Fallon Tribe Repatriates Spirit Cave
By Jill Downstribalnews@fpst.org
At the Fox Peak Cinema on June 21, 2017, the Fallon Business Council honored and recognized the above individuals with Pendleton Blankets who worked hard for the return of the Spirit Cave remains for decades, knowing that Spirit Cave belonged to our ancestors. Each shared their experiences and the obstacles they faced associated with the remains being returned to the Tribe. Chairman George stated, “Current and past Councils have fought hard to bring our ancestor home, it was a lengthy and costly process for the Tribe.” In addition he stated, “The Council at the time went in search of support from organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians, Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, and all Tribes in Nevada and we would like to thank these constituents for their continued support and everyone for their hard work in the repatriation of Spirit Cave.”
1940- Spirit Cave was discovered in the Stillwater Mountains by Archaeologists Georgia and Sydney Wheeler. They found the remains wrapped in tule matting. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management resisted the release of the remains and during the interim, they were in storage at the Nevada State Museum where he remained for the next 77 years.
1990-The Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was enacted to preserve existing Native American burial sites and to return any remains to their appropriate tribes.
1994-The Nevada State Museum analyzed the remains for radiocarbon dating and determined that it was older than any previously known North American remains. Results indicated it was approximately 9,400 years old.
1997-The tribe put in a NAGPRA claim to the Spirit Cave and artifacts found with him, although BLM stated the claim was invalid. BLM curated the Spirit Cave remains with the Nevada State Museum.
2006– The United States District Court for the District of Nevada ruled on a lawsuit by the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe and said that the BLM made an error in dismissing evidence without a full explanation. The court order remanded the matter back to the BLM for reconsideration of the evidence.
2015–Geneticist Eske Willerslev, who collected bone and tooth samples from the remains with the permission of the Tribe did DNA analysis indicating that the remains were similar to North and South American indigenous groups.
November 22, 2016, the remains were repatriated to the tribe.
Spirit Cave remains have been finally laid to rest.
Wildfires, including grassland fires and forest fires, are an ongoing concern where there is dry, hot weather. During a wildfire, people throughout the surrounding area may suffer the effects of the smoke. Talk with your doctor about how to prepare for this smoke, especially if you or someone in the family fits into one of these categories: works outdoors; is under age 18 or over age 65; or has asthma, COPD or other lung disease, chronic heart disease, or diabetes. Monitor your breathing and exposure to the smoke. If problems develop, call your physician immediately.
- Stay indoors: People living close to the fire-stricken areas should remain indoors and avoid breathing smoke, ashes and other pollution in the area.
- Don’t count on a dust mask: Ordinary dust masks, designed to filter out large particles, will not help. They still allow the more dangerous smaller particles to pass through. Special, more expensive dust masks with true HEPA filters or an N-95 will filter out the damaging fine particles, but are difficult for people with lung disease to use. Consult with your doctor before using a mask, especially if you have a lung disease.
- Take precautions for kids: Extra precaution should be taken for children, who are more susceptible to smoke. Their lungs are still developing and they breathe in more air (and consequently more pollution) per pound of body mass than adults.
- Roll up your car windows: When driving your car in smoky areas, keep your windows and vents closed. Air conditioning should only be operated in the “recirculate” setting.
- Put air conditioners on recirculate: Stay inside as much as possible, with doors, windows and fireplace dampers shut and preferably with clean air circulating through air conditioners and air cleaners. Use air conditioners on the recirculation setting to keep from pulling outside air into the room.
- Prepare to evacuate if directed. Listen to your local or state officials and protect yourself and your family.
- Don’t exercise outside: If you live close to or in the surrounding area, don’t exercise outdoors, especially if you smell smoke or notice eye or throat irritation.
If You Have Lung Disease, Chronic Heart Disease or Diabetes
- Check in with your doctor: People with asthma or other lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes should check with their physician regarding any changes in medication that may be needed to cope with the smoky conditions.
