TITLE: In Opposition to the U.S. Navy’s Proposed Fallon Range Training Complex Modernization and Supporting the Walker River Paiute Tribe’s Requests for Resolution of the “Legacy” Issue
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the governing body of the Walker River Paiute Tribe is organized under the provisions of the Indian Reorganization Act of June 1934 as amended, to exercise certain home rule and be responsible for the promotion of economic and social welfare of its members; and
WHEREAS, the Walker River Paiute Tribe is committed to protecting its land within the boundaries of the Reservation, specifically the land that is south and adjacent to Bravo 19, which is one of the training areas for the Fallon Naval Air Station (FNAS); and
WHEREAS, the US Navy has encumbered tribal land (est. 6,000 acres), which has been contaminated with live ordinance, caused historical damage to range wells and facilities and has left such land useless as this land cannot be totally cleaned up of ordinance and bombs; and
WHEREAS, now the U.S. Navy is hoping to expand and increase land (est.800,000 acres) and airspace for additional training around, near and adjacent to the current Fallon Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nevada, under the Fallon Range Training Complex Modernization Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); and
WHEREAS, such land expansions include land east and north of the reservation boundaries and airspace includes that over the reservation; and
WHEREAS, proposed land to be withdrawn includes cultural and historical sites, that are off reservation, that have great cultural ties to the Walker River Paiute Tribe and its members; this expansion will limit access to tribal members for pinenut picking, having ceremonies, visiting sacred sites and disturbing prehistoric petroglyphs; and
WHEREAS, the FNAS has been using the Bravo 19 area for training since the 1940's; the Tribe has documentation of such contamination since 1959, where Naval jets have been dropping live and inert ordnance onto the reservation; and
WHEREAS, the FNAS does not dispute the historical contamination of reservation lands and wants to work cooperatively with the Tribe in resolving issues surrounding this travesty; the Naval officials refer to this as the "Legacy" issue; and
WHEREAS, the Tribe, including Tribal Council and staff, have met with the Navy on two (2) occasions thus far in 2017, once on June 14, 2017 and again on August 1, 2017; as a result of those meetings, the Navy has asked the Tribe to provide them with a list of what the Tribe wants in order to resolve this issue.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) strongly supports the reasonable and detailed requests submitted by the Walker River Paiute Tribe to the Navy to resolve the “Legacy” issue, and which includes past damages, certain parcels of land, and land lease terms; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED. that NCAI strongly opposes the Navy’s proposed land expansion and believes that the additional training will lead to further negative impacts and bombing to reservation lands with live and inert ordnance, as Bravo 17 is close to the reservation's eastern boundary, and that area is included in the expansion; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI opposes the increased noise pollution due to the increased jet traffic and sonic booms which will happen on a 24/7 basis (24 hours a day, every day) and which will disrupt the peaceful livelihood and sleep patterns of our people; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI opposes the disturbance of reservation cultural sites (Sister Mountains, etc.) that will be impacted with the constant air traffic; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI calls on the Navy to adhere to and fully implement the following documents:
• MOU Among the DOD, DOI, DOA, DOE and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Regarding lnteragency Coordination and Collaboration for the Protection of Indian Sacred Sites (to improve the protection of and tribal access to Indian sacred sites through enhances and improved interdepartmental coordination and collaboration).
• Presidential Documents/Executive Order 13007 of May 24, 1996 (accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners and avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites; also maintain the confidentiality of sacred sites).
• Executive Order 13175 - Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments (collaboration with Tribal officials).
• Department of Defense Plan of Action to Implement the Policies and Directives of Executive Order 13175 - Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments - January 2010 (continually improve on policies and practices designed to promote effective consultation with Federally recognized tribes on a government-to-government basis); and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI calls on the Navy to hold a public meeting on the Walker River Paiute Reservation during the EIS process as consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI calls on the Navy to adhere to the mandates in Executive Orders 12898 (February 1994); and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI strongly supports the Navy’s “no action alternative” with respect to the Fallon Range Training Complex Modernization and no other alternative; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2018 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Colorado Convention Center, October 21-26, 2018, with a quorum present.