LETTER: Zinke Did Not Meet With Tribal Members

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MOAPA VALLEY PROGRESS- The Moapa Valley Progress published a front-page article on August 2, 2017 commending Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, for a one day trip to Nevada.

Secretary Zinke promised Nevada stakeholders a roundtable discussion on the unpopular national monument review, which puts Gold Butte and Basin & Range National Monuments at risk of being eliminated or altered. Ryan Zinke cancelled that meeting without alerting those invited. Among those upended by the Secretary were the Moapa Band of Paiutes and Congresswoman Dina Titus.

Secretary Zinke did not meet with the tribal council members, or anyone opposed to revoking the status of Gold Butte as a national monument. In fact, he has a history of limiting his meetings to supporters and corporate interests from Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Bear’s Ears. When he is called out on it he makes poor excuses like, “I have to go to another meeting”.

The Moapa Band of Paiutes, has an indisputable cultural heritage stake, certainly more than any Mormon settlers or their descendants. Gold Butte is sacred to the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and Las Vegas Paiute Tribe including thousands of petroglyphs dating back over 12,000 years.

Yet Zinke only met with the descendants of these manifest destiny frontiersman in Bunkerville.
It is so typical of rural Clark County papers to completely ignore the entire rich history of the region prior to church settlement orders and the exploitation of land and people by white pioneers.

The current administration’s burn and pillage policies when it comes to environmental stewardship during these tours and making poor excuses for doing so should be unacceptable to any person with a conscience. The Native American narrative is yet again silenced in the discussion of land that belongs to them, most recently in Ryan Zinke cancelling a meeting with local Paiute tribes and he ought to be ashamed.

Trinity Tanner

LETTER: Zinke Did Not Meet With Tribal Members