The pipeline takes aim at the camp. Credit: Christopher Ketcham

On a stormy day in June, a wildlife biologist named Katie Fite stopped to visit the Indigenous Women’s Camp in a remote valley called Thacker Pass, in northwestern Nevada. She had traveled several hours from her home in Idaho and was hoping to meet the leaders of the camp. These were known as the Grandmas. Mostly Paiute and Shoshone women in their 70s and 80s, the Grandmas held vigil at the sacred fire in the central teepee and cooked for the warriors who maintained the camp and guarded it at night. Their goal, shared by the dozen men, women and children who had gathered at their side, was to halt construction of a massive open-pit mine.

Fite arrived to find the camp abandoned, tents empty, flapping in the wind. The sacred fire, kept burning for weeks by the occupiers, had turned to ash. The teepee that contained the firepit lay smashed to the ground, its cedar poles scattered in the dirt.

This is high desert steppe, cold […]

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