The push is on by the Moapa Band of Pautees to protect a portion of sacred land.

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Moapa Band of Paiutes is asking the U.S. Air Force to grant them the authority to manage sacred land. 

The tribe’s demands come after a proposal that would add an additional 840,000 acres from the Desert National Wildlife Refuge for military testing.

Of utmost importance to the tribe is a sacred cave within the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.

"That is our creation site. It's basically the source of all of our tribal power and it's the origin site for language and culture for my people. And for also the Las Vegas Paiute colony and other seven southern Paiute bands," said Ashly Marie Osborne, a tribal secretary for the Moapa Band of Paiutes. 

Tribal members say they applaud state lawmakers for their recent efforts to preserve the land but more needs to be done.

"The cave's interior has been blackened by explosions, cave art is destroyed and there are artifacts missing from the cave and the trail leading up to it," said Osborne.

Members of Nevada's congressional delegation on Monday introduced an amendment to preserve the jurisdiction of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. 

In a joint statement, Horsford said that the proposed amendment "echoes Nevadans' opposition to military expansion." 

"While we continue to find a unique balance of conservation and a strong national defense, this amendment will continue to support military training activities under the Air Force," Horsford said.

Environmentalist groups, the governor and other preservationists have all jumped on board with protecting the land but Osborne says the Air Force has not been as receptive. 

 "That's kind of what my concern is. That we haven't been able to have a meeting and agreement to show that hey, you're taking our considerations on our land respectfully," said Osborne.

The amendment also expands the definition of affected Native American Tribes that claim to have historical connections to the land in the refuge.  

Further details about Horsford Amendment 342:

  • Continues to include no expansion of the existing range and increases access for Tribes and the Fish and Wildlife Service, while clarifying that the Fish and Wildlife Service will remain responsible for managing refuge lands under the Refuge Administration Act.

  • Removes the dispute resolution provision entirely. This will return dispute resolution to the status quo, under which interagency conflict is elevated through the executive branch.

  • Removes all reference to co-management, in favor of management coordination. This includes a clear statement that the Secretary of the Interior has administrative jurisdiction over Refuge lands, the Secretary of the Air Force has primary jurisdiction over bombing impact areas, and that the Refuge is managed subject to the Refuge Administration Act, returning management to the status quo.

  • Ensures that all Air Force activities on the Refuge will be in compliance with the Refuge Administration Act, including the activities requested by the Air Force.

  • Ensures the updated memorandum of understanding (MOU) is subject to all clauses of the current MOU, including guarantees that Refuge lands will be managed under the Refuge Administration Act.

  • Expands the definition of affected Tribes to ensure all Tribes with historical connections to the range lands will be able to weigh in on their management.

  • Expands the Interagency Executive Committee to include roles for officials from the State, the State wildlife management agency, sportsmen’s organizations, NGOs, and other stakeholders, keeping in line with Sen. Cortez Masto and Rep. Horsford’s proposal.

  • Guarantees increased access for the Fish and Wildlife Service for a minimum of 54 days per year.

  • Certifies existing air space agreements to prohibit over-flights of the Corn Creek Visitor Center. 



Copyright 2020 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(1) comment


Remove sovereignty rights from these people and make them join the 21st century like the rest of us.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.