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General Motors announced in January 2023 that it will invest $650 million in Lithium Americas Corp. and will help the company develop its Thacker Pass lithium mining project, with the aim of ensuring a supply of lithium for its electric vehicles. However, the Thacker Pass project is proposed on Peehee Mu’huh, a sacred site on Paiute, Shoshone and Bannock lands in Northern Nevada. This landscape holds significant spiritual value to Paiute, Shoshone and Bannock peoples, in part, because this is the site of two massacres resulting in many ancestors’ bodies being buried in the land. The Reno Sparks Indian Colony, Berns Paiute Tribe, Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, and People of Red Mountain do not consent to the project and have filed lawsuits in opposition to the Thacker Pass mining site.

Peehee Mu’huh, which translates to “rotten moon”, is the site of two massacres which gave the sacred site its name. During the second massacre in September 1865, the U.S. government attempted to exterminate the region’s Indigenous Peoples, including children, by attacking a camp at the base of the pass. This attack was part of the broader pattern of federal policy to open up western lands for Euro-American settlers and to promote the growth of industries, including mining. Lithium Americas is able to propose a mine at Thacker Pass today because of this historical context of violence and dispossession of Indigenous lands. 

Despite GM’s Human Rights Policy, which includes a commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), it has not paused its investment to assess its Indigenous Rights risk, nor has it required Lithium Americas to assure that it has obtained consent in line with FPIC standards. This comes after the People of Red Mountain and Securing Indigenous Rights in the Green Economy (SIRGE) sent an open letter addressed to GM, calling for it to require Lithium Americas, and its other suppliers, to implement FPIC policies in accordance with UNDRIP, and to rescind its investment where its suppliers fail to do so. 

People of Red Mountain, a group of traditional Paiute, Shoshone and Bannock peoples with ancestral ties to the area and allies have asked GM to meet and the company has not done so, nor even responded to the multiple requests.