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Nevada Tribes Walk 272 Miles to Protest SNWA Pipeline

by Ely Times Wednesday, May. 15, 2013 at 8:44 AM

On Saturday, Native Americans representing the Confederate Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, Wells Colony, Elko/TeMoke Tribe, Battle Mountain and Yomba Shoshone along with Tribal members from the Northern Ute, Cheyenne-Arapaho, Navajo, Cherokee and non-natives began a run/walk from Wells to Caliente, traveling about 272 miles in protest of Southern Nevada Water Authority’s groundwater project.

Nevada Tribes Walk 272 Miles to Protest SNWA Pipeline

by Ely Times (repost)

Tribes organize walk to send a message

Native Americans are walking from Wells to Caliente in protest of the SNWA’s proposed pipeline project. (Staff photo by Lukas Eggen)


Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 8:00 am

By Lukas Eggen Ely Times Staff Writer

On Saturday, Native Americans representing the Confederate Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, Wells Colony, Elko/TeMoke Tribe, Battle Mountain and Yomba Shoshone along with Tribal members from the Northern Ute, Cheyenne-Arapaho, Navajo, Cherokee and non-natives began a run/walk from Wells to Caliente, traveling about 272 miles in protest of Southern Nevada Water Authority’s groundwater project.

The group stopped in Ely on Tuesday and Wednesday before continuing their protest.

“We’re hoping that people here in Ely and along the route will realize it’s not just our water, it’s everyone’s water in the Great Basin,” Confederate Tribes Chairman Ed Naranjo said. “If it’s pumped out and the aquifers drop, there will be no plants or animals, people are going to have to move and this place is going to turn into a desert.”

The group is scheduled to finish its run/walk on Mother’s Day as they hope to send a message to SNWA and to anyone who may encounter them along their journey.

“They don’t need to pipe the water down to Las Vegas to put it in their swimming pools, man-made lakes, the big casinos or to fill up their reserve,” Western Shoshone Marshall Johnnie Bobb said. “There are other ways that they’re getting water.”

The walk/run attracted non-native people to join their protest as well. Kevin Kiffler lives in Colorado, but has joined past walk/runs set up by Bobb protesting Yucca Mountain.

When he heard about this protest, Kiffler didn’t hesitate to join the cause and he’s hoping he can help inspire others to do the same in the future.

“I hope they want to take care of the land,” Kiffler said. “We all drink the same water, breath the same air and live in the same place. I hope they recognize that we need to keep that for all the living beings and plants and animlals and that they do have a voice, you just need to get out and make it heard. All you have to do is show up and make a difference.”

Ryan Morini, a graduate student at the University of Florida, chose the Southwest as his area of study for his work in anthropology. Six years ago, he joined Bobb’s protest run/walk to Yucca Mountain and been a part of them ever since.

“More than anything I hope this brings more awareness,” Morini said. “I have trouble imagining why anyone in Las Vegas other than the rich developers would want this, this is going to be monstrously expensive.”

The group spent two days in Ely before resuming their journey on Thursday. Bobb said they met with as many people as they could during their stop. And while how many people they will reach during their protest remains to be seen, Naranjo said they’re doing everything they can to fight the SNWA.

“Somehow we’ve got to get the word out and somehow we’ve got to do something,” Naranjo said. “Hopefully, this will get mainstream America to wake up and get involved in trying to see about getting this water issue resolved. You can talk the talk, but you also need to walk the walk. that’s what we’re doing. People sacrificed their time and comfort for this.”

How big of an impact the protest will ultimately have may be difficult to define. But Naranjo said the important thing is they are doing something, and he hopes others will follow suit and soon.

“This issue is going to affect their children and their kids that aren’t born yet, it’s going to affect them too,” Naranjo said. “People need to get up and protect the kids and animals and plants because they can’t speak either. Somebody’s got to speak for them and help them out.” ‘

Hearings are set for June of this year about the SNWA’s pipeline project. And while a final resolution is not likely to be found anytime soon, Bobb said at the end of the day, this comes down to a matter of the way of life, whether it’s for ranchers, Native Americans or anyone living in affected areas.

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