Shoshones Have Rights to Land

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By MANUEL COOCHUM

Today, it’s the changing of time; it’s how to move forward on a new idea and how to unite people for this new mission and how to use these Indian treaties to move water from the north in Canada.

We the people of today, we need to create jobs for all the people. Some elders say employ our people and be prosperous because of our location in our Indian country, in Elko. We need to be self-sufficient and strengthen our past Indian elders’ Red-Earth. It’s the vision by a Shoshone elder from Las Vegas by the name of Harry Strozzi. This water that we all need, it’s to balance the earth, plants, animals and the people.

This is to all Indian people; in the past we have not taken the time to listen to our past elders ideas and plans how to do things. They were the true Indian leaders at that time. Look where we are today. We are not moving forward.

The time is right for you Indian people to open your big Indian ears to this new idea. It’s called “water economics.”

Water today is like gold. We the Indian people have a chance to put this new idea together for our Indian people. If this idea goes through our Indian treaties we should own 51 percent.

We the people from this Shoshone territory need to figure out how to be more productive on our ideas and protect our Indian people’s treaty rights. We need to understand the White man’s Constitution. Some say we have more rights than you think, we need to learn to read between the lines of this Constitution. From this day on, its time to be seen by the non-Indian people. Time is slipping by us, our old people’s old traditional value needs to be preserved for our next generation.

This Shoshone Nation’s territory needs a powerful advocate like Grant Gerber who understands our Indian issues. Grant has the ability to have our issues improve and expand with his new ideas.

Now going back to the history of Rye Patch Dam. This is what I know. The funding of this project was through the National Industrial Recovery Act. The detailing of this idea and the relationship with Battle Mountain water project. At that moment President Franklin D. Roosevelt was about to use this program called “New Deal.” They started to build this new dam at Lovelock Valley in 1930 and it was completed in 1936. This program worked.

Now to our new idea how to move water though a 16-foot diameter pipeline. It’s for our future. We the people need to cross our People’s Indian country to raise awareness of this new idea. I’m going to advertise our Indian nations and their Indian treaties. Some of these treaties will be used in this new idea. The plan is how to do things better than Rye Patch dam project. This new idea will show our past elders’ true Indian territory boundary lines. The starting point of this new idea is Elko.

The politicians of today, they think we the Shoshones sold out. This land in Nevada is still and will always be Shoshone territory. We the Shoshone people will never sell our birthrights.

This is to Sen. Harry Reid and Gov. Brian Sandoval. The money we received was for past damages. We the people the Western Shoshone Nation still have this 1863 Treaty that’s still intact with its land holdings of 26 million acres or more.

This 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley was signed 150 years ago. So where does it say we Shoshone signed it off? This is not public land; from day one my people have been walking over this land for many centuries.

This is to the public that’s reading this report that we, the Shoshones, have aboriginal rights to this land. My elders call it “Newe Sogobi.” People, don’t forget, we the Shoshone’s have a treaty that’s sill intact today with its land holdings. This land is our birthright. One hundred fifty years ago we got screwed by signing this open door treaty with the federal government. We the people from this Western Shoshone have learned from our past.

Now moving forward to this new idea I will support this land transfer with the County Commissioners if this land transfer is done in the right way. I hope all Indian people will benefit from this new idea. We the Indian people of today, we don’t want to be screwed again like before. We need to cross our Indian Country to raise awareness of this new idea.

It’s a new way to fight for our Indian rights. It’s a start.

Years ago, this land was stolen from the Shoshones by the federal government, and now is the State going to do the same thing? I hope not, but this is what I have learned on the way. We the Indians of today need to start thinking different from yesterday’s issues. We need to get it right before we move forward for our Indian people.

And now about the chief “To-Nag.” He was one of those that signed the 1863 treaty of Ruby Valley. Some of his people from Austin Nevada call him Chief Tu-Tu-Wa. The spirit and the mission of Chief Tu-Tu-Wa carries on. The knowledge of a true Indian Leader, his wisdom is being handed down to the next Indian leader.

The new way of thinking for the 21st century, we need a true Indian leader for the Western Shoshone Nation. All the
Chiefs are gone, but their mission continues on. We need a welleducated person with a college degree.

This is where Taylor Enos the Cloudwalker comes in. Taylor is an Indian Bridge builder who will be receiving a civil engineering degree next year. With his education and leadership it will move us forward. His motto is: the return of our Indian people’s aboriginal rights. Taylor is a descendant from Chief Tu-Tu-Wa.
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Manuel Coochum is an elder resident of Elko Indian Colony.