It may be the win of a century. A $15-billion-dollar Las Vegas water development project went up against the poverty-stricken Goshute and Shoshone tribes, aim to drain the water from underneath holy lands of the tribes -- a ceremonial and intertribal gathering area, a massacre site, and a burial ground. The water project would have destroyed that holy land, Swamp Cedars or Bahsahwahbee. Many of have said its destruction would be like bulldozing the Vatican and taking out Arlington Cemetery. There were years of legal disputes, but the Tribes and aligned coalition groups had a streak of legal victories. And then, on May 21, 2020, the water authority's Board voted unanimously to shelve their project entirely.
Without the persistent dedication and vision of tribal leaders like Rupert Steele (above), this day likely may never have come. It's an honor and a privilege to work on behalf of the Tribes on this long-running fight to protect Swamp Cedars sacred site.
"You [Paul Echo Hawk] and Monte Sanford will go down in history along with the tribes y'all represented during this trying time. I am happy to had been here yet to see this happen and that Creator was and will still be with us when needed. Many 'ah ho's' and many 'lulu's' went out when the final ruling and withdrawals were announced. THANK YOU, THANK YOU both for your dedication to this cause and most importantly, WIN! Lulululu!" -- PN
Protecting the tribes' water and sacred site, Swamp Cedars, certainly had its trials and tribulations. But after working on this project for the better part of 12 years or so, this is an absolutely historic day not only for the Goshute and Shoshone, but for all indigenous people who are fighting to protect sacred lands. May this win lift our spirits. May this win help us reflect on what is truly worth protecting.