grandmothers
brace for seizure of hundreds of Indian horses despite
international ruling finding U.S. actions illegal.
more information please contact the Western Shoshone
Defense Project at 775-468-0230
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
"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
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
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
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
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:
January 27, 2003
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
Seventh Generation Fund, www.7genfund.org
WESTERN SHOSHONE DEFENSE PROJECT
Carrie Dann firstname.lastname@example.org
January 25, 2003
Update on Western Shoshone
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/).
SHOSHONE DEFENSE PROJECT
Carrie Dann email@example.com
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
let us know if you need additional information. (775)
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
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."