Tubape Numu: Pine-nut People
Members of the Walker River Paiute Nation living in northwestern Nevada are angry after the Forest Service clearcut more than 70 acres of pine nuts trees that have been used by the tribe for thousands of years, until the modern day.
According to the Forest Service, the trees were cut “by mistake” as part of a federal plan to improve habitat for the Sage Grouse (a story that Deep Green Resistance Great Basin has previously covered). Tribal members disagree, stating that clearcutting these forests will not help the Sage Grouse and should not be done without consultation and approval from the native people.
Here at Deep Green Resistance, we are all too aware of the long history of “destruction disguised as restoration”. It’s a pattern that the Forest Service has been guilty of in the past, when it has used the cover-story of “forest health” to justify extensive clearcutting — including cutting old growth forests — in the Pacific Northwest.
More information about this situation is documented in the book Strangely Like War by Derrick Jensen, which begins with a quote from the logging industry:
“It was strangely like war. They attacked the forest as if it were an enemy to be pushed back from the beachheads, driven into the hills, broken into patches, and wiped out. Many operators thought they were not only making lumber but liberating the land from the trees.”
— Murray Morgan, 1955
Dewey and others in the Paiute Nation protests group have set up a website, www.Tubape.org, to address the issue further. Here is an excerpt from the website:
“The local Tribal governments and Indigenous people of Nevada and California are aware of the Carson City District resource management plans to conserve, enhance, and/or restore habitats to provide for the long-term viability of the Greater Sage-grouse Bi-state Distinct Population Segment. This action is needed to address the recent “warranted, but precluded” Endangered Species Act (ESA) finding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) by addressing needed changes in the management and conservation of the Bi-state Distinct Population Segment habitats within the project area to support overall greater sage-grouse population management objectives within the states of Nevada and California.
However, we disagree with your proposed action and request that you CEASE and DESIST immediately! Your agencies are destroying our fishing, hunting and gathering sites as well as sacred sites within the Sweetwater Range and all areas within your DEIS. We have pictures and video’s taken by tribal members from the local areas. We demand that you comply with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that specifically states your agency is legally bound to comply with Executive Order 13175 and your Trust Responsibility to the Tribes.
You have intentionally destroyed our Pine trees (Tu’ba’pe) forests in Sweetwater (Pehabe Paa’a), Desert Creek (Pazeeta Nahu Gwaytu), Sand Canyon (Kiba Mobegwaytu), the territory of the Paiute (Numu) people and all of the Pinenut (Tu’ba’pe) trees and cedar (Wapi) trees in the Great Basin.”
Read more at www.tubape.org
Local news coverage in the Reno Gazette-Journal: http://www.rgj.com/videos/news/2015/02/07/23049559/
We will work to keep you posted on this issue. Stay tuned for more information about this struggle.