- Keep an eye on symptoms: Higher levels of smoke in some areas can make breathing more difficult. If you are experiencing symptoms, please try to contact your physician. If you cannot, asthma patients can follow the asthma action plan developed with their physician. Use your peak flow meter if prescribed. Do not hesitate to take your medication, and avail yourself of the full spectrum of medications your doctor has prescribed to you.
- Ask about your oxygen use: People using oxygen should not adjust their levels of intake before consulting a physician. (Call your doctor BEFORE you take any action.)
- Know when to seek medical attention: If symptoms are not relieved by the usual medicines, seek medical attention. Symptoms to watch for: wheezing, shortness of breath, difficulty taking a full breath, chest heaviness, light headedness, and dizziness. If you have any concerns or questions please contact your physician.
- Watch for breathing issues after exposure: If you develop a persistent cough, or difficult or painful breathing, call your physician. The first symptoms can appear as late as 24 to 48 hours after exposure. Smoke can remain in areas for many days after the fires have ended.
Residents and volunteers should use caution during clean-up because the process involves ashes and other sources of pollution.
- Avoid dust and soot: People with lung or heart problems should avoid clean-up activities and areas where dust or soot are present.
- Reduce dust and soot: Thoroughly wet dusty and soot area prior to clean-up. This will help to reduce the amount of particles becoming airborne.
- Cover your face: Wear an appropriate dust mask during clean-up, a HEPA-filtered one or an N-95.
- Do not disturb: If exposure to asbestos or other hazardous materials is suspected, do not disturb the area. Dust masks do not protect against asbestos.
- Ready.gov: Wildfires
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Wildfires
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: How Smoke from Fires Can Affect Your Health
- Need help recovering? DisasterAssistance.gov helps you to receive disaster assistance
For more information on disaster recovery, please contact our Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.
2017 Health Fair
On Friday, June 23 the Fallon Tribal Health Center held their Annual Health Fair. The Fun Run/Walk kicked off the event which was held at Oats Park and began at 8:30. Diabetic Coordinator Sherry Taylor stated “Every participant received a free athletic shirt and there were 135 runners, a new record and that everyone was a winner”. After registration, visitors received bracelets for lunch which was catered by Suzie’s BBQ and also received tickets for door prizes which were drawn every hour. The event began at 10:00 a.m. with an opening prayer on the main stage given by Millie Brigham. Chairman Len George did a warm welcoming as well as Clinic Director Joe Herman. Joey Fanjul was the Master of Ceremonies. Music was provided by “Rogue River”. Some of the activities were line dance instructions, bounce house fun, snow cones, games, popcorn and swimming at the outdoor pool. Vendors were lined up on both sides of the outdoor stage as participants visited the booths. Attendees not only learned about available services from organizations, but there were also a number of booths there to educate the community on the programs that the Clinic offers to keep you healthy and informed. Visitors also enjoyed exercise classes hosted by Joey Fanju, Physical Fitness Instructor and also received information on nutrition, wellness, and healthy living and local services. Several participated in the Zumba workout, which was led by Conrad Frank and the Walker River Fitness Center Zumba Group. The final dance was a Round Dance led by Ray Redner which ended the event on a good note. Everyone appreciated the practical wellness health fair handouts which they could use at home or at work. So many hand outs were thoughtful gifts for children as well as for the adults. The Fallon Tribal Health Center would like to extend a special “Thank You” to all the terrific vendors, Fallon Business Council, various departments, donors, volunteers and participants that made it a great success!
FPST Chief of Police Marshall Emerson and Emergency Manangement Coordinator Jackie Conway met with Bill Chan, Deputy Regional Respresentative from Catherine Cortez Masto, United States Senator Nevada on MAY 31, 2017. During the meeting with Mr. Chan regarding Tribal Law Enforcement the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Reservation. The tour concluded by way of meeting with Chairman Len George to discuss budget concerns.