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Our Land, Our Life
The crisis between the United States of America and the Native Shoshone people dates back to 1863. At this time, the United States signed a treaty, called the Treaty of Ruby Valley, recognizing the Western Shoshone People as the legal owners of the title of the land. To the surprise of the Shoshone people, the US government started to treat the land as belonging to the US denying the Natives the right of ownership.
Carrie Dann and Mary Dann are the elders of the Western Shoshone Native American nation. In 1974, the US sued the Dann sisters on trespass basing argument that the Shoshone people had lost the case through gradual encroachment. The Supreme Court ruled out that the Secretary of the Interior Cabinet had accepted the reward on behalf of the Shoshone people and said, “It is clear that Shoshone people have been paid and therefore they have no right to come before this court and argue that they have title to this land.” This indicates impunity of high level in the government by taking money from one docket and putting it in the other in the name of justice. The United States was not justified to take the land from the native Shoshone people.
In 2003, the US Bureau of Land Management, armed with automated weapons and helicopters, rounded up Dann sisters’ land and confiscated over 500 horses and cattle. BLM claimed that the area was overgrazed. The US government even further claimed that the Danns’ owe $5,000,000 in grazing fees and interest. The land was later converted into a gold mine. Native Americans should view this as an interference with human right rather than development.
With regard to the actions displayed by the US government on the Western Shoshone Native people, the Federal government can be viewed as an uncompassionate and cold-blooded government with no human attachment. The federal Army forcefully seizes and evicts native Shoshone inhabitants from their land only to convert it into a gold mine. Carrie Dann says, “I was indigenous and in one single evening, they (Army) made me indigent. If you think the Indian wars are over, then think again (frontlinedefenders.org).” The Bureau of Land Management’s claim that the area was overgrazed had no basis. It was just a step stone that the government used to get justified.
The government is also portrayed as being narcissistic. The Federal government doesn’t care about the welfare of the greater majority of the Shoshone people. The government used every mean to ensure that it met its plans without putting the interest of the people at heart. On realizing that the Shoshone land harbored gold, the government did its best to repossess the land. Even after the Shoshone people rejected to be compensated for the land, the government went ahead as to transfer the funds from the Treasury to the Secretary of Interior. Carrie Dann argued that “the land is our (Shoshone people) mother and we can’t give up our mother. No way in hell (frontlinedefenders.org).”
Even after the UN directed the US government to dialogue with the Shoshone people and end the conflict, still the Native Americans of Shoshone nation are still waiting. Carrie Danny makes very sentimental arguments asking if we value to wear gold rings on our fingers while we let the earth degrade. The Bureau of Land Management is being hypocritical in land preservation and management. The generation of one gold ring produces 20 tons of waste. It is very unlikely that the Shoshone people will benefit from the project. Shoshone land should be given back to the native Shoshone people.
Frontlinedefenders.org,. ‘Human Rights Defenders Carrie Dann And Mary Dann | Front Line’. N.p., 2014. Web. 27 Nov. 2014 . <http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/483>.
YouTube,. ‘Our Land, Our Life’. N.p., 2008. Web. 27 Nov. 2014 . <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJ2N9-n-ka0>.
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