By Eric Marks
RENO — About 40 people on Saturday gathered in a forest clearing west of Reno for a “Protect Peehee Mu’huh – Life Over Lithium” billboard rally. The event was hosted by the People of Red Mountain, who are working to stop the development of a lithium mine at Thacker Pass northwest of Winnemucca, a site they consider sacred.
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), Great Basin Resource Watch, Earthworks and other groups were also there to support the effort.
The People of Red Mountain have commissioned a billboard in south Reno to draw attention to their “resistance at Peehee Mu’huh” and how the community can “get involved in this advocacy to offer support and hear about the legal proceedings around the proposed Lithium mine,” according to the event’s description.
Tribal communities and environmental organizations have so far been unsuccessful at stopping development of the Lithium Nevada mine at Thacker Pass. The latest defeat came in June when the Nevada State Environmental Commission ruled against an appeal to a state permit to produce and store toxic waste.
Event founder and Native spokesperson Gary McKinney said the event was organized to express “loyalty over royalty.” Those who attended took part in traditional Native prayer and learned from guest speakers and several educational booths on the process and impact of lithium mining.
McKinney expressed the importance of “learning your history of where you come from, and the importance of understanding past, present and future: life over lithium. There’s a system out there that’s burning like wildfire, and to stop it we have to get out in front of it. We can’t stop the fire from behind it.”