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Winnemucca Colony joins Thacker Pass lawsuit

By Kristen Hackbarth

A third Native American Tribe has joined the lawsuit against Lithium Americas Corporation alleging its planned lithium mine at Thacker Pass would desecrate sacred lands, according to a statement released by Protect Thacker Pass.

Winnemucca Indian Colony on Feb. 11 filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuits, joining the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and the “People of Red Mountain”—a Northern Paiute group called Atsa Koodakuh wyh Nuwu.

In an earlier ruling in case, U.S. District Judge Miranda Du would not consider whether the BLM had properly consulted with the Winnemucca Colony on the Thacker Pass mine because they were not a part to the lawsuit.

The tribes allege that in addition to the land where the proposed mine would be located being sacred, federal agencies including the Bureau of Land Management failed to properly consult the Tribes before granting approval for the project.

In its filing, the Winnemucca Tribal members said that “to build that Thacker Pass lithium mine on lands help sacred to Colony members would be like raping the earth and their culture.”

Will Falk, an attorney who has worked with the Tribes and is part of Protect Thacker Pass, argues that the Winnemucca Colony’s intervention in the lawsuit is further evidence the BLM didn’t properly consult with Tribes before allowing the mine to proceed. Falk says the BLM has lied about the extent of its consultation with Tribes and failed to review records.

“It’s simple: the federal government failed in its legally binding duty to consult with tribes before approving this project, then lied about it,” Falk said.

The Tribes have failed in court several times already in stopping preliminary work at the mine site, including excavation for archeological surveys. In early November 2021 Judge Du called Tribal claims about the land “too speculative” and said evidence presented “does not definitely establish that a massacre occurred” at the site.

Falling out reported over ‘radical feminist’ beliefs

In January, E&E News reported Falk and his partner in Protect Thacker Pass, Max Wilbert, are no longer working with People of Red Mountain. Falk and Wilbur are part of “Deep Green Resistance,” an organization with what has been called radical environmental views that also embraces radical feminism–a niche of feminist ideology that denies the acceptance of transgender women as women.

In the report, Falk confirmed that he’d filed paperwork to remove himself as the attorney of record for the Tribal group, but denied it was related specifically to his work with Deep Green Resistance. However, Daranda Hinkey, a representative for People of Red Mountain said her group would likely not have worked with Falk and Wilbur had they known of their anti-trans views.

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