Sisters standing strong

Two Shoshone sisters in Nevada refuse to pay grazing fees for their horses and cattle on public land because they say the land was never ceded to the US government by the Shoshone.

[T]he Ruby Valley Treaty, reached by the government and the Western bands of the Shoshone Nation in 1863…granted white settlers access to Shoshone lands, but not title.

The federal Indian Claims Commission, however, decided in the 1970's that the Shoshones had lost the land through 'gradual encroachment' of the settlers. The commission awarded the Shoshones $26 million in compensation, and the Supreme Court ruled in 1985 that the tribe lost title when that money was deposited as payment, even though the Shoshones have never accepted it.

Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, introduced legislation last year that would distribute $20,000 to each member of the tribe, thus ending the matter as far as the government is concerned.

They have been fined $3 million "for willful trespass", had 232 head of cattle taken by armed federal agents and sold auction, and now ~800 horses have been rounded up by the federal Bureau of Land Management. The sisters say they will never pay.