The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has urged the United States to “freeze,” “desist” and “stop” actions or threatened actions against the Western Shoshone Peoples of the Western Shoshone Nation. This action challenges the United States’ government’s claim of ownership of almost 90% of Western Shoshone lands.
According to Shoshone spokeswoman Bernice Lalo:
The mines are polluting our waters, destroying hot springs and exploding sacred mountains–our burials along with them–attempting to erase our signature on the land. We are coerced and threatened by mining and Federal agencies when we seek to continue spiritual prayers for traditional food or medicine on Shoshone land.
And from spokesman Joe Kennedy:
…we have rights to protect our homelands and stop the destruction of our land, water, and air by the abuses of the United States government and the multinational corporations. He says “the situation is outrageous and we’re glad the United Nations Committee agrees with us.
The land in question has been used for military testing, nuclear waste disposal planning, and open pit cyanide heap leach gold mining. The federal government has seized Shoshone livestock, issued trespass fines, and practiced armed surveillance of Western Shoshone. The Shoshone claim that the U.S. government has also dug up their ancestors’ graves.