Closing on March 18 is our latest exhibit “Whose Land is It? The Dann Sisters and the Western Shoshone Defense Project.” The exhibit is based on just one new collection, the Western Shoshone Defense Project Records, we recently prepared through a grant from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.
The records of the Western Shoshone Defense Project were maintained by Carrie and Mary Dann, two traditional Western Shoshone ranchers living in northeastern Nevada. The Defense Project’s mission was to affirm Western Shoshone jurisdiction over Western Shoshone ancestral homelands by protecting, preserving, and restoring Shoshone rights and lands for present and future generations based on cultural and spiritual traditions. It was established in 1991 by the Western Shoshone National Council to provide support to Mary and Carrie Dann as they faced confiscation of their livestock which they grazed on Western Shoshone homelands without paying grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management.
Voices are being raised about the uses of our public lands and if their control should be turned over to the states and not held by the federal government. These are the same issues raised by the Sagebrush Rebellion during the 1960s and 1970s. The current media coverage on the Bundy family members’ armed standoffs with their supporters concerning fees and uses of what are now considered public lands has some parallels with the issues raised by Western Shoshone peoples. However, the Western Shoshone pursued solutions about their ancestral lands through the courts.
The exhibit is available on the third floor of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center at the Special Collections Department through March 18, 2016. Please contact the department if you have any questions. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: 775/682-5665. Hope to see you soon!