Western Shoshone Nation
Press Release from the|
WESTERN SHOSHONE DEFENSE PROJECT
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United States Ignores Findings of Inter-American Commission on Human Rights while Western Shoshone Horses begin Evacuation Process aided by Traditional Shoshone Government.
January 15, 2003 Crescent Valley, NV. Only days after release of the Inter American Commission on Human Right's Final Decision in a landmark indigenous rights case finding the U.S. in violation of Western Shoshone rights to property, to due process and to equality under the law, the Western Shoshone face forced federal seizure of hundreds of horses owned by grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann.
In response to the imminent danger, a major effort is currently under way in Crescent Valley to safely round up and evacuate the horses to a safe haven. The Western Shoshone National Council (WSNC) announced today the creation of the Western Shoshone International Goodwill Horse Program to facilitate the horses' passage to safety. The program is being initiated by a donation of hundreds of horses owned by Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann. The horses are being moved to an undisclosed horse preserve for safekeeping until the program is fully implemented.
The purpose of the program, developed from the WSNC's Horse Management Proposal is to promote economic development opportunities for Indian nations through horse management and gentling programs and to strengthen youth empowerment activities.
The horses are now in the process of being rounded up and immediately evacuated to an undisclosed preserve where they can remain in their family groups and live on open range to which they accustomed until it is safe to repatriate them to Shoshone country or other Indian lands. The Danns will retain a personal herd of 100 horses and those mares too pregnant to safely make the journey to the preserve. The round up and evacuation is expected to last several weeks.
The Bureau of Land Management and the State Department of Agriculture have been informed of the effort to move the horses and are expected not to hinder the safe and orderly relocation of the animals. Helen Hankins, BLM Elko District, informed the Danns' attorney today that the BLM supports a peaceful relocation of the horses by the Shoshone and will not attempt to seize the horses at least through the end of next week.
Several horse rescue operations have been working tirelessly to assist the Shoshone in bringing these horses to safe haven before the pending federal attack. Most notably, Rainbow Farms run by Becky Lloyd out of Missouri and individual Jo Belasco from Texas have contributed immensely to the effort. We are thankful to those organizations.
"I said it before, these horses are in good condition and healthy. The only thing these horses need to be rescued from is the BLM. That's what we're doing now." Mary Dann stated.
Carrie Dann added: "The United States is terrorizing us on our own lands. They took our cattle, now they are trying to take our horses. What will they do next?"
"We are very pleased to assist the Danns in this crisis. The program will keep the horses safe and in Indian country. Horses are important to our people. Every youth should have the opportunity to work with horses to keep them sure footed on their path in life." States Ian Zabarte, Western Shoshone National Council. "It is unfortunate but we must remove these horses, however given the immediate danger they currently face both from imminent seizure by the United States and by the effects of destructive land management by military and civilian programs in Western Shoshone territory, we see no alternative."
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