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UNR proposes honorary doctorate degrees for Dann sisters

By Bob Conrad
Published: Last Updated on

University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval is proposing UNR posthumously give Carrie and Mary Dann honorary doctorates of humane letters. 

Sandoval is presenting the proposal for the March 3-4, 2022 Nevada System of Higher Education board of regents meeting. 

The proposal acknowledges Mary and Carrie Dann as co-founders of the Western Shoshone Defense Project, “which chronicles the battle to preserve unceded Western Shoshone homelands to the U.S. Government. It is now housed within [the] University of Nevada, Reno University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives department.”

The project has decades of documentation affirming “Western Shoshone jurisdiction over Western Shoshone ancestral homelands by protecting, preserving, and restoring Shoshone rights and lands for present and future generations.”

Carrie Dann died last year. Her sister Mary died in 2005. Carrie donated her Defense Project documents to UNR, a collection of 120 cartons with documents ranging from the mid-1960s to 2020.

The Dann sisters protested against mining contamination of Indigenous lands. They battled the federal government over cattle grazing, ultimately refusing to accept cash settlements from the government. 

The Bureau of Land Management seized the sisters’ horses and cattle in 2003. 

The sisters are being acknowledged in part for their “decades long tenacious legal battle against the United States government’s control of Western Shoshone ancestral lands, a fight which took them all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and the United Nations.”

Regents will also consider a distinguished Nevadan award for longtime Nevada journalist and author Guy Clifton. He is nominated along with Mark Hall-Patton and Carol Franc Buck.

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