Carrie and Mary Dann, two elderly Shoshone women who have defied seizure of their land, have been repeatedly roughed up and harassed by federal officials and mobs of white ranchers for refusing to cede their claim to land that was illegally stolen from them 30 years ago.
In 1863, the U.S. government signed the Ruby Valley Treaty with the Western Shoshone nation, who laid claim to 26 million acres of land in Nevada, Idaho, and Utah. The Shoshone tribe and the U.S. government agreed that settlers and cowboys had access to the land, but not title. But in the 1970s, the federal Indian Claims Commission ruled that the land no longer belonged to the Shoshone nation due to “gradual encroachment” of white settlers and ranchers. The government seized the land and put $26 million into an account meant for the Shoshone nation in 1979, but the tribe turned down the money, saying they never agreed to sell their land.
[IMAGE: Carrie Dann (left) with her sister Mary (right)]
The Supreme Court gave its blessing to the Indian Claims Commission ruling, claiming that the Shoshone had no claim to the land since the tribe had been paid $26 million. Dann sisters stopped paying grazing fees out of protest in 1973, saying they only honored the Ruby Valley Treaty, and the BLM responded by slapping the sisters with a series of fines totalling $3 million in 1998. Federal officials called for the roundup of the Danns’ horses and cattle, saying they were trespassing on federal land.
”Trespass? Who the hell gave them the land anyway?” Mary Dann said in an interview with the New York Times. ”When I trespass, it’s when I wander into Paiute territory.”
In September of 2001, the government sent in the cavalry to show it was serious about its claim to the Shoshone tract:
“The government considers it public land, and to drive the point home, 40 agents from the Bureau of Land Management descended on the Danns’ ranch in September, heavily armed and fortified with helicopters, and confiscated 232 cattle, which were later sold.
The sisters and their supporters argue that their tribe never legally ceded these range lands. Though the federal government controls 85 percent of Nevada, they contend that it has no legitimate title to the land — or the gold, water, oil and geothermal energy beneath it.”
Because the Dann sisters refused to leave their land, the government once again began seizing large numbers of their livestock in 2003, claiming the horses and cattle were grazing at the public’s expense. BLM officials even deputized local cowboys to assist with the livestock seizure. At which point, the sisters were forced to remove over 400 remaining horses from the disputed range, many of them pregnant mares, but they lost track of many in the forced move.
Furthermore, they were caught in a catch-22 regarding these stray horses that ran away in the chaos, wherein even strays marked with the Danns’ brand would be seized and auctioned if not claimed, but the sisters would incur trespassing fines if they did claim these horses.
While Mary Dann died on the ranch in 2005, her sister Carrie continues to protest for Indigenous rights in her old age. Oxfam made a short documentary about the two sisters’ struggle to keep their land. Watch it below:
Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign is resorting to one
of the lowest, most reviled tactics of campaigning, the sludge known as
the “push poll.” It’s clearly happening in Nevada, and probably other
What makes this so reprehensible is that
many voters will not be able to discern truth from fiction. They will
conclude the “poll” feeling they were important enough to receive a
phone call mistakenly believing they were asked fair questions and then
were left with lingering doubts about the viability of Bernie Sanders as
a presidential candidate.
Unfortunately, this garbage has a
proven track record. “Push polling” went into the gutter in the worst
kind of way 15 years ago, in South Carolina. John McCain, then known as
a “maverick Republican,” was posed a serious threat to George W. Bush,
the candidate of the establishment. In what became a political gauntlet
for conservative Republicans and the Bush Campaign, the vile henchmen
led by Karl Rove began conducting “push polling” among registered South
Carolina Republicans. Hundreds of thousands of phone calls were made
asking “poll questions” about McCain which amounted to a well-disguised
political assassination. McCain never recovered and Bush easily won the
nomination (in 2000).
From Wikipedia: “A semi-underground
smear campaign (began) against McCain, delivered by push polls, faxes,
e-mails, flyers, audience plants, and the like. These
claimed most famously that he had fathered a black child out of wedlock
(the McCains’ dark-skinned daughter Bridget was adopted from
Bangladesh; this misrepresentation was thought to be an especially
effective slur in a Deep South state where race was still central, but
also that his wife Cindy was a drug addict, that he was a homosexual,
and that he was a “Manchurian Candidate” traitor or mentally unstable
from his North Vietnam POW days.”
I stated, “push polling” works. Gullible voters get confused and start
doubting their allegiances to a candidate. Even if a small percentage
switch their votes, 3-5 percent can mean a big difference in a tight
political race. The Clinton-Sanders race isn’t just tight. It’s a dead
heat, at least here in Nevada.
When the phone rang earlier
tonight in my home and someone secretly working for the Clinton Campaign
thought they were talking to a fool who might ultimately change his
vote. They have, in fact, done the opposite. They lit a fuse.
Let this be a WARNING and a cautionary tale that these are PRECISELY
the tactics Bernie Sanders is working against, and fighting against
within his own so-called “party.” It’s the kind of tactics Sanders is
working to end. We need to support him.
In the end, push polling
and negative campaigning might actually end up making the difference in
the Democratic race. The cynic in me remains pessimistic as to how many
people out there who receive despicable phone calls like this will be
equipped with the knowledge and experience to see through the bullshit.
I’m hopeful that writing this essay might open a few eyes.
It’s now 10 pm. More than four hours since the supervisor was supposed to get back to me.
Still, the phone hasn’t rang, yet.
voters, next time your phone rings and it’s a poll, beware. It’s
probably not a poll. It’s something else. It’s old-style establishment
politics of the worst kind, that were once used by one of the worst
political machines ever. Clearly, the Hillary Clinton Campaign knows no
moral nor ethical boundaries.
Today, Berniesrevolution endorses Lucy Flores for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District! Lucy Flores is a young energetic progressive champion ready to take the changing nature of Nevada and bring it a bright, progressive future!
Let’s get Nevada a fighter and self-declared “Bernie Sanders Democrat” who’s ready to bring the Political Revolution to congress!
To learn more about Lucy Flores’ congressional campaign be clicking right HERE